ABSTRACT

What is design? The word ‘design’ is used in common language in a variety of ways,but two are of particular importance to design in schools. One way of using ‘design’ is as a pattern: for example,when we say that a fabric has a nice design. Another way is when we call a sketch of an object ‘the design’. It is this second use of the word ‘design’ that is of most interest to teaching,namely design as an activity carried out by people such as architects,engineers,craft workers and textile designers. Despite the fact that they are all working in different ways and with different materials,objects and systems, they are all trying to create something by defining its form,structure,pattern or arrangement. All of these designers will be creating a new product,system or environment. These different creations lead to different kinds of design activity: for example,product design,systems design and environmental design. Of course, within each type there are many variations: for example,product design encompasses the contrasting areas of fashion design and engineering design. Fashion design will demand considerable creative flair with respect to patterns and forms compared to engineering design of an electric motor,which needs to be precise. However,both kinds of designer will need to have an understanding of materials and manufacturing processes. What is included in the ‘design activity’ for all of these kinds of designer depends upon what is being designed and,in particular,the relationship the designer has with the manufacturing process.