A design is a blueprint or specifications for the fabrication of an object or structure, or the resultant of this blueprint or specification in the shape of a finished product, model or procedure, or the intended effect of this plan or specification. The word design also refers to the process of creating a design. A well designed building or structure, for example, can be described as a design, whereas a poorly designed building or structure would be called inappropriate design. Designing is not an easy thing to do and it does not happen in a day or even a week. It takes a long time to sketch a design, go through many drafts and finally establish a concrete set of guidelines for building or designing.
Designing can be considered as a preliminary step of the development process of any object, irrespective of its nature. It helps us to understand the basic requirements of the object and prepares us for its practical realization. The term design thinking in business circles is often used interchangeably with business planning, which is just a different application of the term. Some of the things that fall under the heading of business planning include: setting goals, preparing a written description and checking those goals against the needs identified, managing resources, defining the project’s objectives, identifying risks, determining the business case, planning for competitors, and implementing strategies.
Designers must think out of the box. They are often challenged to do so. For example, if the designer is asked to come up with the best way to protect the intellectual property of the company, the designer might have to do a lot of thinking outside the box. He/she might have to consider copyright issues, layout a new office space, purchase furniture, and obtain liability insurance. The result, inevitably, is that the designer has to think outside the box.
Designers need to use multiple channels to get the same effect. This is, of course, not only a wise strategy for ensuring that the innovative solutions receive the patronage they require, but it also helps us to remember that these innovative solutions were arrived at over a period of time. As such, they are more likely to retain their value, even after several years. The designers must work within the constraints of existing copyright terms. In other words, they should never be allowed to steal content or implement technologies that have already been patented.
Designers are required to describe the design in a manner that is easy for others to understand. It is usually assumed that the only way to describe a product is in terms of raw specifications. Designers are not required to describe construction details. That said, however, there are certain instances where it makes sense to do so. In the case of the aerospace industry, for example, engineers describe the structure of the aircraft in layman’s terms so that it can be better understood by pilots. In engineering, a design engineer is required to describe the exact conditions of a design solution in order for it to meet the legal requirements for utility patents.
As previously mentioned, engineering and art don’t always agree. In some cases, it makes more sense for a designer to describe the design in terms of raw data from experiments rather than drawing it up as a spreadsheet. Designers also have a duty to explain their ideas clearly. A beautifully drawn plan for a shuttle, for example, should tell the reader exactly what it is intended to do and why. This is, of course, an extremely tall order for a designer to fill.