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Design Research Now: Essays and Selected Projects by Ralf Michel (auth.), Ralf Michel (eds.)

By Ralf Michel (auth.), Ralf Michel (eds.)

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Research into materials and their actual or potential use in design is an important consideration. The third element is product form. Form may be static or dynamic, but understanding the form of existing products is essential for the designer if he or she is to develop new forms that are suited to new technological developments or to different circumstances of product use. Research into product form and the dimensions of product form in usefulness, usability, and desirability is an important consideration.

Others, too, have had the development of a ‘design science’ as their aim; for example, Hubka and Eder, [20] originators of the Workshop Design Konstruction (WDK) and a major series of international conferences on engineering design (ICED), also formed ‘The International Society for Design Science’. Earlier, Hansen had stated the aim of design science as being to ‘recognise laws of design and its activities, and develop rules’. [21] This would seem to be design science constituted simply as ‘systematic design’ – the procedures of designing organised in a systematic way.

It is a characteristic that is one of the deeper philosophic problems in understanding design or any other field of human activity. Many investigators are tempted with the prospect of a single, monistic vision of design, but the diversity of potential monisms suggests that pluralism is an unavoidable reality. The pluralism of design research suggests that design is a field comprised of many fields, each shaped by its own problems and lines of investigation. Such diversity is both strength and weakness in the field.

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