A design is a blueprint or detailed description of an entity or the production of an object or procedure, or the product of which it is the physical expression, or the resultant of that blueprint or detailed description. The word design also refers to the art of designing, which may employ different methods. The word art likewise denotes a particular form of producing things attractive and beautiful. Thus, art and design are related but not identical. The word “design” as used in the context of building and architecture identifies the process by which certain physical structures are produced by combining together the various preexisting elements, most often material and/or human input.
In computer software engineering, a design approach is used to specify the functional requirements of a system, then build it, test it, and finally check it for usability, safety, and performance. This design approach may employ a variety of approaches. The most common design approach is the inside-out approach, sometimes called a “conceptual design” approach, meaning that the designer first visualizes the end result and abstracts the physical processes involved, then works backward to form the desired object.
Functional programmers concentrate on maximizing the inputs of the system’s developers so that the developers can build a working program as effectively as possible, within a given programming language and framework. Functional programmers do not specialize in designing systems. Rather, they take a generalized view of the problem, derive an appropriate solution, and translate their findings into portable, concrete code that the system’s developers can use and refer to repeatedly. Because functional programmers do not specialize in the design, however, their descriptions of design can be extremely vague, even circular.
Many industrial design professionals have applied the philosophy of structural engineering to product design and have found it to be highly successful in product design. Product design encompasses many aspects of product development including process specifications, functional requirements, modeling, and simulation. Structural engineers concentrate on understanding the design constraints of the manufacturer; although, in industrial design, many design principles are learned early on as well. Both structural and industrial designers gain a solid knowledge of engineering design through the years of practice in either discipline.
A structural engineer is intimately knowledgeable about the relationship between mechanical properties and the operation of complex systems. Engineers must possess an ability to analyze and design physical processes with sequential steps and a detailed design process. In functional components, engineers develop functional elements that are tested and checked to assure that these elements work together as they are intended. The understanding of functionality is an integral part of the functional components inside-out approach in industrial design.
There are many design process models to choose from in industrial design including the MDF (medium-density fiberboard) process and FSCM (fiber-structure computerized) models. All three of these processes have different strengths and weaknesses depending on which discipline you belong to. Knowing your strengths will help you decide what type of design approach will be best for you.