Design Processes

 We study design practice from multiple perspectives, addressing how designers, teams, industries and communities create new products and services. We employ a range of methods for empirical studies of design processes from detailed discourse analysis to interviews studies and observation of design processes in industry. This is complemented by our research into computational design, which explores formal representations of processes and representations. Our research covers:

-  product development processes

-  computational design

-  innovation

-  communication

Our research combines empirical studies in various industries, including engineering, fashion, health, and architecture, with theoretical developments of models and methods that inform development of tools for design.


Contact Claudia Eckert for general enquiries. 


DTRS7: Design Meeting Protocols

The series of Design Thinking Research Symposia has produced a substantial set of publications in books and journals, with significant research results, and has helped to foster an international community of scholars and researchers focused on design cognition. Looking back to the first workshop in 1991, it is perhaps difficult to recall just how little 'research in design thinking' was going on then, compared with today.

Throughout the series of symposia the workshop format has been found to be a successful way of 

synthesising the contributions of an international community, of reporting current work, and of identifying and promoting necessary further research.

Designing with Vision

The Designing with Vision project was an exploration into the possibility of using eye-tracking technology as an interface for systems intended to support the creation, exploration and development of design shape alternatives in conceptual design. It was a two year project, funded by the Leverhulme trust, and resulted in prototype design tools that uses a combination of shape grammar methods and eye tracking to support visual exploration of design shapes.


The European electronic industry faces strong competition with far eastern and US manufacturers. European companies have to respond with improved flexibility to changing requirements and collaborate across the supply chain effectively capitalizing on collaborative decision making, shorter distances, high skill levels and shared cultural understanding. To do so in the electronic industry a number of non-hierarchical networks are forming. The CONVERGE project provides a framework and tools for exchanging tactical and strategic information for decision making in non-hierarchical supply chain networks. CONVERGE delivers a de-centralized decision support system for production planning and resource optimization based on

1. a new reference model for inter-organizational decision taking

2. deployment methods to adapt the generic reference model to application fields, networks and companies and

3. existing software supporting customer and supplier relations.

Design Synthesis and Shape Generation

This was a collaborative project spanning four disciplines: architecture, art and design, engineering and computing. The project resulted in a common reference framework to inform the definition of future generations of computer aided design systems, and prototype computational systems that support the generation of design alternatives using shape grammars implemented using computer vision techniques. The Design Synthesis and Shape Generation project was one of twenty Phase 2 projects in the AHRC/EPSRC Designing for the 21st Century initiative. 

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