Design research

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Associated notions: Designforschung, design methods, design methodology, design theories and methods, design science, design thinking, design cognition, design studies.


Major international conferences[edit]

For national conferences and symposia see Initiatives.

Design Methods Movement
  • Conference on Design Methods, Imperial College London, 1962. Organised by industrial engineer and ergonomist John Chris Jones and Peter Slann. A conference on systematic and intuitive methods in engineering, industrial design, architecture and communications. Chairman: John Page (Sheffield U); secretary: Peter Slann (Imperial College of Science and Technology); treasurer: Frank Height (RCA); committee: Bruce Archer (RCA), Peter Booker (Institute of Engineering Designers), Roger Coleman, Peter Cowan (Bartlett School of Architecture), Anthony Froshaug (RCA), Christopher Jones (Manchester College of Science and Technology), Denis Thornley (Dept of Architecture, Manchester U). The committee stayed in existence for several years and eventually, with the addition of other committee members, formed the Design Research Society. [1]
  • Further conferences: The Design Method, Birmingham 1965 (Gregory 1966); Portsmouth 1967; Cambridge MA 1969; Manchester 1971 (DRS); London 1973 (DRS); New York 1974; Berkeley CA 1975; Portsmouth 1976 (DRS); Istanbul 1978 (DRS); Design: Science: Method, Portsmouth 1980 (DRS); Bath 1984 (DRS). DRS conferences relaunched in 2002 (see below).
1990s and onwards
  • EAD biannual conferences, biennial: Salford 1995; Stockholm 1997; Sheffield 1999; Aveiro 2001; Barcelona 2003; Bremen 2005; Izmir 2007; Aberdeen 2009; Porto 2011; Gothenburg 2013; Paris 2015.
  • Designing Design Research conferences: Leicester 1995; Leicester 1998; Leicester 2003; London 2004. Organised by De Montfort U Leicester (Alec Robertson) and DRS.
  • Doctoral Education in Design (DED) conferences: Ohio State U 1998 (organised by Design Issues); La Clusaz FR 2000 (sponsored by DRS; proceedings, [2]); Tsukuba JP Oct 2003 (proceedings); Tempe AZ 2005. Two of the participants of the 1998 conference, David Durling and Keith Russell, founded the PhD-Design listserv (1998), which is still running today. See Margolin 2010.
  • DRS biennial conferences: Common Ground, London 2002; Future Ground, Melbourne 2004; Wonder Ground, Lisbon 2006; Undisciplined!, Sheffield 2008; Design &, Montreal 2010; Research: Uncertainty, Contradiction and Value, Bangkok 2012; Design's Big Debates, Umeå 2014. Proceedings.
  • IASDR biennial conferences: Taiwan 2005; Emerging Trends in Design Research, HongKong 2007; Design / Rigor & Relevance, Seoul 2009; Diversity and Unity, Delft 2011; Consilience and Innovation in Design, Tokyo 2013; Interplay, Brisbane 2015.
  • Nordes: Nordic Design Research biannual conferences: In the Making, Copenhagen, 2005; Design Inquiries, Stockholm, 2007; Engaging Artifacts, Oslo, 2009; Making Design Matter, Helsinki, 2011; Experiments in Design Research, Copenhagen, 2013; Design Ecologies, Stockholm, 2015. Proceedings. Nordes also organises Summer schools.


Societies and associations[edit]

Structured according to primary focus.

Architecture and urban planning
Engineering design
Industrial design
Product design
Systems-oriented design

Academic departments, labs and centres[edit]

No longer active
  • Design Research Unit (DRU), started by art critic Herbert Read in 1942, following his Art and Industry (1934). Other core founding members included art collector and advertising executive Marcus Brumwell, architect Misha Black, and industrial designer Milner Gray. See Cotton 2011 [7].
  • Design Research Laboratory at U Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, a postgraduate programme founded by John Chris Jones. Jones co-organised the 1962 Design Methods Conference.
  • Industrial Design Research Unit (later Department of Design Research) at Royal College of Art, London. Head: L. Bruce Archer (1964-c84). See Archer 1981.
  • Design Methods Group at UC Berkeley; started 1967 by Horst Rittel, architect Christopher Alexander, architect Henry Sanoff. Published Design Methods Group Newsletter (1966-72), DMG-DRS Journal (1972-75), Design Methods and Theories (1976-90), and since c1992 Design Methods.
  • Design Research Center (DRC) at Carnegie Institute of Technologie, Carnegie Mellon U (Pittsburgh), 1974-86; dir. chemical engineer Gary Powers (1976-79), chemical engineer Arthur Westerberg (1979-?), S.J. Fenves. An informal group of members from the college's depts of chemical, civil and electrical engineering and from architecture, computer science, design, mathematics, and the graduate schools of industrial administration and urban and public affairs. Inspired by Simon's The Sciences of the Artificial (1969). Later transformed into EDRC. [8]
    • Engineering Design Research Center (EDRC) at Carnegie Mellon U, 1986-97; dir. Sarosh N. Talukdar (1986), Arthur W. Westerberg (1986-89), Friedrich (Fritz) B. Prinz (1989-94), and Daniel P. Siewiorek (1994-97). Transformed into the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES). [9]
  • Design, Theory, and Methods Group (DTM) at MIT; est. 1982. Started as a group of professors in the MIT School of Architecture and one from the School of Engineering, including engineer Louis Bucciarelli, architect Donald Schön and Patrick Purcell. See Demes et al 1993.
  • DesignAge action research unit at RCA London, 1991-98; dir. Roger Coleman. [10]
  • Design2context at School of Art and Design Zurich, 2004-c2012; dir. Ruedi Baur.
Read, Art and Industry, 1934, Log, PDF.
Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial, 1969/1996, PDF.


Foundational texts[edit]

Design Methods Movement[edit]

  • Arthur D. Hall, A Methodology for Systems Engineering, Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1962, 224 pp. (English)
  • Morris Asimow, Introduction to Design, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962. On engineering design. (English)
  • Christopher Alexander, Notes on the Synthesis of Form, Harvard University Press, 1964, 216 pp, PDF. First Ph.D. thesis in design methods; broke new ground in architecture. (English)
  • The Design Method, ed. S.A. Gregory, 1966. Proceedings from the 1965 Birmingham conference. (English)
  • L. Bruce Archer, Systematic Method for Designers, London: Council for Industrial Design, 1965, 40 pp. Based on a series of articles in Design magazine (1963-64). The method involves six basic stages: programming, data collection, analysis, synthesis, development and communication. (English)
  • L. Bruce Archer, The Structure of Design Processes, Springfield, VA: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1968, 211 pp. Doctoral thesis, Royal College of Art, London. (English)
  • John Chris Jones, Design Methods: Seeds of Human Future, London: Wiley Interscience, 1970, xvi+407 pp; 2nd ed., rev., Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992, lxiv+407 pp; repr., John Wiley and Sons, 1998. [11]. Review: Clarke (Ergonomics).

See also other texts by and about the Ulm School of Design, Tomás Maldonado, L. Bruce Archer, John Chris Jones.


In chronological order according to the first issue published; no longer active journals are included as well.

  • Technicheskaya estetika [Техническая эстетика], ed. Yuri Soloviev (1964-88), Moscow: VNIITE, 1964-91. (Russian)
  • Visible Language, ed. Mike Zender, University of Cincinatti, since 1967. Open access. List of special issues.
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD), ed. V. Shapiro, since 1968. Subscription access (Elsevier).
  • Applied Ergonomics, eds. P. Carayon and K.C. Parsons, since 1970. Subscription access (Elsevier).
  • DMG-DRS Journal: Design Research and Methods, San Luis Obispo, CA: J. Protzen, 1972-75. The journal of Design Methods Group and London's Design Research Society. DMG earlier published DMG newsletter (1966-72).
  • Design Methods and Theories, San Luis Obispo, CA: Design Methods Group, 1976-90. Continued by Design Methods: Theories, Research, Education and Practice, San Luis Obispo, CA: Design Methods Institute, since c1992.
  • Design Studies: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Design Research, ed. Nigel Cross, London: Design Research Society, since 1979. Subscription access (Elsevier).
  • Information Design Journal (IDJ), ed. Carla G. Spinillo, since 1979. Subscription access (Benjamins).
  • Design Issues, eds. Bruce Brown, Richard Buchanan, Carl DiSalvo, Dennis P. Doordan and Victor Margolin, Chicago: University of Illinois, since 1984. Subscription access (MIT).
  • Human-Computer Interaction, ed. Steve Whittaker, since 1985. Subscription access (Taylor & Francis).
  • Temes de Disseny, ed. Natàlia Garcia Forés, Barcelona: Universitaris de Catalunya, since 1986. Open access. (Catalan),(Spanish),(English)
  • AI EDAM: Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, ed. Yan Jin, since 1987. Subscription access (Cambridge).
  • Journal of Design History (JDH), ed. Cheryl Buckley, London: Design History Society, since 1988. Subscription access (Oxford).
  • Research in Engineering Design, ed. Yoram Reich, since 1989. Subscription access (Springer).
  • Interacting with Computers (IWC), eds. Dianne Murray, since 1989. Subscription access (Oxford).
  • Design Management Review, ed. Susan Bencuya, since 1989. Until 2003 as Design Management Journal. Subscription access (Wiley).
  • Eye, ed. John L. Waters, Haymarket, since 1990.
  • Journal of Engineering Design, ed. Alex Duffy, since 1990. Subscription access (Taylor & Francis).
  • Digital Creativity, eds. Lone Malmborg and Julia Sussner, since 1990. Formerly Intelligent Tutoring Media (1990-97). Subscription access (Taylor & Francis).
  • International Journal of Technology and Design Education, ed. Marc J. de Vries, since 1991. Subscription access (Springer).
  • Languages of Design, ed. Raymond Lauzzana, 3 issues, 1993.
  • IX Interactions, eds. Ron Wakkary and Erik Stolterman, New York: Association for Computing Machinery, since 1994. Open access.
  • Estudos em design, ed. Rita Maria de Souza Couto, Rio de Janeiro: Associação de Ensino de Design do Brazil, since 1994. Open access. (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Revue des sciences et techniques de la conception (STC), Paris: Europia, 1995-2000. Followed by IJDST. (French)
  • formdiskurs: Zeitschrift für Design und Theorie, Frankfurt am Main: Form, since 1996-2001. (German)
  • International Journal of Design (IJD), ed. Lin-Lin Chen, since 1997. Open access.
  • The Design Journal, European Academy of Design, since 1998. Subscription access (Bloomsbury).
  • Arcos, ed. Sydney Freitas, Rio de Janeiro: Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial, since 1998. Open access. (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • IDEA Journal: The Journal of the Interior Design/Interior Architecture Educators Association, ed. Suzie Attiwill, Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology, since 1999. Open access.
  • International Journal of Design Sciences & Technology (IJDST), eds. Reza Beheshti and Khaldoun Zreik, Paris: Europia, since 2001. Continuation of STC. Open access.
  • Journal of Design Research (JDR), eds. Ina T. Klaasen and Renee Wever, since 2001. Subscription access (InderScience).
  • Design em Foco, Universidade do Estado da Bahia, 2004-06. Open access. (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Design Philosophy Papers (DPP), ed. Anne-Marie Willis, since 2003. Subscription access (Taylor & Francis).
  • CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, ed. Janet McDonnell, since 2005. Subscription access (Taylor & Francis).
  • Design Research Quarterly (DRSQ), London: Design Research Society, since 2006. Open access.
  • Artifact, ed. Charlie Breindahl, Copenhagen: Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, since 2007. Open access.
  • International Journal of Design Engineering (IJDE), ed. Daizhong Su, since 2007. Subscription access (Inderscience).
  • FORMakademisk, ed. Janne Beate Reitan, since 2008. Open access. (Norwegian),(English)
  • Craft Research, eds. Kristina Niedderer and Katherine Townsend, since 2010. Subscription access (Intellect).
  • International Journal of Designs for Learning, ed. Elizabeth Boling, Association for Educational Communications and Technology, since 2010. Open access.
  • Journal for Artistic Research (JAR), Bern: Society for Artistic Research, since 2011. Open access.
  • Anti-po-des: Journal of Design Research, New Zealand, since 2011. Open access.
  • Journal of Remanufacturing, ed. Winifred Ijomah, since 2011. Open access.
  • Swedish Design Research Journal, ed. Eva-Karin Anderman, Stockholm: Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, since 2012. Open access.
  • International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, eds. Toshiharu Taura and Yukari Nagai, since 2013. Subscription access (Taylor & Francis).
  • Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, since 2013. Subscription access (Bloomsbury).
  • Design Science Journal (DSJ), eds. Panos Y. Papalambros and John S. Gero, Cambridge University Press, since 2015. Open access. [12]
Ten best-ranked design research journals

According to the Friedman et al 2008 study: DS, DI, IJD, TDJ, JDH, JDR, JED, CoDesign, Artifact, IJDE.

According to the Gemser et al 2012 study on industrial design research journals: DS, DI, Human Factors, JDH, HCI, AE, JED, IJD, CAD, RED.

Journal special issues[edit]

Monographs (1990s and onwards)[edit]

For conference proceedings see Events.

Single-authored volumes
  • Horst W.J. Rittel, Planen, Entwerfen, Design, Kohlhammer, 1992, 432 pp; new ed. as Thinking Design. Transdisziplinäre Konzepte für Planer und Entwerfer, eds. by Wolf D. Reuter and Wolfgang Jonas, Basel: Birkhäuser (BIRD publication), 2013, 368 pp. Part. (German)
  • Nigel Cross, Designerly Ways of Knowing, London: Springer, 2006; repr., Basel: Birkhäuser (BIRD publication), 2007. [14] (English)
  • Claudia Mareis, Design als Wissenskultur. Interferenzen zwischen Design- und Wissensdiskursen seit 1960, transcript, 2011, 450 pp. [15] (German)
  • Johannes Lang, Prozessästhetik. Eine ästhetische Erfahrungstheorie des ökologischen Designs, Basel: Birkhäuser (BIRD publication), 2015, 176 pp. (German)
MIT edited collections
  • Design Research: Methods and Perspectives, ed. Brenda Laurel, MIT Press, 2003, 336 pp. [16] (English)
Board of International Research in Design (BIRD) edited collections [17]
  • Design Research Now: Essays and Selected Projects, ed. Ralf Michel, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2007. BIRD publication. (English)
  • Design als Rhetorik. Grundlagen, Positionen, Fallstudien, eds. Gesche Joost and Arne Scheuermann, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2008. BIRD publication. [18] [19] [20] (German)
  • Gestaltung denken. Grundlagentexte zu Design und Architektur, eds. Klaus Thomas Edelmann and Gerrit Terstiege, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2010. [21] (German)
  • Mapping Design Research, eds. Simon Grand and Wolfgang Jonas, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2012. BIRD publication. (English)
  • Design Research Now 2, eds. Ralf Michel, Gesche Joost and Claudia Mareis, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2015. BIRD publication. (English)
DGTF edited collections
  • Entwerfen – Wissen – Produzieren. Designforschung im Anwendungskontext, eds. Claudia Mareis, Gesche Joost and Kora Kimpel, transcript, 2010, 302 pp. DGTF publication. [22] (German)
  • Positionen zur Designwissenschaft, eds. Felicidad Romero-Tejedor and Wolfgang Jonas, Kassel University Press, 2010, 220 pp, PDF. A publication of DGTF's theme group "Designwissenschaft" (GDW). (German)
  • Wer gestaltet die Gestaltung? Praxis, Theorie und Geschichte des partizipatorischen Designs, eds. Claudia Mareis, Matthias Held, Gesche Joost, transcript, 2013. DGTF publication. [23] [24] (German)

Historisation of design research[edit]

Cross 1993, Bayazit 2004, Margolin 2010. (English)


See also[edit]