Is Engineering Design Disappearing from Design Research?

  • M. M. Andreasen
  • T. J. Howard


Most systems and products need to be engineered during their design, based upon scientific insight into principles, mechanisms, materials and production possibilities, leading to reliability, durability and value for the user. Despite the central importance and design’s crucial dependency on engineering, we observe a declining focus on engineering design in design research, articulated in the composition of contributions to Design Society conferences. Engineering design relates closely to the ‘materialisation’ of products and systems, i.e. the embodiment and detailing. The role of clever materialisation is enormous where poor engineering will often manifest in a multitude of consequences for downstream activities. In this article we will draw a picture of what happens in the embodiment phase of designing, try to create an overview of current understandings and sum up the challenges of proper embodiment. Embodiment design is just as intellectually challenging as conceptualisation but seems much more engineering dependant and intriguing in its complexity of dependencies and unsure reasoning about properties by the fact that often a multidisciplinary team is necessary. This article should be seen as the fertilisation of this theory and terminology barren land, inspiring researchers to work on embodiment and detailing.


Part Structure Product Family Property Reasoning Function Reasoning Embodiment Design 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. Andreasen
    • 1
  • T. J. Howard
    • 1
  1. 1.Technical University of Denmark (DTU)LyngbyDenmark

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