What is Design?
When People think of Design, they often think of a beautiful car, luxurious furniture, an elegant architecture or an attractive logo. Some people may think of fashion or art. But that isn’t all that design is! Design is more. It’s more than sketching artistic pattern. It’s more than an appealing UI or a rare concept car. Design is more than aesthetics. Design is much more.
Design is the plan of transforming an Idea into Reality. It’s a process to investigate and understand. It’s the ability to give form to ideas and make things perfect. Design is making things come to life. Design is knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them. It is specifications of size, shape, and features of an object. It is a set of instructions to execute some procedure or run a business. It is the process of making decisions, in which the basic mathematics, sciences, and understanding are applied to efficiently convert the available resources into the desired objective. In short, design can be anything and everything around us is Design. It’s in the chair you sit. It’s in the pen you write with. It’s in the handle of your bike. Design is both scientific and creative process. It requires the use of both science and arts. In the world where anyone can build anything today, Design is the understanding of whether it’s worth building or not?
To design is to create a new product or system that meets with the requirements and turns into profit as well as benefit the society in some ways. Design is the way to build the world better, wiser and beautiful place.
The Process of Engineering Design
The Design Process is an approach for breaking down a large project into small manageable phases. It is the sequence of processor instructions that help the designer to start the journey of transforming the idea into reality. It’s the process of asking the right questions.
Questions like :
- What’s the right problem to solve?
- How do I solve it?
- Why should I solve it?
Everyone around us like Architects, engineers, scientists, and other thinkers use the design process to solve a variety of problems. They use this process to define the steps needed to solve each problem and remember to hold to all ideas and sketches throughout the process. There are many models that represent the actual design process. Most of them are multi-stage models with many feedbacks and complicated loops trying to reflect the transformation of an idea into a reality. The design process can be shown in a simple flow-chart. Usually, the design process contains a number of steps. Fig summarises the steps in the systematic design process
- Identify the Problem or Need to Design.
This is the first and most important stage in the design process. It is necessary to clearly understand and identify the problem. A design problem often begins with an abstract idea in the designer’s mind. Design activity occurs in response to the individual’s need. The designer has to establish the need for a new product, system or a machine and then develop a problem statement based on the design need. If there is no need there is no design.
To identify the problem, ask what do you need to accomplish? Break down the need into small manageable pieces – Some of them might already have solutions! Ask others for input if you are unfamiliar with the topic. Search for options that can be used to solve the problem. Search for their drawbacks and where they lack to solve the problem.
- Construct a clear Problem statement
It is very important to formulate a clear and specific problem statement. Defining a problem is not same as understanding the need for the problem. The problem statement must be an adequate problem definition. It should specifically address the real need yet be broad enough not to preclude certain solution. A broad statement of the problem allows you to look at a wide range of alternative solutions before you focus on a specific solution.
- Establish Design Criteria
Which is the best solution for the problem? A decision is not possible until a set of criteria have been established first. Some of them, however, are more important than the others so there is need of quantifiers. Design Criteria are the goals that the project must achieve in order to succeed. These are the specifications that the design must meet to fulfill the need for the design. Setting up good design criteria is mandatory to make sure the design process is proceeding in the right direction. On the basis of Design Criteria, ideas are selected, these ideas have to be refined in order to meet the assumed specifications of design criteria.
- Research and Select of the Best Solution
Once the design criteria are established the next stage is Research. Research as much as you can in the area of the design requirements. Find out what solutions are already available, what work is already been done and where is the scope or development. Gather all the information available related to the design need. The initial research may include the history of the subject, local as well as international competitors, Depending on the Design criteria different ideas are shortlisted. The best solutions must satisfy different terms. These terms may vary according to the need, design requirements or the goal to be achieved. Selection criteria for the best solution may be like,
- The design must be low cost.
- The design must meet quality standards and efficiency.
- The design should be safe to both human and environment.
- The design should be easy to operate and have low maintenance.
- The design should be aesthetically pleasing.
- The design must benefit society in some ways.
- The design must be economical and profitable.
- Formulate and Create a Model
Create a model based on the selected solution. Sketching the design is a good method to start within the primary stage. Sketch the ideas to define their visual details. Creating a mathematical model based on primary design. The initial calculations provide a baseline to create a concept design. As the concept is decided, building a prototype model turns the ideas into reality. These early versions of the concept design solution help to verify whether the design satisfies the original design objectives or not. Test for all the possible solutions and use creativity, imagination, and excellence in the design of the prototype model.
- Test and Analyse the Prototype.
This stage should provide the answers to the basic questions like:
The design process involves multiple iterations which creates many solutions for the problem. Analyze all the iterations and re-designs for the final solution. During this process, it is likely to test the solution, find new problems, make required modifications, and test new solutions before settling on a final design.
- A concept or prototype is a working version of a solution. It is often made with different materials, which is cheaper and easier to work with, than the final version. This is done to save the cost of the prototype. Generally, a prototype is not as polished as the final solution.
- Prototype models allow you to analyze how the solution will work and perform in different working conditions. It even shows the solution to users for feedback.
- Creating prototypes may involve using locally available materials, construction models, storyboards, process diagrams or other techniques that help to create the solution quickly and with minimum cost. Keep in mind that these are test versions of the final solution, not the real thing!
- Sometimes it may require to create several prototypes during the development of a solution.
- Test, Modify and Redesign to Improve
At this point, the created prototypes of alternative solutions are tested. Those prototypes, which satisfy the design requirement are chosen as the final design. Then comes the most important phase of the engineering design process—test, modify and redesign. Test, modify and redesign requires you to go out and test your final design with actual working conditions. Based on the feedback and the interaction of the surrounding with the solution, redesign the solution to make it better. Repeat this process of testing, analyzing, determining errors, fixing them, and then retesting multiple times until the solution is as successful as possible. During testing, find answers will be helpful to the redesign phase of test and redesign.
- Are the users able to solve the problem by using or interacting with the solution?
- If yes, why is successful?
- If no, what problems do they face that prevent them from being successful?
- Do the users ever need to ask you any questions while using or interacting with your solution?
- If yes, what questions do they ask? During which phase of testing do they ask these questions?
- Do the users interact with your solution exactly the way that you intended for them too?
- If no, what do they do differently?
Of the many feedback and loops omitted in the presented scheme, the most important is a correlation between the last two stages of the design process. Some machine elements cannot be tested until a preliminary scaled model of them has been created. To calculate pins for bending, necessary is an arrangement of the mating links with the calculated pin. Again, these topics will be discussed in the design course.
Author:- Vijay Gujar
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