Design – Definition by Prof. Michael Hardt


In this lecture there are some interesting points about “what is design?”

– ‘design is to design the design of a design’
  a general concept, an activity, a plan or intention, a finished outcome

To design is to plan, to order, to relate and to control.
That´s an interesting approach to think about for our design object.

We all say that functionality is one of the most important things in design. That  can be the starting point for our object. We could take something which has no function or is very complicated and transform it into something functional, combined with other aspects like timeless, sustainable, authentic etc.


– Design is a creative process which integrates the physical qualities of a product with aesthetic considerations.

Design is both the result as end product and the process which creates the result.

Design as process deals with uniting such factors as technology, marketing, sales, recycling and disposal to create the balance between the commercial, immaterial and aesthetic values of a product.


– Design includes thinking and planning in order to give shape to things in a way that they can be manufactured, used and finally destructed.

Designers work within a humanistic tradition in the meeting between product and man and to an increasing degree with digital and human interaction.

Five factors are important:
Functionality, aesthetics, long range identity, cultural, political and ethical relations.


I read these definitions about design an thought of our group talk today. Does design really have to combine so many factors? Agree or disagree.


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  1. I’m not convinced by the argument that design fundamentally HAS to combine so many of these factors. I’m not sure that’s what he’s saying anyway really, only that they should be considered during the process.

    I think with aesthetics for instance, it is important that it’s considered during the process but doesn’t necessarily have to be the driving force behind it.

    Culture and ethics are things we’ve touched on already in our discussions. I think culture is particularly interesting. Historically, as Paul was saying in his lecture the other day, we can learn a lot about a culture through the artefacts and designs associated with them.

    I like your idea of “taking something which has no function or is very complicated and transform it into something functional”. Maybe we could look at how current design defines the various cultures we all come from? And make objects that are designed to inform a future generation of how our society worked.

    I like the idea of taking something that has no function and transforming it. Similarly, I like the idea of taking something that works and engineering it so that it becomes useless. Could be a bit of fun!

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