table of contents


the word Design [dɪˈzaɪn] (dt.:Organization “) mostly means draft and shaping, as a rule also under the criterion of the beauty. It is a leaning word from the English, which is derived from latin again (Design acres = () draw) and inmany European languages entrance found. In English and French Design meansorganization “or „draft “, while Italian disegnodesign “stresses meant and additionally „the shaping “, similarly the Spanish diseño. Contrary tothe English word Design also the technical-constructional portion „of the organization covers German meaning of the Design term, which is appropriate for artistic rather in formal/, “from things. In German Design will provide with two different meanings. On the one hand it describes the process of conscious arranging of a thing.On the other hand it than comprehensive term for all consciously arranged aspects serves this thing.

differently than with

clear sciences as for instance mathematics do not know Pluralismus and Design the perspective, the field of activity or the” discipline “Design on one generallyrecognized denominators to be brought. Above all must be particularly differentiated with respect to the Design (still) strongly between theory and practice. Finally the Design theory so far hardly supplies concrete reference points, which can be used in practice, so that the practically acting designers inthe act very freely of a theory work, at it however nevertheless at empirical realizations, concepts and partly logical systems orient themselves. In addition in practice an instance comes for decisions, which is often called intuition “. The theoryis occupied therefore on another level with Design and developed models, in order to seize or explain Design practice. Further it is endeavored to win realizations which could be used in practice the future. Simplified one can say that there only one practice is, however many theoretical models to the Design. Practice works simply on its efficiency and hardly gives consideration to it, which discipline eras it breaks through borders. The theory however must create necessarily certain Verallgemeinerungen orPhenomena on a conceptual level bring, whereby evenly theoretical models develop. These are connected to describability always also with” borders “. In order to use mathematical comparison terms: Practice is a continuum, while the theory develops always discrete models. This introductionis importantly, there first of all the discrepancy between theory and practice to be recognized should and secondly, in order to legitimize the integration of different theoretical models. Finally an article can be like this only theoretical reflection.

Design creates tools

Designtries found articles and information again to organize and structure and it thus in the long run make better manageable. Designers feel obligated of their occupation understanding often the improvement of articles and structures. With their drafts they try most varied needsto correspond. These needs are enough from physical and psychological needs up to requirements of the human conditions to the gegenständliche environment - see for example for this Abraham Maslow or Immanuel Kant. Designers strive purposefully for the satisfaction of complex needsand requirements. Thus their drafts appear purpose-oriented. In the Design theory for it the term of the functionality was coined/shaped, to which however all too often as empty formula proved. Because functionality is in the long run a question of writing up and projections. Not least throughits purpose orientation differs Design from the art. Similarly as in architecture however a Design, which sets alone on outside purposes (client, market success etc.) and artistic impulses in favor of a pseudoscientific Begründbarkeit fades out, is doubtful and a little delightful.

Prozesshaftigkeit of Design

Design always orient themselves at selected human needs. Design follows thereby not alone rules and intentions even set, but must set itself particularly with the interests of those groups or persons apart, those the Designto be helpful is. At the beginning of a development process the analysis of the finding and the requirements stands to an innovative concept. After the analysis concretizing a concept follows. The concept of the designer defines already first ideas for the condition of a system orObject. The designer selects the means, him for the fulfilment of the purposes appears suitable and combines these systematically. Because humans are among other things a physical” sense nature “, thus only over physical means, particularly over the senses, with which environment can interact, necessarily each Design must in the long run physical and spatial become - an object, which affect the body or can by the senses be seized. Thus all Design objects require and also systems in the long run one Shape, which is defined in the concrete design phase. The draft is implemented last into the environment: it is manufactured, marketed and sold for example in industrieller series production.

Design uses most varied knowledge

of concepts and objects, for thatHumans are created, possess multilayered characteristics. In practice for the development by such concepts and objects most different knowledge or elements is used, which is not specific from Design-theoretical view for the Design. Most industrially manufactured objects require for examplethe co-operation of technicians, engineers and market stepping gene, in order to occur from the concept reality the market reality. The Design theory limits its focus however only to Design-specific aspects. The linkage is for instance from engineer knowledge, sociological and psychological realizations for the theoryinteresting, however are taken technical engines, realizations over group behavior or deep-psychological models for itself no articles, which would be specific for the Design. In practice these and many other elements are used however by the designers and into more extensive conceptsand systems for humans also included. Here it shows up that Design practice uses most varied knowledge of most different origin. The Design develops quasi a superordinate syntax, an order, in order to affect humans.

functions of Design

If one proceeds from a view, which is rather phenomenological, the functions of Design can hardly be listed. Finally there are many functions in the reason likewise like human needs and individuals. In addition temporal aspects come themselves, there humans asIndividuals or as groups constantly change - and concomitantly their needs. There are many theoretical efforts nevertheless, in order to provide a catalog from functions to, which is specific for Design. Here can briefly be specified however only some.The individual models are partly disputed among theoreticians depending upon view.

The” Offenbacher beginning “, by Dagmar Steffen developed (Steffen, Dagmar, Design as product language - the” Offenbacher beginning “in theory and practice, publishing house form, Frankfurt/Main, 2000), refers above all upProducts and their semantic levels. The following categories are called:

a) practical functions
b) formal-aesthetic functions and
b) indicationful/semantic functions,
whereby latter to be divided into the Unterkategorien sign functions and symbolic functions.

During itself the practical functions rather on the physical characteristicsfrom utensils refer - shears are to be able to cut well, a grasp are well in the hand to be appropriate for etc. - refer the formal-aesthetic functions to the formal characteristics of products and of them purely aesthetic order. Thus e.g. becomes. thatDegree of the complexity of a product regarding different forms seizes. The category of the sign functions designates such elements of an object, which point on its function, on certain characteristics and the possible use indicationful. A salient, red turning on lever possesses to that extent a sign function, byfirst of all it is trained that a large lever switches on or off mostly a machine. Secondly the red colouring draws special attention on itself and” shows on “that it is important. The symbolic functions refer particularly to the social orpsychological aspects of an object and often accompany with group dynamics - a remarkably expensive car is to symbolize for example the status of the owner. The symbolic functions refer thus to the position and meaning of an object within an extensive socialScenario. At the same time an object can possess a special symbolic function however for individual humans, as memories or as” anchors “for a memory about.

Beat cutter places in its book Design - an introduction (cutter, Beat, Design - an introduction,Birkhäuser publishing house, 2005) the following categories forwards and goes thereby also beyond the product Design :

a) technical-practical functions
b) aesthetic functions
and. c) symbolic functions.

With the first category again the physical functions of objects are meant. Also the third categoryresembles the definition of the Offenbacher of beginning. Under the category of the aesthetic functions however extensively all kommunikativen, informative and formal functions, is seized which aim at the sensory perception and the understanding or the psyche.

Within the kommunikativen functions has GUI Bonsiepe 1964 in connection with the HfG Ulm among other things between
the A) informative functions and
the b) persuasiven functions

differentiated. (Bonsiepe, GUI, education for visual organization, article in Ulm 12/13 magazine of the university for organization Ulm, HfG Ulm, Ulm1964)

First category refers to such communication forms, whose purpose is a material, rational information transfer. No further goal is to be achieved of sending than the recipients new information or knowledge. By a persuasive function is a person howeverto a behavior to be persuaded or pushed. In the advertisement for example persuasive functions become frequently actively, because the potential buyers are to become lively with different means the purchase.

The author of this article has, partially on basis described of the aboveCategories, a detailed catalog of functions compiles, which can contentwise partly overlap however. Above all the functions can be described into the categories functions for the human body and such for the understanding and the psyche.

Functions for the body

ergonomic functions Meant such aspects, which deal with the specific direct requirements of the human body to its environment, are e.g. the suitable temperature of an area or a light, which does not dazzle. -> see to ergonomics

use-promoting functions IAll levels of objects, which support the body with the use, are here seized, e.g. the grasps at shears, which would function quite also without these.

functions for the understanding and the psyche

use-promoting functions II onesuch function is to represent the conditions and characteristics of objects explaining, e.g. the red colouring of a switching on lever mentioned above.

Informative functions s.o: GUI Bonsiepe

didactical functions such systems, which want to obtain purposefully and systematically new realizations and knowledge, possess onedidactical function, so e.g. learn-oriented charts for school books. -> see didactics

indication functions Objects, those as concrete or abstract indication on contents o.a. point, so e.g. have an indication function. a classical arrow or also the figures on WC-cabs. Oftenrequire indications of a preceding learning process, so that they are generally understood.

Symbolic function the symbolic function can be arranged only conditionally as function for the understanding, since it includes also psychological aspects with. One is received however from the receiver,Symbol interprets, becomes clear that such affects first the understanding. Nothing the defiance makes the connection from symbols to extensive psychological needs clear that an allocation would fit also further down. Symbols nevertheless serve such needs such as attention, love orAffiliation (see for this: A. Maslow)

switching function Design mediate frequently between immaterial contents (e.g. scientific realizations), digital environments or not directly present persons and humans - for instance in the shape of artificial pictures, interface (man-machine interfaces) or simply letters. Always then,if information is not directly physically present or cannot with natural human means not be seized, switching functions are needed, which mediate evenly between the immaterial one or far one and the sense of humans.

Structuring function there humans only with thatSense notices, needs many concepts a shape, a structure, in order to be at all usable. Thus the units of a ruler possess a structuring function, because only by it that the concept gets evenly more partitioned (discrete) units a sinnlich experiencable form, it can function.

Each shape can affect general psychological functions fundamental the human psyche: Certain colors possess certain psychological effects; Forms are differently evaluated of humans and to affect our tendency. On empirical, scientific basis certain connections between concrete becameForms and psychological consequences shown. Despite everything the factor of the subjectivity is very high, since naturally each individual reacts very peculiar to forms and shapes. Nevertheless Designs are to fulfill often aimed psychological functions and e.g. the well-being in areas affect.

Persuasive functions see GUI Bonsiepe

the free application phase

Design is functional. The objects are to serve and those functions to implement be able their purpose, which were specified by the developer of the object. For example a poster is to obtain certain informationor a chair is to fulfill its ergonomic function. During the development process the functions” were embedded “quasi in the object. In the application phase of the objects the possible functions are now used - ideally for the developer accordingly its interests. In addition comes nowhowever that also the user certain interests has and the objects according to his subjective background uses, interprets or even umnutzt. Finally cannot be foreseen by the developer always clearly, which” performance “the objects in the application phase to implement. Posters can misunderstoodwill, by adding further contents can contents of a message be changed, chairs become used to call in order to put other articles down on it - over only some simple examples. Uta of fire did not specify the term Intentionales Design in,the spontaneous and purposeful use for new purposes of objects points, so that these no more are not used accordingly the intended purpose (fire, Uta/Steffen, Miriam/pass, Sonja, not Intentionales Design (NID): The everyday transformation of the arranged one in the use, unpublished Forschungsberich,Cologne 1999).

more far-reaching consequences of Design

the functions described above refer rather to a direct effect on individual persons or groups. However Designs draw often more extensive conclusions. Humans react for example to thoseInformation of a poster, buy if necessary. Products after an advertising spot saw it or to select a certain party not least due to Design the political campaign. Thus Design already releases often very comprehensive processes, from the developers and/or. Clientsare planned and their interests to correspond. In the pure development phase of objects already result tasks and questions, whose solution can lead to more extensive consequences.

Economic consequences Design is used, in order to optimize and differentiate products and services:Offerer A wants to stand out for instance against offerer B; it wants to position itself saliently in the market and promote the paragraph. For this reason the Design compiles a comprehensive Design strategy, those from a Corporate Design over efficient advertising measures up to oneinnovative line hands. Because of an efficient Design strategy products and services are not bought last, so that as a result of Design now extensive economic consequences arise - not only for the individual enterprise, but partly for the entire market. Clear Kostenkalkulationen alsoof course economic value play also in the development phase of the products a role. A small change in the material choice or the construction of a product can save or explode let costs.

Political consequences Since Design is used also for the political election campaign,it leads also within this range to more extensive consequences. Classical means such as election posters, but also unusual Tools are not only developed by the Design. In the last years the choice O Mat got ever more attention: a program of the federal centerfor political education ready one places, determined by an on-line questionnaire, a which party fits best the user. By the selection of the questions and the choice O Mat a structure is given to the possibilities for answers, which one can call Design. Itconcerns an informative structure for humans. By a canalizing Tool is possibly affected the voter in its decision for a party: he selects a certain party. With political consequences however only party-political effects are not meant, howdown becomes evident.

Social consequences in the context of the description of the symbolic function were already addressed group-dynamic effects. For example an expensive vehicle is to obtain and the possession of certain dresses of a group the social status of the owner or support the group affiliation.In the development process are partly only difficult such effects to plan, however among other things by advertisement and other marketing measures one tries to steer such social consequences in order to be able to platzieren the products more exactly. Above all however draw also the town planning and Architecture, which one can call in a comprehensive understanding also Design, extensive social and also political consequences. Social groups with low income are settled about outside by large cities (Banlieues) and the higher income brackets withinthe cities, as for instance in of Paris the case, it can come to social focuses, which lead to political effects. Also the idealistic concept of Buckminster filler to make by industrielle production methods of” houses “so easy and favorable that for everyonesuch to be ready placed can, aims already in the development phase at social and political consequences.

Ecological consequences in the development phase, particularly of industrially manufactured products, must be urgently considered the ecological consequences. Finally material resources always become with the production,Raw materials and energy etc. used. Further also in the customs phase resources are needed, which possibly load the environment. Also the possibility of the recycling must be angedacht. The ecological balance supplies concrete means, in order to determine, like environmentalcompatibly a draft and/or. Product inentire product cycle is.

theoretical borders Design

after already, as differently for instance the functions Design by different theoreticians are described, becomes also the demarcation from Design became above clear to other ranges of the human work ofdifferent theories differently in each case regards. Essentially all join in over the fact that Design develops oriented concepts, systems and objects innovative at humans and, in order to exert an influence on humans. The theories differ however, if it around thoseQuestion goes, to which extent one can speak in practice and in the everyday life of Design.

Very traditional and probably generally overhauled theories see the pure shaping from objects in the Design to the purpose of the” adornment “and improvement of practical functionality.The honor” property form “stood in this tradition, was however abolished.

Many theoreticians link Design particularly with the economy, its production methods and with economic interests. So is Design e.g. energize the consumer behaviour, produce purchase desires or productsand companies from each other differentiate. Partly actually of Design one speaks only if two or three-dimensional products go into the mass production. Unique pieces instead as” arts and crafts “designates. This linkage to purely economic features saves however the danger thatit is surveyed that Design has a great importance also on in completely private environment or within the social and political range. Further it is questionable whether the quantity can give information to the duplication of an article over it whether it itself around Designacts or not. Finally a definition is to be looked for nevertheless rather in general qualitative aspects: in the motivation, the perspective and the effects of Design about.

Some theoreticians see a special height of the formal and functional quality in Design ratherof objects. They e.g. differentiate. between different stages Design regarding innovation, technical quality and formal height. Traditional objects such as oak bureaus are designated partly than Non Design or banal Design - particularly fastidious, new objects with high degree at innovative conception howeveras particularly good Design.

Other theoreticians extract themselves from a concrete definition, but speak rather of a kind” special gift “the practically acting designer, which puts her into the position, transverse to think, unorthodox ways for hitting and versatile problems to solve.

The most general and probably to few elitäre theory sees a designer and the Design in each humans thus as very fundamental authority of human acting and work. Nearly each person nevertheless develops daily objects and forms, on the humanNeeds aim at - for example private web page, furniture, those according to functional criteria to be arranged or even built or letters and charts in the office. In principle such everyday life Designs, the motivation for their development, are the perspective, the purpose and also thoseProceeding during the conversion similarly or even identically as with professional Design projects. Only the experience factor differentiates then a” normal everyday life designer “from a professional designer.


notifies itself Design disciplines in professional Design practice different disciplines, usuallythe used media or the functions differentiate. Above all the following disciplines worked and to apply both in vocational practice and at universities still strongly for the distinction of the authority of professional designers. The following disciplines place themselveshowever in practice does not isolate in such a way, as this listing could assume let. Meanwhile also strengthens the acceptance for interdisciplinary or transdisziplinäre designers and their training sits down through.

Product Design/industrial designThe product Design or industrial design is concerned with the developmentindustrially manufactured products, like for example machines, furniture, medical instruments. A strong weaving with engineer knowledge is necessary.

Transportation Design Above all automobiles, in addition, other vehicles, are developed by Transportation designer.

Communication Design/diagram Design The term communication Design refers to oneFunction, which has validity also for products, however the designation in practice usually equated with diagram Design. Under this discipline knowledge of layout, Typografie, photography (treatment of pictures ) falls , Internet organization in the further use of and, Communication theory and medium theory. Particularly the advertising fallow and enterprise communication are served by communication Design.

Corporate Design There are still no proven courses of studies for Corporate Design, however in practice many designers and enterprises on Corporate Design have themselvesspecialized. If the term Corporate Identity designates the spreading, general self view and the foreign picture of bodies, the term Corporate Design refers to all formal aspects of the Corporate Identity - among other things becomes so the Logo, the enterprise-typical product design, the advertising appearances,firm architecture etc. seized.

Interface Design With consideration of the Usability the interface designer develops the man-machine interface. All aspects are relevant also here, which were already called with the communication Design. The fields of application actually overlap much.

Interaction Design particularly the interactivity between humansand environment by electronic input media, sensors and computer systems is the center of attention with the Interaction Design . Particularly in the last years ever more projects for example regarding dynamic and controllable architecture developed.

Television Design or TV-Design television Design or TV-Design marks audiovisual-arisenthe different television stations. It essentially contains the Corporate Design of the transmitter (recruiting racer, station ID, removing organization), which audiovisual packing of the individual programs (link, Studio Design up, moderator equipment) and the complete graduation packing. The television Design, usually the Logo, is the origin and thoseBasis for the entire Design system (business equipment, Event - and on-line one - organization) of a transmitter. By the private television, particularly by Sat.1 and RTL, beakam the appearance of the transmitters ever more at meaning, accordingly became the career profile of theTelevision designer or also graduation producers production and TV-Designagenturen (like sevensenses, HOP, redsun, u.v.m.) in Germany based.

Architecture Since the perspective and the draft process of architecture and Design are similar, architecture can be integrated into this collection. Many architects were alsogood designers and in reverse. It is at all questionable whether a separation between Design and architecture makes still sense. Finally the tasks continue to merge ever.

Clothing Design If mode is actually a general term and not inevitably bound at clothes, the term becomes Mode Design frequently as alternative term used for clothing Design.

Service Design Also services get a concrete form and by so-called service the Design are planned or optimized.

Design managementThe Design management worries particularly about the control of Design processes and the strategicEmployment of Design.

In each of these sections and give there were influential designers, who coined/shaped their area.

see also


  • GUI Bonsiepe, education for visual organization, article in Ulm 12/13 magazine of the university for organization Ulm, HfG Ulm, Ulm 1964
  • dock book wood and Klaus curving ore (Hg.): In the designer park. Häusser, Darmstadt 2004, ISBN 3-8955-2100-0
  • Bernhard E. Bürdek: Design - history, theory and practice of the product design, 3. complete. over work. and. erw. New edition, Birkhäuser publishing house, 2005, ISBN 3-7643-7028-9
  • Charlotte and Peter Fiell: Design 20. Century. Bags, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-8228-0813-X
  • Thomas Heider, Markus bar man andRené Zey:The Design encyclopedia (CD-ROM), Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-9325-4487-0
  • Beat cutter, Design - an introduction, Birkhäuser publishing house, 2005, ISBN 3-7643-7241-9
  • Klaus Jürgen Sembach, Gabriele Leuthäuser, Peter Gössel: Furniture Design 20. Century., Bags, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-8228-2136-5
  • Dagmar Steffen,Design as product language - the” Offenbacher beginning “in theory and practice, publishing house form, Frankfurt/Main, 2000, ISBN 3-7643-6816-0

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