HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
The Delft Design Guide presents design methods and approaches that can
be useful to you as a designer, both during your time as a student and as a
practitioner. We hope you will use the guide as a source and reference. It will
help you to gradually build a rich repertoire of ways to approach the design of
products and services.
An important recommendation It is crucial to be aware of two issues before you start using the book. First, design
methods are not recipes for success, just like strictly following a cooking recipe is not a guarantee of a good meal.
Methods will help you to structure your thinking and actions. In this guidebook, we present the essential steps that
will enable you to work efficiently and achieve your goals without too many detours. Furthermore, the methods
will help you to communicate with your team or client. Consequently, you will not lose your way in complex design
processes. You will mostly learn by experience, reflecting critically on your chosen path and methods.
Second, there are many ways to accomplish something. Your task is to find an appropriate approach for each new
situation. To perform well, you need to adapt any method to the specific situation. The selection of an appropriate
approach depends on your goal or task, the circumstances, your personality, background and experiences. For
every ‘designer - design problem - environment’ combination there are multiple applicable methods that all have
their benefits and limitations. The more methods you have experienced, the better your knowledge of which ways of
working are suitable for you in tackling design problems effectively and efficiently.
Who is the book written for? The Delft Design Guide is first and foremost intended for design students. It
complements the teaching materials provided in design courses. The book also supports design tutors by serving
as a reference. Furthermore, course developers can use the book to make selections and divide the methods in the
curriculum. And finally the Delft Design Guide serves as a reference for design practitioners.
When might you need this book? Designing distinguishes itself from other disciplines in that it combines a number
of activities, such as visualising, creative thinking, empathising with the intended users and reasoning from values
via functions to forms. In essence, designing is an activity that is intended to lead to new possibilities and an
embodiment of those possibilities. Designing requires you to cope with uncertainty and to play with possibilities,
leading to new insights that can result in innovations. As a designer you have the difficult task of understanding the
world around you while creating new products that will change your world. Questions that you may ask yourself are:
• Is there a specific way a designer thinks and acts?
• What questions do I need to answer? How and when?
• What activities do I need to perform? When and in which order?
• How do I determine the boundaries of the context I am designing for?
• How can I map the ‘world’ of my intended users?
• When can I stop analysing and start creating and how do I generate ideas?
• How do I choose between solutions?
Design methods and tools can help you answer these and many other questions.
What is in the book? Design education at Delft University of Technology focuses on the design process. By teaching
design methods we aim to train students to achieve fluent control of design processes and thereby manage and
execute design projects successfully. The models, approaches, perspectives and methods and tools presented in
this book are taught at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering in Delft. Much of the content has been developed
at Delft. Some of the content has been adopted – and sometimes modified – from outside sources. Together they
represent the three main ‘pillars’ of Delft design education: People, Business and Technology. As the field of design
is continuously evolving, the guide’s contents are a snapshot of the majority of methods we currently teach. New
design methods are developed continuously. Nonetheless, this collection offers you a rich variety of resources to
assist you in dealing with the challenges of designing.
D E L F T D E S I G N G U I D E — 1 1
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