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What does ‘Design is everything’ mean to you?

We want to lead a discussion on the importance of design in helping society, governments and businesses to engineer a better world. We think design is everything and we want to help engineers to champion design in their everyday lives to reconnect with their ‘inner design-self’ and get company leaders within engineering and technology to embed ‘design as strategy’. Most importantly, we would love to hear from you! What does design is everything mean to you? Comment below to let us know! We’ll be collecting your contributions and creating an online scrapbook of ideas received. You can also find out more in our Design Hub.

6 Replies
Simon Barker
839 Posts
That video concentrates on the obvious aspect of design - making things look better, and making them nicer to use.

But there's also design for cost, design for reliability, design for manufacturability, design for recyclability, and probably a few others I have forgotten.
Andy Millar
1763 Posts
Apologies, rant-ette coming...

I do get frustrated, and have done for the past 30 years or so, with the concept that there are "designers" who are brilliant, creative, artistic individuals, and "engineers" who are plodding implementers (or fixers). I came into the profession, as an engineer, because I wanted to design new stuff to solve problems, and pretty much have done (or latterly have helped other to) ever since. To me "design" and "engineering" are synonymous.

I suppose the problem is that this isn't the public perception. "Design" has that creative cachet that "engineering" doesn't. However I personally don't feel that encouraging the use of "design" as a thing by itself helps. If this started "We want to lead a discussion on the importance of design engineering in helping society..." I'd feel much more supportive. 

It does seem to be very much a UK (and perhaps US?) problem, mainland European countries and far eastern countries do seem in my experience to have a better idea that it's the engineer who creatively solves the problems? 

Rantette over!


3144 Posts
What does ‘Design is everything’ mean to you?

A certain shallowness certainly.. . Especially if ,as  I suspect/fear,  the authors idea of  design just  means the arty stuff involving whiteboards and CAD.
A full cycle involves prototypes, destruction tests, thermal profiling reliability profiling,  user trials,  re-spins and up-issues, and in the electrical/ electronics game, type approvals, COSH and a whole host of stuff often to be almost finalised before any copper hits the etch tank or cutters touch metal. 
Poor designs, and there are plenty, may fail because of being over price, unreliable, un-recyclable, and many other modes all engineering matters - arguably part of the 'design process'.

To the problem solving mind, the engineer if you will, such a discussion  is about has helpful as saying "don't forget to breathe"  because both constantly looking at the world through the lens of how things could be improved, and regular oxygenation,  are equally automatic to those of us in that group.
Did we just mean 'do a good job' ?

The phrase itself is like 'one death is too many' or 'think out of the box', just a catchphrase.
So, who is the target audience for this video ? (I suspect it's not me.) 
And what is the problem to which it is supposed to be a solution ? (I suspect it may not be.)
143 Posts
I have not watched the video as it takes too long to go through the Google opt out process to stop them tracking me. Designed, I presume, to make it difficult and time consuming so that users just accept they will be tracked and if you do not have a login for you tube the consent questions get asked nearly every time. Rant over.

As has been said above, to me design is the complete process. Everyday I have to use poorly designed products either because no thought has gone into proper functional design e.g. the remote control with more buttons than an Apollo command module, all labelled in tiny non contrasting writing . Or the design is artistically wonderful but almost unusable with so few buttons, unlabelled, that everything requires two or three button sequences to be remembered and it breaks the first time its dropped onto a carpet.

Don't get me started on computer software design and I won't be buying an autonomous car.

I think there needs to be a  change in mindset about the value of engineers, hardware and software, to the economy with engineers able to earn a good income instead of banking and consultancy being seen as the way to riches. Don't get me started on either of the above. Then engineering design with form and function going hand in hand will be seen as the goal. But what are the chances in our low cost high profit accountancy driven companies?

One of the reasons the Design & Production sector created the design hub was to highlight that design isn't just about making things look good. Likewise, we wanted to highlight that engineers are designers even if they don't actually realise they are (and to be fair, quite a few designers are engineers as well).

We'd welcome your input on how we can get these important messages across better to IET members and the wider public. Please continue to contribute your ideas and definitions here, on this page.

Good morning Andy,
I come from the automotive field, so it's easy for me to explain the issue to you simply through my views and it is:
Car design combines physics and aesthetics in order to create vehicles that are not only visually attractive but also safe, energy efficient and easy to care for. There is a lot of competition in the professional field of car design, as it is a magnet for millions of car enthusiasts with a creative inclination and offers enough space for the most talented and hardworking! If you too have a soft spot for the car and have always had the desire in your heart to design the car of your dreams and make it a tangible reality.


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