The content and nature of a design concept

Claus Thorp Hansen, Mogens Myrup Andreasen, Per Boelskifte (Editor), J.B. Sigurjonsson (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


According to the design methodology literature "conceptual design" and "concepts" increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the early phases of a product development project, because conceptual thinking allows the engineering designer to identify or synthesise new unique solutions and allows him to focus his attention on the relatively few characteristics concerning the product´s functionality, and thereby makes it easier for the engineering designer to create several solution alternatives. In this paper we argue the following: 1. A conceptual design, i.e. the concept for a new product, may be seen from two sides, a need/market-oriented and a design/realisation-oriented. The need/market-oriented side explains the conceptual new way the design solves its task. The design/realisation side explains how the concept creates the necessary functionality and structural realisation for doing so. 2. What is seen as conceptual depends upon what is already created in the actual area concerning solving the task or concerning the principles or design of the artefact. So the conceptual new aspect could very well be e.g. man/machine interaction, form features, or choice of material. A consequence of this thinking pattern is, that it is a too limited approach to see the conceptual phase as only the search for new principal solutions. The two sides of a concept should be understood as a totality and solved in an integrated totality, which we in this paper label as "the idea with" and "the idea in" the design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings NordDesign 2002
Place of PublicationNorwegian University of Science and Technology
PublisherDepartment of Machine Design and Materials Technology & Department of Product Design Engineering
Publication date2002
Publication statusPublished - 2002
EventNordDesign 2002 - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 14 Aug 200216 Aug 2002


ConferenceNordDesign 2002

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