Design and Science_Cross


  • 1920’s search for scientific design products: Van Doesburg attested that modernity was hostile to subjective speculation
  • 1960’s concern for a scientific design process: the 1962 conference on design methods in London marked the launch of design methodology as a field of inquiry (…) the movement sought to base the design process on objectivity and rationality (…) Fuller called for a design science revolution, Simon plead for a science of design
  • The new ‘Design Methods Movement’ developed through a series of conferences in the 1960s and 70s. The first design methods or methodology books also appeared in this period – Hall (1962), Asimow (1962), Alexander (1964), Archer (1965), Jones (1970), Broadbent (1973) – and the first creativity books – Gordon (1961), Osborn (1963).
  • 1970’s marked a backlash against design methodology (…) Alexander and Jones renounced the machine language, the attempt to ‘fix’ the world in a logical framework (…) there had also been a lack of success in the application of design methods to everyday design practice (…) design and planning problems were characterized as ‘wicked’ instead of ‘tame’.
  • 1973, Rittel saved Design Methodology by his proposal of Generations of Methods. He suggested that what had been developed in the 60’s was only the first generation of methods (systematic, rational) and that a second one was beginning to emerge (recognition of appropriate solution types and an argumentative participatory process in which designers are partners with the problem-owners -clients-).
  • 1980’s-1990’s emergence of new journals and books of design research, theory and methodology [Hubka (1982), Pahl and Beitz (1984), French (1985), Cross
    (1989), Pugh (1991)] (…) and through a series of international conferences- aka ICED, ASME and VDI (…) 1980’s Design:Science: Method Conference signaled the time to move beyond the simplistic comparisons and distinctions between design and science (…) the epistemology of design had little to gain for the disarray of the epistemology of science (…) AI developments
  • 2000’s signals perhaps the reemergence of design science concerns

  • Scientific Design: it refers to modern industrialized design (…) it was based on the assumption that that modern industrial design had become too complex for intuitive methods (…) through the reliance of modern design upon scientific knowledge, design made science visible utilizing a mix of bioth intuitive andnon-intuitive design methods
  • Design Science: term coined by B. Fuller or Gregory in 1965 (…) recognize laws of design, develop rules (…) logically connected knowledge in the area of design (…) DS to address the problem of determining and categorizing all regular phenomena (…) DS derives from the applied knowledge of the natural sciences appropriate information (…) an explicitly organized, rational and wholly systematic approach to design
  • Science of Design: study of designing may be a scientific activity (Grant) (…) a federation of subdisciplines having design as the subject of their cognitive interests (Gasparski and Strzalecki) (…) it is the study of design; its principles, practices and procedures (…) it is the body of work that attempts to improve our understanding of design through scientific methods of interpretation.
  • Design as a Discipline: an epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners bring to situations of uncertainty, instability and value conflict (Schon) (…) study of design as an interdisciplinary study accessible to all those involved in the creative activity of making the artificial world (simon) (…) design studied on its own terms, within its own rigorous culture



Nigel Cross, 2001. Designerly ways of knowing: design discipline versus design science. In Design Issues 17(3), pp.49-55

Nigel Cross, 1993. A history of Design Methodology. In Design Methodology and Relationships with Science, pp. 15-27, Kluwer Academic Publishers

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