design, Design and Design Thinking


The three levels of design. Design is one of those words that can have different meanings and implications depending on how, when and where it is used.


On the level 1. design, with a lower case “d”.  Often more of a verb, doing design or designing. This may or may not get attached to a department, the design department where they design. This could also refer to labels such as He is “a designer” – describing someone’s primary role or function, just like he is an “engineer”. To add a further sub level in here there is often a few sub-descriptors

Industrial design(er)
2d design(er)
Graphic design(er)
3d design(er)
product design(er)


Level 2: Somewhere in between, it becomes Design. Design with a capital “D” As an object. And there is an importance attached to it. Is it the right Design? Will this Design work? will this Design sell? at this level, it relies on many other sub-attributes such as engineering, manufacturing, marketing etc


On the highest level – Level 3, people can say “Design” and mean design in the context of as a way of thinking. This is often more to do with a higher level or approach of design that relates to a particular process to get results. Design Thinking is not department limited and often successful design thinking involves multiple departments that come together.

Fast Company
“The methodology commonly referred to as design thinking is a proven and repeatable problem-solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve extraordinary results.”

“In its simplest form, design thinking is a process—applicable to all walks of life—of creating new and innovative ideas and solving problems. It is not limited to a specific industry or area of expertise.”

Ideo – David kelly Founder
“a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

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