A-Z Popular Blog Design Theory Search »
Design Theory

4 Meanings of Design

Design is a plan to create something. This comes from the Latin designare meaning "to mark out" or "designate." Design is the basic process whereby humanity creates the future by progressing from imagination to plan. The following are the common meanings of design.
Design thinking - to solve everyday problems by creating things such as a process, procedure, standard or principle.
Experience design - designing things that people use or experience such as a mobile app.
Structural design - planning the architecture of physical things such as buildings or intangible things such as software.
Visual design - to create visual artifacts and compositions for products, services and environments.


It is common to assume that design is visual. Design applies to anything created by people including engineering, software, fashion, architecture, interiors, environments, landscapes, research, experiments, processes, procedures, standards, communications, media and games. These may or may not include a visual element but are seldom completely visual.
It is common to assume that you need to be a designer to design. In fact, everyone is a designer and most people will design many things in a year. As such, it is in everyone's interests to learn about design approaches such as design principles. Design education could be a basic subject in school and probably will be at some point in the future when education systems catch up to the realities of post-industrial life and work.
Overview: Design Meaning
Definition (1)
A plan to create something.
Definition (2)
The portion of value creation between imagination and plan.
From the Latin designare meaning "to mark out" or "designate."
Related Concepts

Design Theory

This is the complete list of articles we have written about design theory.
Design Definition
Design Meaning
Design Theory
New Complexity
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Design Theory

A list of design theories that are potentially useful.

Design Examples

The common types of design.

Design Composition

An overview of design composition with examples.

Design Styles

A list of the foundational design styles.

Is Complexity Good

An overview of complexity and its pros and cons.

Words To Describe Design Style

A vocabulary for describing design style.


An overview of variety in design.

Design Thinking

A list of design thinking techniques with examples.


The definition of context with examples.

Function Definition

A few definitions of function.

Fluid Intelligence

An overview of fluid intelligence with examples.


A general, reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem.

Cognitive Strengths

An overview of cognitive strengths with examples.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map