Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course


3.3 Other models of design

Having now begun to make simple models of the design process, let us consider whether this is useful. Are such models helpful in working on and developing a new design? I will postulate that there are no practically useful, general theories of design and that the study of successful designers does not necessarily lead to practices that help us to produce designs ourselves. Rather, I take the view that design is strongly situated – what constitutes good design methodology in one context may not be universally true – and that general understanding is built on experience of different contexts. Specific understanding of how, say, your own company understands, manages and executes design is hard won and valuable.

This is not to say that there are no models at a high level of abstraction that inform our understanding of the design process. The models presented in the previous section had useful messages in forming a basic understanding of how designers work.

In the following pages we will examine some of the models proposed by a variety of experts. Then you will have the chance to decide what you think about them, and the possibility of a general and useful model of design.


Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371