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An introduction to design engineering
An introduction to design engineering

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1 Design beginnings

As soon as you read the word ‘design’ you probably formed some idea of what you think it is. It is a word that can be used in many ways and can mean different things to different people. Even in a specialised discipline like design engineering there are many different definitions and types of design activity. To complicate things further, design can be a verb or a noun: you can ‘design a design’. So it is important to remove as much confusion and contradiction as possible when discussing anything containing the word ‘design’.

This course introduces design in a particular way based on both theory and practice. It will include discussion of design but you will also be expected to design – to actually try techniques and develop skills that are useful in the process of designing. This practical approach to learning and practice is also at the heart of design engineering.

This section starts by discussing a few characteristics of design that you may not have come across before.