At DAE design research happens in all departments, both bachelor and masters, as well as in the research program of the readerships Strategic Creativity and Places & Traces. Our academy boasts a variety of design research practices: different departments focus on various subjects, each using their specific methods. Manifestations of design research include objects, services, events, spaces, drawings, films, texts, maps, styles, identities, scenarios and more. We can safely say that there is a rich repertoire of design research approaches at DAE. However, until now we have not developed a common language to explicitly discuss this repertoire and share knowledge and expertise in the field of design research at DAE.

So, how would we describe our design research approach? To answer this question we have tried to map our design research practice, to use a method that most of us are familiar with. Firstly, by conversing with heads of departments, teachers, students, research associates and the executive board, and by looking for inspiring examples and documenting and interpreting these, we have tried to take stock of the multitude of existing approaches at DAE. Secondly, we have tried to discover, or develop, a shared vocabulary with which to describe and understand what we have in common.

So far, this has resulted in what we call a design research lexicon. It contains a variety of concepts that together characterize our practice. For instance, we all seem to emphasize the relevance of so-called ‘thinking through making’. At DAE we do not just think, nor do we just make, but we engage in thinking through making, a design research approach in which the material and the discursive are interrelated, alternating in quick iterations. The lexicon describes concepts such as these, and also gives visual examples of design research projects from bachelor and master students and the readerships’ research associates.

We have also written a short manifesto that, we think, expresses our design research approach. We have tried to keep it as short as possible and we hope that it will be a source of inspiration.

Neither the lexicon nor the manifesto is a finished, static manifestation of our understanding of DAE’s design research practice. To the contrary, we consider it an invitation to engage in a dialogue. We invite all colleagues and students to join us in a lively, ongoing conversation about design research at DAE. Please, reflect on the manifesto and the lexicon, share your thoughts with us, propose new concepts and provide new examples. Together, we think, we can help flourish what is already blossoming.


  • Translation: Jimini Hignett
  • Design: Studio Joost Grootens / Joost Grootens, Silke Koeck
  • Programming: Systemantics, Bureau for informatics

Lexicon of Design Research by Design Academy Eindhoven is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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