1. Bring or gather together (a number of things).
    1. Come together and form a group.
    2. Systematically seek and acquire (items of a particular kind).
    3. Accumulate over a period of time.

cf. Glean, verb

  1. Obtain (information) from various sources, often with difficulty.
    1. Collect gradually.
  2. historical Gather (leftover grain) after a harvest.

At Design Academy Eindhoven, collecting or gleaning are often used as research tools in the design process – collecting and ordering samples of material, information, references, stories and data, for instance. Collecting can be a very specific activity that serves a particular (often short-term) goal, but it can also be a tool to provide information or inspiration over a longer period of time, without a specified objective.

In design research, visual, tangible and scientific data collections can all be the object of investigation, and they may become manifest in the design. The organising and ordering of the data collected, can be interpreted within a prescribed or self-determined framework and acquire meaning. Collecting requires rigour, persistence and endurance. There is a strong relationship between the collector, the act of collecting and the collection itself. There may be an underlying desire to control, frame and objectify but, by nature, a collection will always reflect the collector, and is thus a great tool for expression.

The term gleaning has connotations relating to harvesting, food and the farmer. In the practice of gleaning, the action of gathering is limited to that which remains once all that is deemed worthwhile has been accumulated, and each gleaned item is not analysed before being added to the collection. Gathering in this case, is done routinely and, unlike other forms of collecting, it is not reflected upon.

DAE examples

  • François Duquesnoy, Collectables: one place, one week, one interior, Graduation project Man and Leisure, 2014
  • Joram Raaijmakers, The architecture of control, Graduation project Man and Public Space, 2014


  • De Leeuw, J. (Director). (2012). Overal spullen. [Documentary film].
  • Diderot, D., & d'Alembert, J. le R. (1751–1772) Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers.
  • Pamuk, O. (2009). The museum of innocence. New York: Random House Inc..
  • Pamuk, O. (2012). The innocence of objects. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
  • Varda, A. (Director). (2000). Les glaneurs et la glaneuse. [Documentary film].