1. A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made.
    1. A decorative pattern.
    2. Purpose or planning that exists behind an action, fact, or object.
  2. (Artistic) industrial design.
    1. The style, the shape of a product.
    2. Fashionably styled.


  1. Decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), by making a detailed drawing of it.
    1. Do or plan (something) with a specific purpose in mind.

The word design is used as both a verb and a noun: ‘to design’ and ‘a design’. At Design Academy Eindhoven design entails much more than only (making, shaping or styling) a product. Usually, the word product refers to a user or consumer product, e.g. an electrical device or a piece of furniture. At Design Academy Eindhoven a design can be any work created by a designer: a strategy, a system, a book, an installation, a film,a story, furniture, clothing, a fabric, a machine, and more.

The connotation of the word design has evolved over the last twenty years. Whereas it at first related to plans and sketches, as in the Oxford Dictionary definition, the Dutch Van Dale dictionary definition comes closer to a contemporary understanding. This contemporary meaning of the word design is illustrated in expressions such as ‘designer clothes’ or ‘designer food’ – implying that the products were made by a famous and prestigious fashion designer. The fashionable and trendy aspect of a design gives it an aura of uniqueness, quality, extravagance and exclusiveness, and contributes to the branding and selling of it. Design can also refer to qualities such as high-tech, progressive and new and in this particular sense, it is used more frequently by consumers and producers than by designers themselves.

At Design Academy Eindhoven design is understood as being part of a variety of practices in which not only the above-mentioned aesthetic and economic aspects are considered important to the design profession, but also the social, cultural and the ecological facets. Design, we argue, includes reflection on design – it poses questions, repositioning and reframing design itself. In the field of design research, design skills are used to discover how/why things are, to question conventional wisdom, critique established practices, and explore opportunities for change.