1. A conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or film.
    1. A discussion between two or more people or groups, in particular one directed towards exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem.


  1. Participate in a conversation or discussion with the aim of resolving a problem.

A dialogue is an exchange of ideas and values, involving speaking and listening. At Design Academy Eindhoven dialogue is an essential part of our practice – not only in relation to design, but also as an important part of the academy’s educational philosophy. During the foundation year, students are already invited to engage in meaningful conversations and real exchanges with people in the street in order to glean a better understanding of what motivates people. Furthermore, by means of constructive dialogues in class, students explore ideas with one another and with the tutors. The collective knowledge evolving from the framework of this dialogue aids each of the participants in gaining a deeper understanding of the amassed ideas and information. Lastly, within the lecture programs at DAE we aim to generate (pro)active dialogue and exchange on a broad range of topics such as ethics and aesthetics, technique and technology, crafts and concepts, activism and anthropology.

As well as working through dialogue to deepen the understanding of design processes, dialoguing is also a process which helps designers to connect and relate to the people they are designing for. By means of active exchanges in the form of dialogues with people, designers can explore what motivates people to use specific tools, products, services or systems, as well as any potential thresholds or frustrations which may block them from using them.

In Building Empathy Through Dialogue, Strickfaden, Heylighen & DeVlieger state that if designers truly want to nurture empathy with potential users, they need to build a significant and ongoing dialogue with them. The authors mention three important aspects of using dialogues as a design strategy: involving people as experts, making meaningful connections, and preserving different identities. Dialogue allows people to become an integral part of the design process as users or experts. Instead of remaining at the periphery, they become involved in the design process at a very early stage. Furthermore, when participating in dialogue, connections are made by encouraging people to work collaboratively towards a common goal. Finally, dialogue involving a willingness to be open to, and to respect, differing viewpoints, enables the safeguarding of different identities.

DAE examples

  • Pablo Calderón Salazar, The Other Market, Graduation project Master Social Design, 2013

  • Henrique Nascimento, Guidelines For The Human Factor, Graduation project Master Social Design, 2016


  • Strickfaden, M., Heylighen, A. & DeVlieger, P. (2013). Building empathy through dialogue. Leuven: Koninklijke Universiteit.