1. A piece of written, printed, or electronic matter that provides information or evidence or that serves as an official record.


  1. Record (something) in written, photographic, or other form.
  2. Support or accompany with documentation.

Within the educational curriculum of Design Academy Eindhoven, documenting is a crucial facet of reporting on the (design) process as well as a way of providing insight into design research findings. Documenting can also be a way to capture moments or processes in time, in order to preserve or archive them. Furthermore, documenting facilitates the process of reflection, since it reveals the layered character of a learning process – including the iterations, the divergence and convergence within the process of a research project, and the inevitable ‘killing of darlings’.

Stephen Scrivener emphasises that in every design research project, systematic documentation and reflection-in-action play a crucial role, as they substantiate the practitioner’s reflections and bring greater objectivity or critical subjectivity to the whole project. According to Scrivener, documentation can assist in capturing the experiential knowledge that comes from the creative process, so that what the practitioner learns within his/her practice becomes explicit, accessible and communicable.

In this sense, designing, researching and documenting go together hand in hand as each step of the process is documented. This documentation can be done in a variety of ways, for example visually or textually. In her research on documentation, Jessica Schoffelen argues that, currently, design is predominantly documented and shared in a materialistic way, e.g. via the sharing of source codes or digital blueprints, and by sharing functionalities of a design and instructions for its development. Schoffelen explores how to document and share a design in a more generative way, sharing the different interpretations and varying perspectives which different people can have concerning the design. In order to achieve this, she has developed a documentation kit to map these meanings and perspectives, as well as an online platform to share the documentation of design projects with a broader audience.

DAE examples

  • Kim Constantino, Future Landscapes, Graduation project Master Information Design, 2014

  • Tamar Shafir, Designing inquiry, Graduation project Master Contextual Design, 2012


  • Scrivener, S. (2000). Towards the Operationalisation of Design Research as Reflection in and on Action and Practice. In Durling, D. & Friedman, K. (Eds.). Foundations for the future. Doctoral education in design: Proceedings of the Conference, La Clusaz, France, 8–12 July (pp. 387–394). Staffordshire: Staffordshire University press.
  • Scrivener, S. (2002). Characterising Creative-production Doctoral Projects in Art and Design. International Journal of Design Sciences and Technology, 10(2), 25–44.