1. Feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.


  1. Feel uncertain about.
    1. Question the truth or fact of (something).
    2. Disbelieve or lack faith in (someone).

Doubt is a recurring phenomenon within the design process at Design Academy Eindhoven. It tends to occur at the point when decisions need to be made in the process. To the world beyond design, doubt is mostly associated with something negative because it is connected to uncertainty, but with design research, the connotation can be positive too, because doubt often functions as a useful tool.

Doubt can broaden the designer’s scope as part of the iterative process. Doubt helps to keep the process open-ended and without it there is less inclination to change or research further. Doubting can be useful in various stages of the practice as it can be the motivation to investigate or to question a topic. Intuition and doubt are related – both are tools that can guide the designer in a process with an unknown outcome. It is also possible that a designer strives to create doubt amongst the audience, as an intended part of their design – in order that the audience starts questioning their beliefs or convictions.

The combination of doubt and uncertainty can cause stagnation within the design process – in that case, doubting can form a blockade and the process stops for a while. However the antitheses of doubt – certainty, conviction, sureness, confidence – are not necessarily productive notions in the design process.

DAE exapmples

  • Alessia Cadamuro, What Remains?, Research Associate in Readership Strategic Creativity, 2014


  • Pelkmans, M.E. (2013) Ethnographies of Doubt: Faith and Uncertainty in Contemporary Societies. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co ltd.

  • Verberne, R. (2015) Eenenveertig brieven van de jonge kunstenaar. 's Hertogenbosch, Uitgeverij Pels & Kemper.

  • Van der Velde, M. (2015) 41 Twijfels van de jonge kunstenaar. Mr. Motley, December 2015. Retrieved from: