1. A sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information.
    1. A doubt about the truth or validity of something.
    2. The raising of a doubt about or objection to something.
  2. A matter requiring resolution or discussion.


  1. Ask (someone) questions, especially in an official context.
    1. Feel or express doubt about; raise objections to.

At Design Academy Eindhoven every project commences with questioning. The education is organised around given or self-formulated assignments (questions). An assignment is a construct of varying levels of complexity, which contains a myriad of contextual, material, social, cultural, political and economical assumptions.

The design process begins by questioning the assignment (questioning the question), by picking it up, looking at it from different angles, understanding its context and grasping the underlying assumptions and issues. By uncovering specific questions in the assignment, the student formulates and develops specific interests and approaches, and takes ownership of the question. In self-formulated assignments the specific interest is already present in the formulated question and can be further tackled in the research or thinking-through-making process. Depending on the features of a specific self-formulated angle on the assignment, methods and answers can vary in scale and scope. The relationship that the designer has to this questioning at every stage of the design process is an important part of his or her professional identity.

When viewed in the context of so-called ‘critical design’, questioning plays a role in challenging assumptions and conceptions about particular issues, such as material practices and moral values. In this approach to design, commentary on these issues is embedded in both the design itself, as well as in the process of designing. Typically, such a provocative, ‘critical design’ artefact is designed to critique social, cultural, economic and ecological controversies and as such offers a tool to engage in debate.

DAE examples

  • Seton Beggs, A Schizophrenic Design Conversation, Graduation project Man and Leisure, 2006


  • Dunne, A. (1999). Hertzian tales: electronic products, aesthetic experience and critical design. London: Royal College of Art.