Thinking, noun

  1. The process of considering or reasoning about something.

Making, noun

  1. The process of making or producing something.

cf. Thinking with your hands

Hand, noun

  1. The end part of a person’s arm beyond the wrist, including the palm, fingers, and thumb.
  2. A person’s workmanship, especially in artistic work.


  1. Involving or offering active participation rather than theory.

At Design Academy Eindhoven thinking includes collecting, documenting, mapping, analysing, reflecting, translating, synthesising, and concluding. Thinking is not only expressed through text, but also through everything we make. Making includes crafting objects, organising activities, telling stories, and designing systems and experiences. All of these can be vessels of knowledge expressed in ways other than through words alone.

Thinking-through-making is a process in which making and thinking alternate back and forth all the time, in rapid iterations. The making or designing could be taking place intuitively. Reflecting on what has been made helps create knowledge and insights. Creation and reflection go hand in hand – the relationship between the making and the thinking opens up an opportunity to also express knowledge through what is made.

Thinking-through-making is connected to concepts such as thinking with your hands, learning through doing, and trial and error. Designer Hella Jongerius has described the process of thinking with your hands as “ping-ponging between your hands and your mind” and sees that by combining thinking and making, new types of logic and new solutions present themselves. At Design Academy Eindhoven, this way of working is taught in skills training courses, and it is put into practice in various fields of design.


  • Design Academy Eindhoven (2014). Zelfreflectie Kwaliteitszorg Onderzoek en Lectoraten, ten behoeve van de validatie door de Validatiecommissie Kwaliteitszorg Onderzoek. Eindhoven: Design Academy Eindhoven.
  • Pallasmaa, J. (2009). The thinking hand: existential and embodied wisdom in architecture. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  • Schön, D. A. (1984). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Sennett, R. (2008). The Craftsman, New Haven: Yale University Press.