Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Taxonomy of Industrial Design

At the Design4 Conference of the Northeast Region of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) held at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Dr. Mark Evans (left) presented a taxonomy of design that includes types of sketches, drawings, prototypes and models used in Industrial Design. Evans is from the Loughsborough Design School in England and the project was developed by researchers in the Design Practice Research Group. They developed the taxonomy to help designers communicate better with each other and with their clients.

Evans distributed copies of a small brochure (pictured) with definitions and examples of the many kinds of sketches used in Industrial Design, including idea sketch, study sketch, referential sketch, memory sketch, coded sketch, information sketch, sketch rendering, and prescriptive sketch. Sketches are done as part of concept design at the most visually creative stage to facilitate speed and spontaneity.

Examples of drawings include scenario, storyboard, layout rendering, presentation rendering, diagram, perspective drawing, general arrangement drawing, detail drawing and technical illustration. Drawings are part of design development and involve a process of selection and refinement to ensure that designs will meet project specifications.

Examples of models include sketch model, design development model, functional model, operational model, appearance model, assembly model, production model and service model. Models are part of embodiment design by selecting the most suitable designs to evaluate based on technical and commercial criteria.

Examples of prototypes include experimental prototype, alpha prototype, beta prototype, system prototype, final hardware prototype, off-tool component, appearance prototype and pre-production prototype. Prototypes are part of detail design that supports final testing before manufacturing and carries the design through the specification of details such as materials, dimensions and assembly.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Loughsborough Design School.

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