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Design’ Definition and Methodologies Research Paper

Comparison of the Topical Coverage of the Book

Design is one of fields of engineering that have become relevant in the current society where there is an increasing need to merge technology and nature. Scholars have conducted a lot of research in the field of design to address different issues. However, there is yet to be a universal definition of design because people still continue viewing it from various angles. This can be attributed to the fact that different scholars take different approaches when covering the topic of design.

According to Dieter (49), although there has been an agreement among engineering designs about different issues about designs, some fundamental differences have created different approaches taken by these people when addressing the issue of designs. While some scholars believe that design is purely an aspect of engineering, others still believe that such other creative professionals such as artists would be classified as designers. In order to analyze some of the difference that exists among the scholars in this field, this study will analyze the topical coverage of some of the books authored by popular designers in the contemporary world.

In order to compare topical coverage of these books effectively, it will be necessary to analyze the topic coverage of each book to analyze the sequence of the chapters in each book in order to understand some of the fundamental differences that come out. It is important to note at this stage that the chapters show the design sequence proposed by these authors when coming up with a new product. Therefore, this means that the sequence of their chapters show the steps they recommend should be taken when coming up with a new product. The difference comes out clearly, as shown in the topical coverage.

The topical coverage of the book by Ullman (112) introduces the topic by analyzing why it is necessary to examine a design process. The researcher then focuses on the description of mechanical design processes and problems. The third chapter looks at the designer and the design teams while the fourth chapter looks at the design process. Ullman then looks at project planning and definitions, development of engineering specifications, concept generation, and then evaluation. After this, Ullman focuses on the phase of product’s design, product generation, and then the evaluation of the performance. In chapter 12 of this book, the focus is put on evaluating the cost of the products. The last chapter looks at the launch and the necessary support that should be given to the product.

The book by Dieter and Schmidt (56) starts by analyzing what the word engineering design means. The authors then proceed to product development process. In the third chapter, the authors look at the definition of the problem and identification of needs, while the fourth chapter they look at tools needed and the behavior of team members. The authors define the next step as gathering of information, while the six chapter looks at concept generation. Decision making process and selection of the concept is the next step according to the two authors. In chapter eight the authors focus at embodiment design while chapter nine explains the details of the design. Modeling and simulation, selection of materials, designs with materials, and designs for manufacturing comes in that sequence (Dieter and Schmidt 38).

In chapter 14, risk management, reliability study, and safety issues have been addressed. After this, there is a need to analyze the quality of the product, the robustness of the design, and its optimization, before looking at the cost evaluation. In chapter seventeen, the authors look at the ethical and legal issues about engineering designs. Lastly, the team focuses on the economic decision making processes as the last stage (Dieter and Schmidt 49).

The book authored by Pahl and Beitz (79) by analyzing who an engineering designer is, and some of his or her specific tasks. The book then looks at some of the primary issues of technical systems. In defining the processes that are involved in new product development, the authors start the stage of product planning and seeking of the solution to fundamental problems. Chapter 4 focuses on the process of product development while the fifth chapter looks at task clarification. Conceptual design, development of working structures, and development of the concept come next. The authors then look at embodiment of the design. Mechanical connections, development size, and modular products are the next steps that should be observed. In chapter ten, the scholar focuses on design quality, while the last step is the determination of costs of the design.

The design given in the book Dieter has insignificant difference with the book by Dieter and Schmidt. It would be redundant to reiterate its topical coverage. However, it is clear from the above books that there is a difference in the systematic approach followed by the authors in these three different books. Although it is easy to point a similarity in the pattern they propose, some structural difference also exists that is worth noting. For instance, the number of stages described in each of the books when developing a design of a product is different. It is possible to see cases where one book has more stages than the others. The approach that one book proposes may also be different from that which is described by the other.

Comparison of the Design Process Models Presented in the Books

It is clear from the above analysis that the design process models presented in the books have some fundamental differences. Some of these significant differences can be attributed to different definitions of design that different authors have embraced. It would be important to start by comparing some of the definitions of design that has been given by different authors. According to Dieter and Schmidt (98), “To design is to pull together something new or to arrange existing things in a new way to satisfy a recognized need of society.” It is important to note some of the important aspects of this definition. This scholar insists that a design involves developing something new.

This means that reproducing something that is already in existence may not be considered as a design unless it is rearranged to bring up something new. Another aspect in this definition is the emphasis on addressing a need in the society. Designs must be focused on addressing specific issues in the society that will bring satisfaction among a given population. This means that designing something new that has no clear purpose would not pass as a design, unless its purpose is made clear. Although this definition has been considered as effective, some scholars have argued that it is too general. Pahl, and Beitz (78) says, “Design establishes and defines solutions to and pertinent structures for problems not solved before, or new solutions to problems that have previously been solved in a different way.” This definition emphasizes on the relevance of designs in finding solutions to existing problems in a new way.

The four books that have been used have their unique design process models that describe the stages involved in developing a new product. All the models presented above share a common factor that a design must start by identification of the problem that the product will address. All of them are also in agreement that a design must involve a detailed planning. Another important similarity is that the final design must be cost effective before it can be commercialized. However, the fundamental differences that come in the design process involve the definition of various processes, and the number of stages that should be taken when coming up with a new design.

Table that compares and relates the design tools presented in the textbook against the steps in the design process models

It is important to appreciate the diversity of tools that are often used by the designers to generate different designs. According to Dieter and Schmidt (78), depending on the design that one wishes to develop, and his or her skills in specific designs, it is always likely that the tools used may differ. The four books used in this study proposed a variety of tools that can be used to perform several activities during the design process. The table below identifies some of the tools that have been described by these scholars.

Author (s) Tool Description
Dieter & Schmidt
  • Experimental tools
  • Computational tools
Tools that are yet to be tested
Tools needed in calculations
Dieter Computational tools Tools needed in calculations
Pahl & Beitz
  • Presentation tools
  • Web tools
Diagrams and graphs
Online design tools
  • Computational tools
Computer software that can be used to generate computer aided designs

Systematic Design Process

The books analyzed in this study have proposed different design processes that should be followed when developing a new product. Based on their report, the researcher proposes a design that seeks to harmonize all the four designs in the four books. The first stage in this new systematic design process should be the definition of the problem, and identification of need. After this, a team needs to be involved in finding a solution and identifying tools to be used. The team should then use the tools to gather relevant information and then generate concepts. The team should then analyze the proposed concepts and select the best concept based on a number of factors. The next process should be embodiment of the design, which should then be followed by detailing of the design. When this is done, the focus should be on simulation and modeling, which should be followed by material selection, and then developing of design to be used for manufacturing.

The next step should be the analysis of risks involved, determining the reliability of the concept, and safety issues. The next stage would be the analysis of the quality and robustness of the design. This would involve determining how well the design meets the need that was identified in the first stage of design development. The next step would be an analysis of the related costs, legal and ethical concerns of the design. If the design passes these stages, then it would be good enough to be commercialized.

Works Cited

Dieter, George and Linda Schmidt. Engineering Design, 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2013. Print.

Dieter, George. Engineering Design: A Materials and Processing Approach. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000. Print.

Pahl, Gerhard and Wolfgand Beitz. Engineering Design: A systematic Approach, 3rd ed. London: Springer-Verlag London Limited, 2007. Print.

Ullman, David. The Mechanical Design Process, 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.

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"Design' Definition and Methodologies." IvyPanda, 5 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/design-definition-and-methodologies/.

1. IvyPanda. "Design' Definition and Methodologies." June 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/design-definition-and-methodologies/.


IvyPanda. "Design' Definition and Methodologies." June 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/design-definition-and-methodologies/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Design' Definition and Methodologies." June 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/design-definition-and-methodologies/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Design' Definition and Methodologies'. 5 June.

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