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Design is a creative process in which a thing (a material object, a structure, a process, a situation, a set of ideas, etc.) is changed through the work of the designer . H. is created, modified or developed and is thereby given or assumes a certain shape or appearance.

  1. Design in the broadest sense denotes a conscious intervention in the environment with the aim of changing it in a certain direction. In this broad sense, this includes not only the aesthetic design of what is directly perceptible (see below) but also the design of what can be felt indirectly, e.g. B. shaping life , shaping personality , politics as shaping social structures and processes, etc.
  2. Design in the narrower sense is the conscious, changing influence on the aesthetic appearance of things or contexts, i.e. on phenomena that are directly perceptible to the senses (such as spaces, objects, actions, movement, etc.). Examples are the areas of art and the different design areas as designing products , graphics , fashion , architecture , etc., or the individual body design or environmental design.

Meaning of the term

The term is of particular importance in the context of design. Here, design usually means the second meaning. There are different approaches to the appropriate form finding, depending on whether one approaches the topic functionally, formally or based on material and construction . (See functionalism , design , styling , decoration , etc.) Some universities explicitly name the relevant subject area “design” in order to avoid the colloquial narrowing association of design in the sense of styling, e. B. Schwäbisch Gmünd University of Design .

The term is used in both of the above. Meanings also used in the field of fine arts as well as applied and performing arts . In art, the design usually results from dealing with inner and outer reality, subjective and objective reality, etc. Art objects try to create, depict, express or alienate reality, they try to irritate, question or to intervene. Especially in art since the 1960s, the broader concept of design has been widespread as part of the expanded concept of art ( Joseph Beuys , Wolf Vostell , video art , action art , conceptual art ).

The object of the design process, creation, is also called design .

job profile

The associated professional profile is the designer , or in the field of architecture the architect the interior designer, with corresponding courses at universities or technical colleges. Usual course names in the field of design are e.g. B. industrial design , industrial design , product design or communication design (also: visual communication , graphic design , media design , older: commercial graphics).

Craftsmen who want to gain further professional qualifications in design can train themselves to become “designers in the craft” (e.g. at the Academy for Design in Aachen, Chemnitz, Dresden, Erfurt, Halle ad Saale, Hanover, Kassel, Koblenz, Leipzig, Lüneburg, Munich, Münster, Stuttgart, Ulm).

There is also the option of further training to become a state-certified designer (with a focus on, for example, product design) at a technical school or specialist academy . This can be done after vocational training plus one to two years of professional experience in the respective training occupation. The training takes 2 years full-time or 3–4 years part-time.

Creation and education

Educational situations can be designed. The educator designs - more or less optimally, which will have an impact on the educational process and the socialization of the child. The appropriate design requires a minimum of competence . In unsuccessful parenting situations (abuse, inappropriate punishment) one speaks less of design.

But also the individual to be brought up (the child, the young person) participates in the design - depending on the type of activity, motivation and other individual requirements. But design is the responsibility of the educator, because the result of the educational situations that he creates has long-term consequences for the child / young person.

See also

Portal: Design  - Overview of Wikipedia content on design


  • Andreas Dorschel : Design and Ethics. In: conceptus XXVIII (1995), No. 72, pp. 63-81.
  • Andreas Dorschel: Design - On the aesthetics of the useful. 2nd edition. Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2003, ISBN 3-8253-1483-9 .
  • Norbert Kühne , Peter Hoffmann : Understanding reality and reinventing it - promoting aesthetic awareness and design. In: Praxisbuch Sozialpädagogik. Vol. 3; Bildungsverlag EINS , Troisdorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-427-75411-4 , pp. 93-119.
  • Michael Schulze: Concept and definition of the work. The plastic design in architecture education. 1st edition vdf Hochschulverlag AG at the ETH Zurich, Zurich 2013, ISBN 978-3-7281-3481-3 .

Web links

Wiktionary: design  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations