<process> The approach that engineering (and some other) disciplines use to specify how to create or do something. A successful design must satisfies a (perhaps informal) functional specification (do what it was designed to do); conforms to the limitations of the target medium (it is possible to implement); meets implicit or explicit requirements on performance and resource usage (it is efficient enough).

A design may also have to satisfy restrictions on the design process itself, such as its length or cost, or the tools available for doing the design.

In the software life-cycle, design follows requirements analysis and is followed by implementation.

["Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications", 2nd ed., Grady Booch].

(01 Feb 1996)

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1. A preliminary sketch; an outline or pattern of the main features of something to be executed, as of a picture, a building, or a decoration; a delineation; a plan.

2. A plan or scheme formed in the mind of something to be done; preliminary conception; idea intended to be expressed in a visible form or carried into action; intention; purpose; often used in a bad sense for evil intention or purpose; scheme; plot. "The vast design and purpos of the King." (Tennyson) "The leaders of that assembly who withstood the designs of a besotted woman." (Hallam) "A . . . Settled design upon another man's life." (Locke) "How little he could guess the secret designs of the court!" (Macaulay)

3. Specifically, intention or purpose as revealed or inferred from the adaptation of means to an end; as, the argument from design.

4. The realization of an inventive or decorative plan; especially, a work of decorative art considered as a new creation; conception or plan shown in completed work; as, this carved panel is a fine design, or of a fine design.

5. The invention and conduct of the subject; the disposition of every part, and the general order of the whole. Arts of design, those into which the designing of artistic forms and figures enters as a principal part, as architecture, painting, engraving, sculpture. School of design, one in which are taught the invention and delineation of artistic or decorative figures, patterns, and the like.

Synonyms: Intention, purpose, scheme, project, plan, idea.

Design, Intention, Purpose. Design has reference to something definitely aimed at. Intention points to the feelings or desires with which a thing is sought. Purpose has reference to a settled choice or determination for its attainment. "I had no design to injure you," means it was no part of my aim or object. "I had no intention to injure you," means, I had no wish or desire of that kind. "My purpose was directly the reverse," makes the case still stronger. "Is he a prudent man . . . That lays designs only for a day, without any prospect to the remaining part of his life?" (Tillotson) "I wish others the same intention, and greater successes." (Sir W. Temple) "It is the purpose that makes strong the vow." (Shak)

Origin: Cf. Dessein, dessin.

(01 Mar 1998)

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