Design theory: history, state of the art and advancements

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EDITORIALDesign theory: history, state of the art and advancementsPascal Le Masson Kees Dorst Eswaran SubrahmanianPublished online: 21 March 2013 Springer-Verlag London 2013Over the last few years there have been important efforts toimprove the rigor, unity and operationality of Design the-ories. This work builds on the multiple (but scattered)theoretical proposals in recent decades: General DesignTheory and Axiomatic Design in the 80s, Coupled DesignProcess in the 90s, Infused Design and CK Theory in the2000s. These theories echoed issues in practices (e.g., newdesign tools, innovative design) and the advancements ofother sciences (e.g., artificial intelligence, set theory, engi-neering sciences). They contributed to ground a researchcommunity that has been reinvigorated by several initia-tives.1 Parallel to this effort, design theory is being debatedin other disciplines such as information systems, manage-ment studies and industrial design following the flourishingof design thinking in these areas. This special issue waslaunched to gain better understanding of the early efforts indesign theory, as well as showcasing promising contem-porary research in design theory.A public call for papers (CFP) was published thatattracted 19 submissions ranging from various aspects ofdesign methods to values in engineering design includingthose addressed design theory directly. After an extensivereview process we choose those papers that addresseddirectly Design theory as their primary object of inquiry.Submissions were handled by the guest editors and sub-missions whose authors were guest editors were handleddirectly by the journal Editor-in-Chief. Recommendationsof the guest editors passed through the Editor-in-Chief tomake sure that the stringent standards of the journal areenforced on the special issue. Six papers have beenaccepted following this review process.Of course such an issue cannot be exhaustiveit should beseen as a first attempt, to be followed and augmented by otherpublications. Nevertheless, the critical ambition of this issue isto better identify the object of design theory and to begin toovercome shortcomings of their current conceptions.1 Design theory: a demanding research fieldDesign theory is a very demanding research field. Design isan incredibly complex and sophisticated human activity thatgoes beyond animal design [see Orang Utan Nest Build-ing;(van Casteren et al. 2012)] and unselfconsciousdesign (Alexander 1964). Self conscious design containsmany well-known activities such as decision making,optimization, modeling, knowledge production, prototyp-ing, ideation, or evaluation. However, it cannot be reducedto any one of them or all of these activities (e.g., decisionsare made in design, but design is more than decision mak-ing). Thus, design theory is not about modeling everythingP. Le Masson (&)MINES ParisTech, 60 Boulevard Saint Michel,75006 Paris, Francee-mail: pascal.le_masson@mines-paristech.frK. DorstUniversity of Technology, Sydney,PO Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, AustraliaK. DorstEindhoven University of Technology,PO Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The NetherlandsE. SubrahmanianCarnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave,Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USAe-mail: sub@cmu.edu1 See in particular the special interest group on design theory,launched in 2008 on the suggestion of the Management Board of theDesign Society.123Res Eng Design (2013) 24:97103DOI 10.1007/s00163-013-0154-4that one can find in a design practice, its goal is to preciselyaddress issues that are beyond the scope of the classicalmodels that accompany its constituent activities (decisionmaking, prescriptive models, hypothetic-deductive modeland others). The questions this goal raises are of course:What, then, are the core phenomena of Design? Is Designdriven by novelty, continuous improvement, creativity, orimagination?Design theorists realized that we cannot expect to answerthese questions with ordinary language, and that this inves-tigation will thus require high level formal languages andmodels. This is an ongoing quest: many issues remain in theelaboration of these fledgling models, and their validity andveracity are under critical scrutiny. In February 2013, at the6th Paris Workshop of the Design Theory SIG of the DesignSociety, Armand Hatchuel and Yoram Reich made a syn-thesis of 5 years of works of the SIG and mentioned four maindifficulties for research on Design Theory:1. no self evident unity of the design theory field,2. multiple paradigm shifts that threaten the specificity ofdesign,3. the fragmentation of the design professions and,4. the limits of empirical research.The lead questions in this editorial are: how did the paperspresented in this special issue deal with these difficulties?And how do they open new paths for research in designtheory? We first elaborate and detail these four challengesbefore formulating our perspective on the papers.1.1 No self-evident unity of the design theory fieldThere are already many models for design theories. Fordesign theories might be as old as (self conscious) designitself. As early as 20 BC, in his De Architectura Vitruviusproposed an abstract definition of architecture that helpedthe architects to deal with the variety of knowledge and gobeyond the specificity of each buildingarchitecturedepends on Order, Arrangement, Eurhythmy, Symmetry,Propriety, and Economy (book 1, Chap. 2). Following therapid development of Mechanical engineering in thenineteenth century, the recognition of Design theories ascrucial tools led to help teach machine design and toorganize design work in industry. Then, as the scope ofengineering sciences increased very rapidly, each engi-neering revolution (e.g., chemical, electrical, electronics, orsoftware) was accompanied by the development of its ownappropriate design tools and theories. It is primarily afterWW2 that the idea of a Design theory that would becommon to architecture and engineering disciplinesemerged. Following the Vitruvius approach, one of theearliest drive at systematizing design was undertaken in thefirst conference on Systematic Design Methods in 1960s asin the method of analysis, synthesis and evaluation (ASE)(Jones and Thornley 1963). These efforts were furtherelaborated as theory of technical systems (Hubka and Eder1988) and its more recent advances, FBS (Gero 1990;Dorst and Vermaas 2005), General Design Theory(Yoshikawa 1981; Reich 1995), Axiomatic Design (Suh1990), Coupled Design Process (Braha and Reich 2003),Infused Design (Shai and Reich 2004) or CK theory(Hatchuel and Weil 2009). But if one looks beyond thesimilarities in these domain-independent theories, are theycomplementary or perhaps contradictory? Do they sharecommon roots? To what extent are the theories limited bythe (implicit) goals that motivated their creation? Are theyreasonably comprehensive in their approach to design?These questions remain open and critical.1.2 Multiple paradigm shifts that threat the specificityof designMoreover, the efforts towards unity of the field are con-tinuously shaken by changing paradigms in the analysis ofdesign. In the 1960s1970s, the temptation was to assim-ilate design to decision science, cybernetics and informa-tion theoryone major attempt was made by Simon. Thisresulted in his sciences of the artificial that was rooted inthe concept of a general problem solver (Simon 1969).During the 70s80s there was a move towards creating auniversal design method that was akin to the scientificmethod (Cross 1984). Overlapping with this move, in1980s1990s Artificial Intelligence (more generally com-putational models of design), Computer Aided Designsystems and Systems theory were meant to be the core ofdesign theory.2 In 1990s2000s situated cognition, com-munication and agent-based systems were the new poten-tial roots for design theory; and today advances inneuroscience threaten to overwhelm design theory. Thestrength and health of the design theory appears in thecapacity of researchers to show how design theory canlearn from all these approaches, proposing integratedmodels that go beyond these paradigms and offer a rigor-ous, meaningful and autonomous corpus that fits the natureof design. For instance it was underlined and demonstratedthat design was more than decision making, even if abounded rational choice (Hatchuel 2002; Dorst 2006),and this critic led to propose that design was rather anexpandable rationality (Hatchuel 2002). The papers ofthis special issue show that this autonomous, rigorouscorpus has grown over time and is now forming a basis todialog with other disciplinesmathematics, logics, engi-neering sciences and cognition.2 For comprehensive map of design methods and theories as of 1992see (Konda et al. 1992).98 Res Eng Design (2013) 24:971031231.3 The fragmentation of design professionsSurprisingly, design professionals are not the ones leadingthe effort to create a disciplinary foundation. In spite forefforts of by design research societies3 to bring themtogether through a joint conference, efforts in design theoryare still fragmented. The contrasted figures of architects,engineers and industrial designers use different journals,rely on different epistemologies, and connect to differentdisciplines. This presents a huge challenge for designtheory: how to overcome the professional traditions touncover the universality of design.Beyond the scientific issue, this is also an importantsocial and political issue: showing the universality ofdesign leads also to reveal its presence today in all aspectsof social, organizational and political life, where decisionmaking more and more appears secondary and determinedby the critical issue of generating the set of alternatives andorganizing the investigations to expand it.1.4 The limits of empirical researchFinally, design theory has to overcome a fourth obstacle thatfocuses on empirical research and its contribution to designtheory. Empirical research is necessary for design theory.For example to test hypotheses or to suggest new phe-nomena to be modeled. There has always been strongrelationships between empirical and theoretical approachesin design theorywith complex interdependences, as sug-gested by the models of design processes of (Finger andDixon 1989) or by the historical analysis of pendulummovements between art and science in design methods(Heymann 2005). More recently, many empirical approa-ches have been used in the community (in the US and inEurope). As shown in (Heymann 2005) or (Ehrlenspiel1995), they led to enriching the phenomenology of collec-tive design. A sample of the range and focus of empiricalstudies in design from studying the design process to sup-porting design process across can be seen in (Subrahmanianet al. 2004). But on the whole these studies do not addressthe problem of a formal theoretical unity. One of the chal-lenges of design theory today consists in providing formalframeworks that lead to testable hypothesis, and to build therelevant instruments (protocols, observation techniques,tasks analysis and others) to empirically analyze designpractices at this fundamental level. Research in designtheory should be anchored in an interplay between formalmodels and empirical studies.2 Consolidating research on design theoryIn a nutshell, these are the four challenges to be overcomeby the papers in this special issue: How did the paperstravel this complex territory?2.1 Relating design theories to each otherMany of the papers of the special issue study multipledesign theories and compare them (e.g., Parameter Anal-ysis and systematic design in Kroll, CK theory and forc-ing in Hatchuel et al., CK theory and Infused Design inShai et al., CK and systematic Design in Le Masson andWeil). These comparisons can be fruitful:(a) they reveal hidden aspects and critical issues fordesign theory: the logic of holes in knowledge asdeparture point for design (Shai et al.), the logic ofunknown to be differentiated from the logic of theknown (Le Masson and Weil), and more generally,the elements of an ontology of design (Hatchuelet al.).(b) these comparisons underline the interest of powerfulformal design theories to analyze specific modelsand methods, helping to characterize their efficiencyand limits. For instance, Le Masson and Weilspaper underlines that systematic design is relevantfor rule-based design situations, Shai et al. illustratethe potential of infused design when knowledge ishighly structured and connected, Kroll shows thatParameter Analysis has a strong value when design-ers want to renew design rules. These results pavethe way to a contingent approach in design theory,to an understanding of the ecology of theories andmethods.2.2 Overcoming paradigms that shade the specificityof designConstructivism in design (Kazakci), engineering scienceand design (Le Masson and Weil), creativity and scientificdiscovery (Kroll), ideation (Taura and Nagai), combina-torics (Hatchuel et al., Kroll) are discussed in this specialissue.(a) The discussion of these paradigms brings out thespecificity of design. In Kroll, Le Masson and Weil,and Shai et al. we understand that design is more thanengineering science. Taura and Nagai and Shai et al.demonstrate that design is more than ideation andcreativity. We glean from Kazakci, design as morethan constructivism and in Taura and Nagai, Hatchuel3 The conference held every year by International Association ofDesign Research Societies (IASDR) is an attempt to bring theseefforts together including the Design society.Res Eng Design (2013) 24:97103 99123et al. and Le Masson and Weil that it is more thancombinatorics.(b) Moreover it helps to enrich the paradigms themselves:Kazakci proposes an extended view of constructivism,imaginative constructivism, Taura and Nagai a conceptgeneration process relying on dissimilarity recogni-tion, Kroll, Shai et al., Le Masson and Weil andHatchuel et al. focus on understanding how the dynam-ics of engineering sciences is based on design reasoning.2.3 Bridging the gap between professionsThe papers in the special issues dialog with multiple disci-plines: with intuitionist mathematics (Kazakci), with settheory (Hatchuel et al.), with orders in science (Shai et al.),with engineering science (Le Masson and Weil), with crea-tivity (Taura and Nagai). They tend to underline their designlogic in each discipline, and strong similarities between thedifferent fields. For instance discovery in science (Shai et al.)and concept generation in more artistic domains (Taura andNagai), or design of engineering objects and design inmathematics (Hatchuel et al.) tend to follow similar orcomplementary traits of designrecognition of theunknown, propagation of the concept based on availableknowledge and generation of new conceptseven if theknowledge structures are apparently very different (mathe-matical models for Forcing in Hatchuel et al., engineeringsciences for Infused Design in Shai et al., semantic modelsfor concept generation in Taura and Nagai,). The modelsproposed and used contribute to uncover the deep conver-gence of reasoning used by engineers, scientists or artists.2.4 Theory-driven empirical researchMany of the papers use empirical material (see Kroll,Taura and Nagai or Shai et al.; Le Masson and Weil referrather to historical empirical cases). Nevertheless, they allput great emphasis on the research methods associated withformal design theories: some papers underline the impor-tance of models consistency (Hatchuel et al.), or they relyon formal models as comparative framework for othertheories (Le Masson and Weil, Shai et al., Kroll), or usetheories as an analytical tool to study methods (Kroll,Kazakci, Le Masson and Weil, Shai et al.). In this per-spective, empirical research is used more as an illustration(e.g., Kroll or Taura and Nagai). It is interesting to note thatformal works can actually rely on multiple approaches. Theformal models presented in these papers lead to insightsthat can be tested in empirical research: e.g., the roleof duality for concept generation in science discovery(Shai et al.), the relationship between industrial growth,new products and the generativity of design theories(Le Masson and Weil), the role of invariant ontology ongenerativity (Hatchuel et al.).3 Advances in design theoryOvercoming the four difficulties, the papers contribute todesign theory by building, discussing, strengthening, oranalyzing specific formal models. They help to understandthe ecology of design theories, how each theory relates tospecific logics and specific models of knowledge, and how,despite apparent differences, the design theories tend toshare strong common points, i.e. following Hatchuel et al.,tend to follow a common ontology.Reading the six papers of this special issue, one candistinguish three moments. The first two papers, LeMasson and Weil and Kazakci, help to clarify some his-torical roots and paradigms in the field of design theory.They explicate the relation between engineering scienceand the logic behind the historical variety of theories andmethods in the field of engineering design (Le Masson andWeil) and the relation between constructivism and theparadigm of situated cognition (Kazakci). Both papers pavethe way to a better understanding of the ontology of design,which is the second moment of this special issue, mainlyrepresented by the Hatchuel et al. paper. The third momentbuilds on the formal models today available to show howthey help to analyze critical issues for designers: designand scientific discovery (Shai et al.), design and conceptgeneration (Taura and Nagai) and design and the renewalof engineering rules (Kroll).3.1 Reconnecting to the rootsIn Design theories as languages of the unknown: insightsfrom the German roots of systematic design (18401960),Pascal Le Masson and Benoit Weil study the historicaldevelopment of theories and methods. They focus on theparticular case of German systematic design at three his-torical moments1840s and the industrial catch-up inGermany after the first industrial revolution; 1900s and thesecond industrial revolution; 1950s and the rationalizationof intellectual work. Relying on the formal frameworkprovided by CK theory, they show that (1) historically,design theories and methods did not originate from eitherpurely formal research or from descriptive studies ofdesigners practices. They corresponded to specific ratio-nalization of the design activity in historical context. (2)Contrary to engineering sciences, which model knownobjects, these theories are frameworks to guide the elabo-ration of still unknown objects with the help of availableknowledge. They appear as more and more sophisticatedlanguages of the unknown, whereas engineering models are100 Res Eng Design (2013) 24:97103123languages of the known. These languages are progressivelyrefined to reach new types of unknown. (3) These frame-works did not seek to cater for one-off innovation, but forthe efficiency of design capacities. They analyze accordingto the types of new, partly unknown objects they help design(generative capacity) and the capacities required by theirusers (conjunctive capacity). The intention of these methodswas to increase generative capacities while maintainingconjunctive capacity. Thus the paper works to overcomesome issues in engineering design research: the differencewith engineering science (language of the known vs. lan-guage of the unknown), the role of formal models to supportthe invention of methods (and the limits of descriptivemodels), and the ambition towards more generative theo-ries. Creation of the language of the unknown and gener-ativity emerge as basic traits of design theory.In his paper entitled on the imaginative constructivistnature of design, Akin Kazakci discusses constructivismin design. He reminds us that constructivism is one of theparadigms that have a great influence on design theory:interactive constructivism, and more broadly situated cog-nition, analyzed how the interactive media can influencedesign; social constructivism analyzed the effects of com-munication and social conventions and negotiations on theintegration of individual expertise into the design process.To discuss this invading paradigm, Kazakci uses the formalroots of constructivism, namely Brouwers intuitionism,which he analyzes with the lenses of formal design theory,CK theory. He shows that intuitionism presents interestingnotions for building design logics in mathematics (see theintroduction of incomplete objects by means of lawlesssequences and free choices). This formal design perspectivereveals a logic of imaginative constructivism by Brou-wers creative subject. While Brouwers creative subject isusually interpreted as a learning model relying on thecombination of known objects, it is shown that the creativesubject can also alter the bottom-up, combinative con-struction with the introduction of unexpected elements inorder to construct objects with surprising propertiesresulting in the expansion of the repertory of objects.Finally the paper suggests that in a design perspective,interactive constructivism should go beyond the analysis ofshared representations to be able to include ruptures inreasoning and the presentation of new objects; and socialconstructivism should go beyond the understanding oftrade-offs and negotiations to include the creation of newvalues and interests through imaginative propositions.3.2 Some elements of an ontology of designTowards an ontology of design: lessons from CK theoryand Forcing by Armand Hatchuel, Benoit Weil and PascalLe Masson, aims at revealing an ontology of design bystudying the similarities and differences between two of themost abstract formal theories of design, CK theory inengineering design and Forcing in Set theory in mathe-matics. Two specific features can characterize formaldesign theories: domain independence and generativity.CK theory is a good representative of the contemporarystage of abstraction and generativity in the field of engi-neering. As shown in the paper, the abstraction of Settheory makes that Forcing, a technique developed for thecontrolled invention of new models of sets, is a goodrepresentative of general design theories. The comparisonreveals three common notions:(1) knowledge expandability is present in each case but italso appears that design theories are led to distinguishvariable structures (or designed ontologies) andinvariant structures (explicitly unchanged by design,like the ZermeloFraenkel axiomatic in models of setgenerated by Forcing);(2) knowledge voids are necessary for design, theseare independent structures in existing knowledge,that are revealed when a proposition cannot be provedtrue or false with existing knowledge. The specificrationality of design is to fill the void to create anew desired thing;(3) design needs generic processes for expansion, whichinclude both the capacity to introduce new truths andrevise the identity of objects and the capacity tore-order knowledge, to give new names and topreserve meaning.3.3 Design theories for understanding critical issuesin designIn Design theory and conceptual design: contrastingfunctional decomposition and morphology with parameteranalysis, Kroll analyses a method, Parameter Analysis, todeal with innovative conceptual design. Whereas clas-sical methods like functional analysis and morphologicalmatrix (Zwicky 1969) tend to reuse existing design rules,with Parameter Analysis the designer focuses on theparameter that is considered as the most challenging issueof the design brief and this helps him to quickly identify theareas where the renewal of design rules is most needed.Moreover, it prescribes a loop for creating the new designrules, based on creative synthesis and evaluation.Several cases illustrate how the method leads to renewdesign rules (Tilt-meter based on coupled pendulums, bilgepump and aerodynamic decelerators). Using CK theorythe paper shows that Parameter Analysis helps designer toorganize an intense relationship between C and K, sinceRes Eng Design (2013) 24:97103 101123each step of the Parameter Analysis process results in aC- and a K-expansion; by contrast functional analysis andmorphology appear as a form of search process limited toavailable knowledge. Further, the paper discusses someefficiency criteria for a design process: whereas many designmethods tend to favor finding one solution that minimizesthe creation of knowledge, Parameter Analysis focuses onlearning during the design process while being able to meetthe specifications. This dual capacity of Parameter Analysisto both meet the target and favor efficient learning makes it apromising method for educating young designers and forstrategic use in industrial design processes.In A Systematized Theory of Creative Concept Gen-eration in Design: First-order and high-order, ToshiharuTaura and Yukari Nagai focus on the concept generationphase of a design process. In common view, this phase issaid to be beyond the scope of rational models, a phaseof creative synthesis as opposed to more analyticalones. Relying on specific illustrations and rigorous conceptmapping, the authors show that concept generation can beanalyzed as an intersection of abstract conceptsin theterminology of General Design Theory. The paper showsthat there are actually two contrasted types of conceptgeneration, first order and higher order one, the first onerelying on an intersection based on similarity recognition(in the intersection, the designers follows a thematicrelation), whereas the second one relies on dissimilarityrecognition. General Design Theory helps to describe bothprocesses but the problem solving approach embedded inGDT describes thematic relations and fails to account fordissimilarity recognition processes. The paper calls for anextension of GDT based on the notion of dissimilarity inthe pre-design phase.In Creativity and scientific discovery with infuseddesign and its analysis with CK theory, Offer Shai,Yoram Reich, Armand Hatchuel and Eswaran Subrahma-nian address one of the key challenges for a design theory:modeling scientific discovery. In his models of thought(Simon 1979) and more precisely in (Simon and Kulkarni1989), Simon faced the same challenge. Shai et al. gobeyond Simons perspective to show how Infused Designhelped to conceive a new force in physics, namely faceforce! Using CK theory as an analytical tool, they showhow scientific discovery relies on key aspects of designreasoning:(1) There must be holes (the notion is similar to thevoids in Hatchuel et al.) in knowledge. Further,infused design method is a powerful tool to identifythese holes, by relying on strong knowledge struc-tures across specific knowledge domains and byestablishing, through duality relations, rigorous cor-respondences between these domains.(2) Filling holes is based on knowledge, and infuseddesign helps to acquire new knowledge by corre-spondences with multiple domains (the design offace force in trusses is based on correspondenceswith mechanism and electrical circuits).(3) This knowledge propagation is done while preservinga consistency of the knowledge basesand hereagain, infused design was instrumental in creating theface force that preserves the structures of knowl-edge domains.Finally a design perspective on scientific discovery showsthat the rigorous structure of scientific knowledge playstwo critical roles in scientific discovery: it helps to identifyholes and supports consistent expansions.4 Concluding remarks: design theory and the scienceof designThis special issue brings to the reader a sample of worksthat illustrates the effort of a whole community, today, torenew its foundations. Following past (r)evolutions indesign theory, it echoes trends in the new objects that haveto be designed, trends in new forms of knowledge andknowledge production that have to be integrated in con-temporary design processes and trends in other disciplinesthat are more and more linked to the design paradigm (likein past renewals, these design theories are linked to recentadvances in many sciencesas diverse as mathematics,linguistics, engineering and even history).Perhaps even more than in the past, the renewal ofdesign theory should lead today to a body of sustainable,collective research. These papers show a good diversityand illustrate the constructive dialogue between multipleapproaches. As a collection they help to make sense of themultiple formal models of design that exist today, and tointegrate them in an ecology of theories. Finally, togetherthey contribute to building a common language and createthe capacity for fruitful discussions. As such, they hope-fully provide a good basis for future advances on designtheory and open the possibility of new forms of empiricalresearch.The renewal of design theory will help to build a pow-erful discipline, a unified body of knowledge that canengage with other disciplines on its own terms. Externaltrends and paradigms will no longer threaten this unity andthis unity will help in the discussion and expansion of theseparadigms to the test of the design perspective. One canhope that the formal models of design theory will in duecourse spark dialogues with sociology, economics, engi-neering sciences, and cognition to provide new paradigmsfor the research in those fields. More generally, they offer102 Res Eng Design (2013) 24:97103123good foundations for further formal work as well as for anopen dialog with other disciplines. They pave the way to anopen program to discuss design theory and art, designtheory and management, design theory and politics, designtheory and users, and design theory and informationsystems.In the broadest sense, the renewal of design theoryshould help to understand and support contemporary formsof collective action. The effort towards a clear designparadigm contributes to improving dialogue between theprofessions, recognizing their deep similarities. But look-ing beyond these professional developments, we realizethat our societies expect innovative design on majorchallenges: in health, in smart cities, in sustainable energy,in smart mobility, in the autonomy of elderly people, inhousing for everybody or in food Recent advances indesign theory might help to invent new forms of designaction to address all these issues. They open the possibilityto invent new methods, new organizations, and new formsof designerly collaborations inside and between organiza-tions. These theories could provide the basic corpus andlanguage to educate the designers of tomorrow in the logicof creation. And we need them as basic intellectual ele-ments for life in contemporary societies that are enteringthe post-decisional paradigmthe design paradigm.ReferencesAlexander C (1964) Notes on the synthesis of form, 15th printing,1999th edn. Harvard University Press, CambridgeBraha D, Reich Y (2003) Topological structures for modellingengineering design processes. Res Eng Des 14(4):185199Cross N (ed) (1984) Developments in design methodology. Wiley,New YorkDorst K (2006) Design problems and design paradoxes. Des Issues22(3):417Dorst K, Vermaas PE (2005) John Geros functionbehaviourstructure model of designing: a critical analysis. Res Eng Des16(12):1726Ehrlenspiel K (1995) Integrierte Produktentwicklung. Methoden furProzessorganisation, Produkterstellung und Konstruktion. 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The Macmillian Company, TorontoRes Eng Design (2013) 24:97103 103123Design theory: history, state of the art and advancementsDesign theory: a demanding research fieldNo self-evident unity of the design theory fieldMultiple paradigm shifts that threat the specificity of designThe fragmentation of design professionsThe limits of empirical researchConsolidating research on design theoryRelating design theories to each otherOvercoming paradigms that shade the specificity of designBridging the gap between professionsTheory-driven empirical researchAdvances in design theoryReconnecting to the rootsSome elements of an ontology of designDesign theories for understanding critical issues in designConcluding remarks: design theory and the science of designReferences