Keeping Design Records
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Ledsome, Colin
Section: Professional Perspectives
Design does not happen in isolation. Each design evolves from earlier work, is carried out in parallel with other designs, and influences later designs. The design process is an investment of significant amounts of money, time and effort concentrating on the resolution of a challenge to meet a need. The resulting product is only a partial return on that investment. The next time a similar challenge arises, we start all over again having lost the information gained the last time. Legislation on design responsibilities, warrantee issues, new versions of products, and end-of-life decisions would all benefit from a more comprehensive understanding of the original design process. A new initiative at the British Standards Institution, BSi, is exploring the opportunity of providing guidance on the information we need to keep. One key theme is that it is vital to record design reasoning and decisions as they happen, including the rejected options. The need to instil the habit of keeping records of design thinking as it happens must begin in design education and may require an adjustment to the curriculum.