Design and designing: what's in a word?

John Saxton, Susan Miller
1996, Vol. 1, No. 2,


This paper relates to an investigative strand of a research commission undertaken on behalf of the Design Council. Some interesting issues have emerged from the research that we believe may provide some important clues to our understanding of design activity in the curriculum. These concern: the nature of the activities prescribed in the National Curriculum; how we might classify them for greater clarity; and how we develop a more consistent and shared understanding of them. Designing is about doing, and hence the focus of the research is on the verbs (the doing words) that occur in the National Curriculum Orders. The conundrum raised through the research is that whilst we may be developing a shared design vocabulary, there is reason to believe that we still lack a shared understanding of what this vocabulary means.

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