Demystifying the Act of “Design” through Functionality, Usability and Desirability Framework


Due to the ubiquitous nature of design ‘What is design?’ is a question that invites special attention in the design world. The statements made in an attempt to answer this question are either too broad or too narrow in its approach. “Design is intelligence made visible” - Alina Wheeler’s quote reflects an example of a broad philosophical approach to describe the design. Whereas a discipline-specific approach states, “Product design is conceiving and giving form to goods and services that address needs” (Ulrich 2011). In the pursuit to define design, the authors illustrate an overarching design triad framework of Functionality, Usability and Desirability (FUD) flexible enough to capture the broad generalization as well as the focused specialization. Articulating such a framework can provide a holistic perspective to demystify the question, ‘What is design?’. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for a constructive dialogue amongst the design community and uses the FUD framework to discern, analyse, and critique all the ‘acts of human creation’ which are perceived to be designed.


Mandar Rane
Professor, IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay, Maharashtra, India

Purba Joshi
Associate Professor, IDC School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Maharashtra, India

Avinash Shende
Associate Professor, IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay, Maharashtra, India


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design Education


Understanding Design, Design Definition, FUD Framework

Digital Media

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