What is Engineering Design?

Engineering is the application of science to problem solving. Design is the creative expression of knowledge...

Each word is important. A design cannot just be a thought, it must be expressed in some material form (sketch, article, music, text etc). To be 'design' or a 'design' the expression must be creative. For example it cannot just be somebody musing over say whether the sky is blue or grey. If the creative expression is one of 'emotion' then we can say it is 'art'. If it is an expression of knowledge then it is 'design'. Most creative expressions are a combination of both 'art' and 'design'. A sculptor will use his knowledge of clay and casting to 'design' his sculpture so that his or her intended emotion can be conveyed to the viewer as 'art'. Similarly, a manufactured article (a product) will be mainly a manifestation of knowledge (design) but still with an emotional input to the form, appearance, packaging and marketing (art).

The subject of 'Engineering' can be divided into two activities of analysis and synthesis. Analysis (& research) is really Science or the study of materials, actions, life etc. to better understand our world. We can call it 'Engineering Science' if the study focuses on materials, processes and material actions. However, when we start taking this knowledge and applying it to improve the quality of life we are synthesizing knowledge. We are now being creative with our knowledge. This is DESIGN and is FUNDAMENTAL to ENGINEERING.


Research & analysis is Science. Both Engineering and Science are important; but knowledge alone is of no consequence to the future of life if it does not manifest itself into material significance through DESIGN.

Cliff Green


Engineering Design - A National Asset

A Position Paper prepared by the IEAust National Panel on Design

Engineering Design

Informative paper by Peter McGowan


The Dilbert Zone

For a comical view of what engineers are really like, visit The Dilbert Zone.


Engineers Australia

One of the worlds leading engineering bodies.


Designs that have Changed the World

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