Design and Engineering

In engineering, design is a component of the engineering process.

 Many overlapping methods and processes can be seen when comparing Product designIndustrial design and Engineering

The American Heritage Dictionary defines design as: "To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent," and "To formulate a plan", and defines engineering as: "The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems."

Both are forms of problem-solving with a defined distinction being the application of "scientific and mathematical principles". The increasingly scientific focus of engineering in practice, however, has raised the importance of new more "human-centered" fields of design. How much science is applied in a design is a question of what is considered "science". Along with the question of what is considered science, there is social science versus natural science. Scientists at Xerox PARC made the distinction of design versus engineering at "moving minds" versus "moving atoms".

Engineering design process

The engineering design process is a formulation of a plan or scheme to assist an engineer in creating a product. The engineering design is defined as:
…component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision making process (often iterative) in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing and evaluation.
The engineering design process is a multi-step process including the research, conceptualization, feasibility assessment, establishing design requirements, preliminary design, detailed design, production planning and tool design, and finally production.

Design Engineer is a general term that covers multiple engineering disciplines including electrical, mechanical, industrial design and civil engineering, architectural engineers.

The design engineer is distinguished from the designer/drafter by virtue of the fact that a design engineer takes care of the total system as well as inner workings/engineering of a design. While industrial designers may be responsible for the conceptual aesthetic and ergonomic aspects of a design, the design engineer usually works with a team of engineers and designers to develop the conceptual, preliminary and detail design and the most critical parts. He/she may work with industrial designers and marketing to develop the product concept and specifications, and he/she may direct the design effort from that point. Products are usually designed with input from a number of sources such as marketing, manufacturing, purchasing, tool making and packaging engineering. In addition design engineers deal with much more complex technological and scientific systems (aircraft, spacecraft, rockets, trains, ships, dams, bridges, building structures, urban infrastructure, machinery, production systems, propulsion systems, oil, gas, and mining exploration systems, manufacturing processes, military systems, cars, electronics, computers, power generation systems - nuclear, fossil, wind, ocean, and power distribution systems). In many engineering areas, a distinction is made between the design engineer and the planning engineer in design. Planning engineers are more concerned with designing on a more systems engineering level, and overlaps onto the operational side are often necessary. Design engineers, in contrast, are more concerned with designing a particular new product or system. Analysis is important for planning engineers, while synthesis is paramount for design engineers.