Engineering Design - What Is It?

Engineering Design

Engineering design is for engineers, so we need to look at the concept of “engineering” before addressing it.


What is Engineering?

The Maryam-Webster Dictionary defines engineering as: The application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful to people.

Understand the Concepts of Design and Engineering Design

Engineering design is a way to design, so you should consider the following points when reading this section:

  • Without understanding the concept of “design” we can not understand the concept of “engineering design”.
  • Everything that is said about “design” is also true about “engineering design”.

What is the Design?

Design is the creation of a plan or program to build an object from a system. The word “design” can have different meanings in different contexts. In designing a product, different dimensions such as beauty, practicality, economic efficiency and socio-political issues must be considered. In designing a plan or program, a considerable amount of time may be spent researching, conceptualizing, modeling, problem solving, and redesigning. Thus, “design” can be defined as a noun or verb.

Engineering Design Process

The design process in engineering is a set of steps used by engineers in the design and production of products. This process is so repetitive that some steps have to be repeated several times to get to the next step. However, the number of repetitive parts and the number of repetitions in each project are different.

Stages of Engineering Design Process

An engineering design process involves the following steps:

Research, conceptualization, feasibility study, creation of design requirements, initial design, detailed design, production planning and tool design and production.

Given that different authors (both in research papers and in textbooks) define different stages for the design process and the various activities involved, they have proposed some simpler and more general models, such as:

Problem definition, conceptual design, initial design, detailed design and design relevance.

It is also necessary to be aware that in these models as well as other examples, different concepts may have overlaps that affect the division and naming of steps in each model.



Much of the time spent designing a product is spent collecting information and researching. Research information sources include the Internet, local libraries, existing government documents, private organizations, business magazines, catalogs of vendors, and personal experts.

Design Requirements

One of the most important elements in the design process is to determine the design objectives and perform its analysis. Design requirements control the design process of a product. Some of the design requirements are: Hardware and software parameters, stability, accessibility and testability.

Feasibility Study

In some cases, the feasibility of the process is examined and then plans, resources, and estimates are prepared for the next step. Studying the feasibility of the process, evaluating and analyzing the potential of the project, helps the project decision-making process. This feasibility study briefly analyzes the methods to achieve the desired results.



It is often the project planning phase that involves generating ideas and paying attention to the advantages and disadvantages of implementing these ideas. This stage of a project is performed to minimize the possibility of error, manage costs, assess risks, and the project potential success.

Preliminary design

Preliminary design is between the basic concept of design and precise design. At this stage, the design, diagrams and initial configuration of the project are defined. The purpose of the initial design is to create an overall framework for the project, and the parameters created in this section will change during careful design and optimization.

Precise Design

The next step is called precise design, in which the required materials are prepared in this step. This step provides a complete description of the various aspects of the project, through modeling, drawings and specifications.

Production Planning

This step involves planning for the comprehensive production of the product. The tasks of this step are: Selecting materials, selecting production processes, sequencing operations and selecting tools. This step also includes testing the prototype to ensure that the mass-produced version complies with the standards.

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