Special Interest Group (SIG)

Design Theory

Interest: Research


Design Theory is an established area of research in the field of Design and important steps have been achieved since WW2. However, there is today a growing body of works that indicates a renewal of the approaches and issues of Design Theory. Among others, the following main evolutions have to be considered in order to coordinate efforts and increase international exchanges in Design Theory:
a) Design Theory can today benefit from the maturation of several fundamental advances in Mathematics, Logic, Semantics, Knowledge Modelling and other fields studying the basic structures of reasoning and cognition. Most of them were not available or unknown a few decades ago.
b) Design Theory can build on important efforts made in the field of Design Research to increase our knowledge of design practice. The growing number of laboratory experiments in Design pro-vide a large amount of surprising observations which require new theoretical efforts to reach a satisfactory, consistent and hopefully, predictive, body of explanations.
c) Engineering Design is more and more challenged by the need to increase the innovative and creative capacity of design methods. Creativity has been a very active field. Yet, there is the need to reach a more clear and theoretical understanding of its propositions to integrate them within methods and background more familiar to Engineering and Design Management Sciences.

More on Design Theory Sig can be found at:


Based on discussions prior to the foundation of this SIG (e.g. at ICED 07 in Paris), the first agenda of the SIG has the four following issues:
- Design Theory and Mathematics: The SIG will explore old and new relations between advances in Design Theory and recent advances in Mathematics.
- Design Theory and new approaches of high level and flexible structures of knowledge: Engineering Science is more and more based on the search for knowledge integration and it is interesting to explore the link of these efforts to Design Theory.
- Theory-oriented laboratory experiments: The SIG will explore how Design Theory could help to design new forms of laboratory experiments or new empirical investigations.
- The design principles and history of Design Theory: In the field of Design Theory, memory and cumulative work is of paramount value. The SIG will stimulate a comprehensive effort to reach a good scientific history of Design Theories.


- Pascal Le Masson, Mines Paristech, France (chair)
- Eswaran Subrahmanian, CMU, USA (co-chair)
- Yoram Reich, Director of Computational Systems Lab, Tel Aviv University, Israel
- Armand Hatchuel, Mines Paristech, France
- Akin Kazakci, Mines Paristech, France (secretary)


France, Israel, UK, USA

Type of events

The SIG will hold meetings, workshops and seminars. In the uneven years workshops at ICED conferences are planned.


Contributions will be reviewed by usual standard procedures, according to the type of event and the form of publication.

If you are interested in joining, please contact: Prof. Pascal LE MASSON; Prof Eswaran Subrahmanian