Conceptual Design is an umbrella term given to all forms of non-aesthetic design management disciplines. It is an early phase of the design process, in which the broad outlines of function and form of something are articulated. It includes the design of interactions, experiences, processes and strategies. It involves an understanding of people's needs - and how to meet them with products, services, & processes. Common artifacts of conceptual design are concept sketches and models.
Since the emergence of design thinking as a vehicle for business and research development, many conventionally trained aesthetic designers have wrongly been called upon to support organizations with workshops pertaining specifically to business or process development in the incorrect assumption that all design is equal in this capacity. This has resulted in a large shadow being cast over the role of design in business and development and questions being asked about the value of design as a tool for business and research development.
The Conceptual Design Forum
The Conceptual Design Forum was proposed in early 2015 by Jonathan Häsen, founder of Häsen Global Concept Development, in an effort to distinguish the independent nature of non-aesthetic design disciplines such as service design, user experience design, human-technology interaction design, spatial design as well as all forms of design and innovation management. It is asserted that those investing in design for the commercial and developmental benefits it offers, stand to benefit from understanding the distinction between aesthetic design disciplines such as graphic design and architectural design and those of conceptual design practitioners. With the UK and EU governments pledging enormous contributions into innovation and design management, understanding the variations within the design field is an essential step in the management process. Without a strong understanding of the specific differences within design, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify how any organization can utilize creative acumen in the correct capacity.