Understanding the object of Design through project´s drawing. An archive of drawings by portuguese designers in the 20th and 21th centuries.

In this paper, we discuss the usefulness of creating an archive of the design project drawings. It will be the creation of a digital archive of drawings made by Portuguese designers in the XX and XXI century. The project drawings are normally intended to be lost, by their ephemeral and transitory nature, even if they participate clearly in the projectual understanding, namely both of the process and of the proposed answer/solution. In this case, the digital images‘ recording of the designer’s drawings adds to the perpetual knowledge of the design product. The issue relates the importance of understanding drawing in the project of design. That is, how can the discipline of design use the project drawings archive? Therefore, the archive serves 3 perspectives: the historical, the didactic and the epistemological (theory and criticism of design).

We identified the problem by finding the deficit in the critical interpretation of the design‘s object through the design processual practice. We consider the hypothesis that the interpretation and categorization of design can be done through drawing as matter of the design project, i.e., by the importance of drawing in the act of designing the object. An archive of drawings serves whether as an available tool for research whether for project development and theoretical verification of the discipline.

The presentation is supported by drawings made by recognized Portuguese designers whose projects were developed from the middle of 20th century. The research seeks to consider the critical analysis of design based on the study cases presented. The choice interprets the representativeness of their work and practice. The methodology is the direct source (material provided by the authors) and voluntary participation. Interviews are foreseen. The research is based on inductive method and focused on the process. A comparative method is applied. Sampling is a sort of comprehensive type (in network): based on the criterion set for the initial group it intends to be successively extended.

Our main goal is the interpretation of the object (drawing) – theoretical and practical – related to the practice of design. Looking at the use (or not) of drawing in the project, we intend to contribute a characterization and categorization of the project of design as well as to contribute to a critical reasoning of the epistemological nature of design.


Co-authoring: Magalhães, Graça; Pombo, Fátima.


Presentation at Writing Design; Object, Process, Discourse, Translation. The Design History Society Annual Conference, de Havilland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, 3-5 September, 2009

Year 2009
Type Unpublished Text
Publication Writing Design; Object, Process, Discourse, Translation. The Design History Society Annual Conference.
Local University of Hertfordshire, UK
Language English