Design Research

Who are we?

We are an open and exploratory design-led research group from the University of Plymouth. We conduct research with and for people, products, places and their interactions. 

We work with a variety of organisations to provide fresh perspectives on real-world issues. We offer undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD opportunities. All our staff are active researchers with extensive expertise in design practice and research informed teaching.

What do we do?

Our research covers a wide variety of practice-led activity, delivering new design solutions for the community, cultural policy and environments. Our research contributes to new knowledge in, human experience, agency, identity, architectural theory and design knowledge, as constructed and understood through artifacts, exhibitions, literature and interventions. 

Our research has a critical and creative capacity to challenge design disciplines, whilst supporting emerging research.

How do we do stuff?

We use four different categories for researching with partners and as a group: The human-centered designer is able to listen to how users see their needs, desires, practices and indeed the world in which they live. 

The legible practice designer uses criticality and research process as a ‘legible practice’ this involves documenting and explaining methods carefully enough to allow others to read and understand what happened in detail. 

The empathetic designer understands the needs and or desires that arise from the background of feelings, meanings, behaviours and knowledge that design ideas inhabit and finally the speculative designer informs critical design; this asks questions, provokes debate, raises awareness, and explores alternatives.

Contact: Pete Davis

Design Knowledge funded research and partners

The Chartered Society of Designers

The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) is the professional body for designers and the authority on professional design practice. It is the world's largest chartered body of professional designers with members in 33 countries and is unique in representing designers in all disciplines.

CSD is governed by Royal Charter, supported by the Byelaws and as such its members are required to practice to the highest professional standards.

The Society is a registered charity working for the benefit of the community and operates accreditation programmes.


British Industrial Design Association (BIDA) is the trade body representing Industrial Designers involved in product, service and interaction design. We promote their creative expertise, knowledge and experience. Our members’ work with large and small clients has generated billions of pounds in revenue through the creation and exploitation of IP in domestic and global markets.

Founded in 1993, BIDA operates as a not-for-profit organisation and receives no government funding or intervention, we are wholly financed by our members and run by voluntary national and regional boards of passionate professional designers.

Design knowledge