Design Talking: An Ontology of Design Methods to Support a Common Language of Design

Celeste Roschuni, Julia Kramer, Qian Zhang, Lauren Zakskorn, and Alice Agogino
ICED (2015)


While many design firms have created and use their own collections of design methods, there is no standard language of design that spans across disciplines. With over 300 distinct design thinking methods and more developed every year, there is a need to clearly categorize and organize these methods and develop a standard way of communicating about them. To build a common lexicon of design methods applicable to designers across a range of disciplines and domains, this paper introduces an ontology of design thinking methods developed through an extensive literature review and a series of workshops with industry practitioners. The resulting ontology will be integrated into the online database at to make it widely accessible and support practitioners in “design talking”.