Special Issue "Requirements in design processes: open issues, relevance and implications"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Mechanical Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Federico Rotini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale - Università degli Studi di Firenze – via di S. Marta, 3 – 50139 Firenze - Italy
Interests: His main topics of research concern the development of methodologies to support creativity in product and process innovation, business process re-engineering activities, and the product design cycle.
Dr. Niccolò Becattini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering - Politecnico di Milano – Via private Giuseppe La Masa, 1 – 20156 – Milano (Italy)
Interests: His research interests include design methods and tools with particular reference to techniques for the stimulation of designers’ creativity and for problem solving, design cognition, and human behavior in design.
Dr. Yuri Borgianni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Faculty of Science of Technology
Interests: His research interests include systematic methods for problem solving, value innovation, ideation within engineering design, creative development of new products, user–product interaction, biometric measures in design, eco-design, and design for additive manufacturing.
Dr. Lorenzo Fiorineschi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale - Università degli Studi di Firenze – via di S. Marta, 3 – 50139 Firenze - Italy
Interests: His research interests include engineering design methods, prototyping, problem-solving techniques, and creativity assessment.

Special Issue Information

Requirements play a key role in the design process by affecting analysis, synthesis, and evaluation activities at different levels and in different ways.

Specifically, during the analysis of the design problem, requirements are at the cornerstone of designers’ reflection on processes such as formulation and clarification of objectives. Furthermore, requirements guide the process of solution finding, and here, they affect design both positively, by making designers focus on the solution, and negatively, by acting as potential triggers of psychological inertia and fixation. Eventually, during evaluation and selection activities, requirements constitute reference criteria for the assessment of design outcomes in order to identify the solution that is supposedly the most compliant with design objectives.

Therefore, designers’ perspective on requirements and their use relentlessly change along the design process because of mutating detail levels of design representations and differences in terms of information needed to move forward. In the most abstract phases, such as product planning and conceptual design, the designer tries to understand what should be designed and searches for the functions to be delivered and the modalities to implement them. During embodiment and detailed design, the development of the solution progresses until a well-defined structure is identified, which is univocally represented through CAD models and technical drawings. Moreover, due to the iterative nature of the design process, the definition and formulation of requirements is also affected by partial design outcomes, which in turn depend on their own requirements. Therefore, requirements orient the design process by taking into consideration the mutating nature of the design problem without introducing hindrances or leading to dangerous distortions of design objectives. This requires the implementation of strategies to manage and update requirements continuously. In addition, strategies targeting requirements might be tailored to design contexts, such as eco-design or Design for X, or conditions, such as co-design or open innovation.    

The design community has made great efforts to investigate peculiar aspects related to evaluation and selection processes. Conversely, other important issues concerning the whole design process have received less attention—somehow, for example, the big picture has been overlooked. Accordingly, the proposed Special Issue aims to investigate the impact requirements have on the quality and creativity of the design outcomes and the implications of requirement handling in specific design activities, as well as across different phases. More in particular, it welcomes contributions about the main issues summarized in the following, which however should not be considered exhaustive:

  • Methods and tools for the definition, understanding, development, use, and management of requirements in the design process. Case studies and comparative analyses in terms of performance of the proposed approaches;
  • Criteria and metrics to assess requirement lists;
  • Planning R&D strategies through the anticipation of goals, objectives, and requirements;
  • Emergence/elicitation, management and evolution of requirements in co-design contexts. Knowledge externalization techniques and tools for problem analysis and goal/objective formalization;
  • Role and importance of data and information sources to steer the design process and the definition of requirements therefor (Big Data analysis, Artificial Intelligence, etc.);
  • Handling sustainability-oriented requirements in engineering and product design;
  • Handling affective, aesthetic, ethical, and emotional requirements in engineering design;
  • Requirements in Design for X methods, such as Design for Additive Manufacturing;
  • Prototyping requirements in product design and development processes;
  • Tools and techniques for overcoming requirement conflicts;
  • Impact of requirements on design fixation and on creativity of design outcomes. Role of requirements in the assessment of creative design processes;
  • Role and relevance of requirements in stakeholders’ quality evaluation and acceptance of design outcomes;
  • Engineering requirements in teaching and education contexts.
Prof. Federico Rotini
Dr. Niccolò Becattini
Dr. Yuri Borgianni
Dr. Lorenzo Fiorineschi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • engineering requirements
  • engineering design
  • new product development
  • customer requirements
  • task clarification
  • design objectives
  • product planning
  • conceptual design
  • embodiment design
  • detailed design
  • problem analysis
  • problem solution
  • requirements selection
  • design process
  • design methods
  • creativity
  • forecasting
  • knowledge management

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Back to TopTop