This paper describes a case study comparing the understanding of design intent between industrial designers and design engineers. The study is based on the hypothesis that it is not all aspects of the design intent that are equally difficult to share between industrial designers and design engineers in the product development process. The study builds on five semi-structured interviews, where two industrial designers and three design engineers were interviewed about different aspects of the design intent. Based on our results, there seem to be indications that the more complex and abstract elements of industrial design knowledge such as the meaning, semantics, values, emotions and social aspects of the product are less shared by the design engineers. Moreover, the results also indicate that the different aspects of the design intent are perceived separately, rather than as part of a whole by the design engineers. The connection between the different aspects of the design intent is not shared between the industrial designer and design engineer making the shared knowledge less meaningful to the design engineers. The results of this study cannot be claimed to be conclusive due to the limited empirical material. Further investigation and analytically richer data are required in order to verify and broaden the findings. More case studies have therefore been planned in order to understand the area better.
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