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1540s, from Latin designare "mark out, devise, choose, designate, appoint," from de- "out" (see de-) + signare "to mark," from signum "a mark, sign" (see sign (n.)). Originally in English with the meaning now attached to designate; many modern uses of design are metaphoric extensions. Related: Designed; designing.
1580s, from Middle French desseign "purpose, project, design," from Italian disegno, from disegnare "to mark out," from Latin designare "to mark out" (see design (v.)).
The approach that engineering (and some other) disciplines use to specify how to create or do something. A successful design must satisfies a (perhaps informal) functional specification (do what it was designed to do); conforms to the limitations of the target medium (it is possible to implement); meets implicit or explicit requirements on performance and resource usage (it is efficient enough).
A design may also have to satisfy restrictions on the design process itself, such as its length or cost, or the tools available for doing the design.
In the software life-cycle, design follows requirements analysis and is followed by implementation.
["Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications", 2nd ed., Grady Booch].