What Is an Axiomatic Design?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 11 March 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Axiomatic design is an approach to design that creates a matrix of related concepts for organization and planning. It can be implemented in a variety of industries, and is particularly popular in systems design. Managers and other members of the design team may work together before a project starts to develop their matrices and determine how to organize the design process. Using axiomatic design can streamline development and increase the collaborative nature of a project.

Planning requires dividing design into a number of different domains, including customer needs, solutions to those needs, and process planning. The designers need to meet with the customer to find out what is needed, and to discuss various tentative approaches to implementation. For example, a customer might need a waste management system. One option could be an incinerator, which means the company needs to develop a process for designing and implementing the device.

Connections between domains can be highlighted in axiomatic design with the use of a matrix. It lays out the various domains and indicates whether they are connected or independent. Creating a clear visual representation of the design process, the phases involved, and how components interact can help people develop a plan. Streamlining planning processes may cut costs significantly by allowing companies to prioritize their use of funds and personnel. They can also allocate necessary resources when required to keep their usage efficient.


This is a top-down approach to looking at design. It can help groups work together collaboratively, both during the planning phases and the actual design process. Members of the group can identify specific domains, links, and concerns to add to the matrix and integrate into planning. When participation and input is solicited from everyone involved, members of the group may also be made aware of issues they hadn’t previously considered. Software developers could point out, for example, that the debugging domain will take more time than previously estimated, which will affect all connected domains.

Courses in this approach are available for managers and other personnel who want to implement axiomatic design. There are also guidebooks, websites, and other resources people can use. Firms may pay for education if their staff members can show how taking a class will improve efficiency and reduce overall costs. Employees may find it helpful to provide case studies from similar companies to show how other organizations applied axiomatic design and what kinds of benefits it offered.



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