Design Process in furniture making

Design Process in furniture making

Manawatu Woodworkers Guild - CAC Design Process Chart 900x867px 01

Define the Specifications

 Create a brief by questioning what it is your building who is it for? What challenges do you want to make in it?


Read magazines, look at the web find out what has been done before use these to redefine the brief.

Brainstorm Conceptualize

Draw pictures of the concept you have. Don’t be specific at this stage. Draw parts you want to identify in a way (such as the joins) Use inspirations.

Develop a solution Build a model

 Draw a detailed picture (tech draw) build a 3d model Make something that will look like the piece of furniture it will allow you to get an idea of the full construction how it will work.


Part of the model is to prototype parts if you are wishing to make a new joint or try something you haven’t built before trying it in a smaller scale may benefit the changes to your design.

Present your ideas

Use a group of friends or others to look at your idea and give feedback.  Use this to revise your concepts

Improve your design

Make changes based on feedback and improve things.

Build your design

Style vs Design

Style is concerned with the look of the piece of furniture so this is Colour, finishes, the way the legs look etc.

Design is concerned with the functionality. Does the piece of furniture meet the needs it is built for?

A piece of furniture built to design could be functional but ugly, a piece of furniture built only for style may not be functional.

Elements of Style

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Manawatu Woodworkers Guild - furnituretimeline

Style changes over the years as people discover new ways of doing things. This is where the research part of design comes into it. You can design anything that fits your tastes.

The Golden ratio

1.618 is considered the ideal look for proportions in a piece of furniture

Manawatu Woodworkers Guild - ratio

Design Research

Design research is important to the conceptualization of a project here are some links.

Pinterest is your friend

A New Zealand designer David Trubridge

A Distillation of learning on Design by Rosemary

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