Skip to Main Content

About the DRS

The Design Research Society (DRS) is a learned society committed to promoting and developing design research.


The aims of the DRS are: 

\ Recognising design as a creative act common to many disciplines

\ Advancing the theories, methods, and practices of design

\ Understanding research and its relationship to education and practice

We realise these by:

\ Encouraging the development of scholarship and knowledge in design

\ Contributing to the development of doctoral education and research training

\ Sharing knowledge across the boundaries of design disciplines

\ Facilitating networks to exchange and communicate ideas, experience and research findings among members

\ Disseminating research findings

\ Promoting awareness of design research

\ Organising and sponsoring conferences, and publishing proceedings

\ Encouraging communications between members internationally

\ Responding to consultative documents

\ Collaborating with other bodies

\ Lobbying on behalf of members' research interests

\ Recognising excellence in design research through awards

\ Sponsoring email discussion groups and a monthly emailed newsletter

Current Activities

The DRS is involved in a number of activities to foster and promote research and scholarship across all fields of design. The society sponsors, and is affiliated with, a wide range of design research activities. These include conferences and events of the International Association of Design Research Societies (IASDR) and Cumulus the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media.

In collaboration with a host university, the DRS organises a biennial international conference (DRS20XX). The DRS also organises a variety of symposia and provides support and sponsorship for design research events for affiliated organisations. DRS Special Interest Groups organise their own programmes of conferences and meetings.

The DRS publishes the monthly electronic Design Research Newsletter and proceedings of its conferences both in paper and online formats. The Society has a long-term affiliation with Design Studies journal (published by Elsevier) and has associative agreements with an increasing list of design research journals worldwide that enable DRS members to purchase these journals at reduced prices.


History and governance

The DRS is the longest established, multi-disciplinary worldwide society for the design research community. The Design Research Society was founded in the UK in 1966. The origins of the Society lie in the Conference on Design Methods, held in London in 1962, which enabled a core of people to be identified who shared interests in new approaches to the process of designing.

The purpose of the DRS, as embodied in its first statement of rules, was to promote ‘the study of and research into the process of designing in all its many fields'. The DRS Rules  set out how the society is governed. The Annual General Meeting reports detail the governance, finance, activities, and plans of the society.