Loughborough Design School's (UK) Design Practice Research Group

for all things design practice with research activities coducted, 'for and by design:  outcomes range between the fundamental (e.g. expanding the knowledge  base of design) to the applied (e.g. developing the principles and  practice of industrial design).'

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/lds/research/groups/design-practice/

The group is dircted by Dr. Mark Evans - practitioner, teacher, researcher and academic.

Jude Pullen's (Design Engineer at Dyson) excellent site devoted to all things design modelling. Including clips from his workshop series and modelling tools, skills and techniques:

http://www.judepullen.com/designmodelling/

Erik Stolterman and Martin Siegel's Research into Interaction Design Practice Group.

One of the few groups exploring how design practitioners understand their own design practice. It has, of course a focus upon interation design - but the research quality means it has broader significance for design and designing which cuts accross disciplines:

http://uxdesignpractice.com/

iD Cards

An excellent taxonomic classification of design representations. iD cards have clear application within industry in offering more effective collaboration between design and engineering. What's more exciting for us is that the taxonomy offers a first attempt to classify design representation that will surly become a milestone in our understanding of design representation and its critical role in design practice:

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/media/wwwlboroacuk/content/lds/downloads/undergraduatestudy/id-cards.pdf

Design Practice Group | Engineering Design Centre | Cambridge University

The Design Practice Group researches the relationships between designers, artefacts and users. In particular, we study the following practices:

  • the specification of artefacts by designers (and also how designers consider users in that process);
  • the interaction between users and artefacts (and also how users consider designers during those interactions);
  • the communication between designers and users (and also how artefacts mediate those communications).

    Our research is highly interdisciplinary, and this is manifest in two ways. First, when seeking to establish the conceptual foundations of particular aspects of design, there is a broad base of existing knowledge to draw on and this knowledge is distributed across many different academic and professional disciplines. It is therefore necessary to identify the most relevant ideas developed in other fields and bring these ideas into design research. Second, when conducting empirical enquiries into the relationships between designers, artefacts and users, a broad range of research methodologies are useful and these originate from many different disciplinary traditions. Consequently, the identification, adaptation and implementation of appropriate research methods is important to conducting and presenting our work.

    http://www-edc.eng.cam.ac.uk/research/designpractice/