9 types of design constraints

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23 April 2021
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Design constraints are limitations on a design. These include imposed limitations that you don’t control, and limitations that are self-imposed as a way to improve a design. The following are common types of design constraints.

1-    Commercial Constraints
Basic commercial constraints such as time and budget.

2-    Requirements
Functional requirements such as specifications of features for a website.

3-    Non-Functional requirements
Requirements that specify intangible elements of a design. For example, non-functional requirements that a building be accessible.

4-     Compliance
Compliance to applicable laws, regulations and standards.

5-     Style
A style guide or multiple style guides related to an organization, brand, product, service, environment or project. For example, a product development team may follow a style guide for a brand family that constrains the colors and layout of package designs.

6-    Sensory Design
Beyond visual design, constraints may apply to taste, touch, sound and smell. For example, a brand identity that calls for products to smell fruity.

7-    Usability
Usability principles, frameworks and standards. For example, the principle of least astonishment.

8-    Principles
The design principles of an organization, team or individual. For example, a designer who uses form follows function to constrain designs.

9-    Integration
A design that needs to work with other things such as products, services, systems, processes, controls, partners and information.

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