CoLab is one of the outcomes from a Loughborough Design School PhD undertaken by Dr Eujin Pei and supervised by Dr Mark Evans and Dr Ian Campbell who are members of the Design Practice Research Group. The aim of the research was to improve collaboration between engineering designers and industrial designers during NPD.


Literature review, action research, surveys and observations were used to collect data during the development of CoLab. A central feature of the research methodology was a high degree of global engagement with educators and practitioners, with support being received from leading universities, consultancies and manufacturers.


Research findings indicated a need to facilitate greater understanding of the language and methods used by engineering designers and industrial designers. The key design representations employed during NPD were identified and surveys undertaken to establish when they were used and for what types of information. This generated large amounts of data that was converted into a playing card-based tool that was validated during the PhD. Further details on the PhD can be accessed at

CoLab website

With support from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s STEM programme and Loughborough University's Engineering Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (engCETL), Dr Mark Evans and Dr Eujin Pei undertook conversion of the card-based tool into an open access web site to support the education and practice of engineering designers and industrial designers at all levels.. Loughborough Design School would like to thank its industrial/product design students for contributing the images used in the taxonomy of design representations.