Design Research

Design-led research is human-centred, undertaken to prepare the groundwork for strategic design and the development of products, services and systems. It is about understanding and meeting human needs. BAC Partners augments this with technology research as a powerful enabler of modern design goals.

Aspect Market Research Design Research
Orientation Marketing Design
Goal Preferences & Opinions Human Interactions
Focus Logic Empathy
Outcome Human Thoughts & Expectations Human Behaviour & Interaction
Method Opinion based Observation based
Source Structured data Semi-structured data
Design research and market research are fundamentally different.

It is important to understand this distinction between design research and market research. Market research relies on a “push” strategy – sending out the message in the hope that someone hears it, design research relies on a “pull” strategy – making a product/service/offering so great that customers are “pulled” to it. Given the way interactions are captured, design research allows insights into the world and experiences of the customer. To achieve breakthrough design, innovation and customer-focused products and services, these experiential insights are pivotal.

The knowledge gained through design research feeds directly into the design process. This knowledge is generated through careful planning and execution of appropriate research methods; thoughtful interpretation of findings aimed at capturing new insights; and informed recommendations for immediate application to the design problem.

Ethnography underpins design research, helping to understand how people interact with a product, service or system, and, more importantly, what they want to do with it. Needs can surface through this primary research that people don’t know they have. Secondary research focuses on information collected and synthesised from existing data.

BAC Partners provides design research using our proprietary Design4Digital methodology. We also provide design research services to our clients to assist them to identify design options and determine opportunities. The services as part of design research are below.


Understand an organisational challenge and define a clear scope. Leverage several methods to define the challenge and increase understanding.


Primary and Secondary research leveraging digital ethnography. Analyse and synthesise findings to define key opportunities and challenges.

Identify White Space

Whitespace addresses unknown and identified unmet and unarticulated needs. Use triage outcomes to define products or services that don’t yet exist.

How Might It Work

Define opportunities in terms of how they might work. This leverages the learning from prior steps and develops “To Be” or “What If” scenarios.
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