Here, some definitions by prof. Franco C. Grossi, from his university course on "Ergonomics Applied to Industrial Design".
1. The concept of Design.
The noun “design” is so defined by the Oxford dictionary: “ A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made ”. So, the designer is the professional who prepares plans and drawings to project the look of workings prior they being made. Here, we must specify the difference between the "artist" and the "designer". The artist produces masterpieces mainly for himself, in which every man perceives his own metaphysics, such as imagining through them, his own being, knowing, identity, time, and space. The designer, on the other hand, shortens the distance between art and users, designing useful works, which can also be useless, but planned to meet the needs of users. So, the designer plans not for himself, but to satisfy the demands of the users.
2. The main role of Ergonomics in favor of Design planning.
Since Design is intended to plan for granting and fulfilling every desire and wishes of the customers, before of all it is necessary to study these needs carefully, in order to execute projects that fully meet the specific requirements. Ergonomics is able to provide the methodology to identify user needs, to test products in preview and to provide the designer with specific planning guidelines. The etymology of the word Ergonomics derives from two terms of ancient Greek: “ Ergon”, which means "work" and “ Nomos”, which means "rule, law". The most used test in Ergonomics is Usability, which is a technique to evaluate objects, services, products, processes of production etc.
3. The Handcraft Design vs. the Industrial Design
Before the advent of the industrial revolution, that is the mass production, the only productive mode for the realization of objects of use, in other words of useful objects, which would serve for the everyday life of relations, was only the 'crafts. The artisan activity, by its very nature, is a work that must be "done with the hands" and even if there is a partial intervention of the machine. Another prerogative of handicraft production, has always been the creation of objects of use, that is products with limited aesthetic independence, but intended for a specific use, which differentiates the classification from that of the "objects of Artistic Craftsmanship". On the other hand, Industrial Design is oriented towards the production of objects that do not depend on functional and / or artistic problems and that are expressly designed for their mass production.