The intuitive distinction between design and research tends to be challenged based on the
complex nature of design. By introducing concepts from the philosophy of mind, the paper tries
to clarify this distinction at a conceptual and psychological level. Instead of considering design
as a mix of knowledge creation and application, the process is decomposed in distinct yet
interacting mental acts, in which designers establish relationships with (objects in) the world.
Detailed analysis of this relationship forms the basis for a nuanced, yet fundamental comparison
with the relationship researchers establish with the world, and may help address the question
about design’s contribution to the creation of new knowledge.