You asked: “What FORM does design research take as an artifact to
communicate/convey its knowledge”.
In a very fast and intuitive way, design knowledge is, firstly, Form
knowledge or knowledge about form (useless if not ultimately about form).
Thus, design research knowledge should be about Form. So, a first answer
should be: any design knowledge communicating/conveying artifact should
have a form about form. (I must stress that I’m only saying this because
you are asking for an artifact)
So, what Form does design research takes (as an artifact)?
Another thing is that it is assumed in your question is that there is
a “design research as”, meaning that we can imagine “design research as
not an artifact”, “design research as an artifact that do not
communicate/convey knowledge” and “design research that convey its
knowledge”. Also, you imply by your question that there is a form to be
taken by design research while becoming artifact.
The first examples you provided of artifacts were good examples of
artifacts although of different epistemological levels (as Terry pointed
out, I think). Although a blue print is clearly an artifact is not in the
same level of a poster or a car. These are final stages of a production
process (some would argue that they are outside the production process)
and the blue print is clearly one of the stages leading to the final
object: a building, a city, whatever. Well, all these have Form which
means that its wholeness may not be accessible to us as Form, being Form a
sum of all its morphological characteristics perceived as such. I must
stress SUM because the form you whish should correspond to a word. (If I
would say the Form of design research as artifact in one of a pear, we
would say that design research looks like a pear with those kinds of
little stains and two round parts, and not that design research tastes
like granola sweet fresh water). That’s why a blue print is a different
artifact than the poster or the car because it encapsulates
representations of forms: its main formal characteristic is to be
representing other forms and not itself as a form whereas the car and the
poster are formally just representing themselves.
In a sense design research knowledge is always “blueprintish” as
something, even if constructed after design (studying the real life of
design objects), always placed before designing. First, because if it were
placed while designing it would be design. Second, because to incorporate
design is its goal (and not to be design). Design Research Knowledge
helps to build Design Knowledge. Design knowledge is the required
knowledge to give form to designed things, as our friend Thomas Rasmussen
Clive Dilnot, stressed the importance of configuration. Proven to be
right, Clive’s Configuration, a specific way to describe Form as Design,
would be the formal manifestation of design Knowledge (great or poor).
Design Knowledge would be essentially configurative and consequently made
through the articulation of figures (images). Design research knowledge
should, or would help to, configurate by pre figuration (while designing).
If I’m allowed a logic leap from here, I would say that the artifact that
you seek is the LECTURE. In a more elaborated way, the artifact you seek
has the form of a university course, a sequence of lectures, a sequence of
works, assignments ultimately related to form giving or form making. Even
more ultimately, the artifact you are asking for is a system of courses
conducting to a university degree, not only the doctoral degree, but
especially the degrees that will “produce” designers as educated form
If you want to study THE ARTIFACT of design research knowledge
communication, focus on the Lecture or the system of lectures. There is a
lot to be learned from that.