Design is one of those steps between the invisible and the real, I think.
It’s the step where pencil or crayon is applied to paper or canvas, where shapes and dimensions and relations are sketched but before the final flesh and skin are put on and the creation is brought to life.
I think of this now as I am writing blueprints for three projects. Oh, not literal blueprints but written ones with a few images included. But blueprint is a good word for this – think of those balsa wood model airplanes some of us used to make as kids where the printed diagram was pinned to a board and the balsa parts themselves laid on top and glued in place. In automotive manufacturing I think they are called forms, used to mold the metal. The forms themselves originated from full scale clay models of the car contours.
So another word for design might be model – a working model, in a sense, because you can see how the parts fit together, up to a point, before committing real brick and mortar… or real cash and artist time.