what is writing? a form of "marking,"which extends human memory by imprinting information into any media.
writing generally starts as iconographic and then develops. as in this Shang dynasty (1200 BC) oracle bones, China.
the scripture is a form of divination
or cuneiform, in Asia Minor (cuneiform is a variation of iconography that becomes logophonetic, i.e. marks and sounds).
see that these marks indicate something: a thing, animal, a practice.
in both examples, the Chinese and the Sumerian you clearly see things being represented.
these markings constitute a design form. the design is pervasive to the form, but the form itself is an idea, i.e., a "mental mark." and the mental mark comes from the actual practice of the culture.
so, to "design" is to feel the practice of the culture.