Database design is the process of producing a detailed data model of a database. This logical data model contains all the needed logical and physical design choices and physical storage parameters needed to generate a design in a Data Definition Language, which can then be used to create a database. A fully attributed data model contains detailed attributes for each entity.

The term database design can be used to describe many different parts of the design of an overall database system. Principally, and most correctly, it can be thought of as the logical design of the base data structures used to store the data – in the relational model these are the tables and views. However, the term database design could also be used to apply to the overall process of designing, not just the basic data structures, but also the forms and queries used as part of the overall database application within the Database Management System or DBMS.

Design Process

The process of doing database design generally consists of a number of steps which will be carried out by the database designer. Not all of these steps will be necessary in all cases, but most usually, the designer must:

  • Determine the data to be stored in the database
  • Determine the relationships between the different data elements
  • Superimpose a logical structure upon the data on the basis of these relationships

Within the relational model the final step can generally be broken down into two further steps that of determining the grouping of information within the system, generally determining what are the basic objects about which information is being stored, and then determining the relationships between these groups of information, or objects.

The tree structure of data may enforce hierarchical model organization, with parent-child relationship table.