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Database Design Principles

Are you starting a new database design project to ramp up your database performance and keep your business information in check? Or perhaps you’re looking to build a new database from scratch? 

Read on to find out what you should be looking for when you select your database designer and the database design principles that should be followed for a successful database project.


The first step in database design is to select a good database designer, who has experience in software engineering and will work closely with you to ensure that your business and project goals are met at all stages of the process. 

Once you’ve found your dream designer, the next step is to determine the purpose of your database project. When working on your project, it is crucial that your database designer has a full understanding of your business model and how your business generates, consumes and stores its data. Once your database designer has determined the common language that defines what your business does and how it operates, the following questions can be used to map out the next stages: 

  1. Where does the business data come from?
  2. What counts as valid?
  3. What counts as invalid?
  4. How does the business need to manage their data?
  5. Are there any special conditions, requirements or constraints to consider?

By answering these questions and following basic database design principles, you will be headed in the right direction for a successful database project

So, what’s next?

…The design part! 

During the database design stage, you will map out how your business works and processes data. There are several elements to this, so we won’t bore you with the intricate details. In short, when designing a database, your database designer will work with you to:

  • Collate all of the information that you want to record (e.g. SKUs, order details)
  • Split that data into major entities
  • Determine the sub-level of data to go into those entities
  • Assign unique identifiers to the entities
  • Determine relationships between each entity

The final step is database performance testing, to make sure you get the results you’d expect and to check that everything is running smoothly.


You might already have a database in place, which needs some attention. Whether it requires some performance improvements or a fix, the above questions and database design principles will still be considered by any good database designer

Although the points should have been fully considered during the initial project, it is often important to reconsider them for any database project, to ensure that they are still correct. For example, business processes may have changed since your database was first designed, or you may even be experiencing database performance issues that are a result of an incorrect setup. 

It’s always good to go back to basics, just to be sure. Plus it helps your database designer to really understand the roots of your project and business model, to get your database to reach its full potential and make sure it’s in tip top condition!


A good database design process is led by some basic, but crucial, database design principles

Firstly, duplicate (or redundant) data should be avoided at all costs. Not only does it waste space, but it also increases the likelihood of data errors. 

Secondly, data must be accurate and complete. It sounds obvious, yet it is so important. Imagine pulling a report from the database, presenting that information during an important meeting, making decisions based on the data…only to find out that the data is all wrong! You need a database that you can count on, so that you don’t have to worry about misinformation. 

Thirdly, your database design should reflect your business model and data processing requirements. It should allow you to pull the information that you need to make good business decisions. 

In a nutshell, a well-designed database will be accurate, performant and will work to business requirements. It will enable the business to make well-informed decisions, based on correct and relevant data.


We’re experts in database design and development, as well as cleansing, importing and database performance tuning. We follow simple, but strict database design principles because we understand the importance of them. We work closely with all of our clients to understand your business needs and to make sure we’re on the same page throughout the process. 

If you’d like to discuss your database project with us, get in touch for a chat.

  • Written by Simon Proctor, October 05 2022