This paper presents a description of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Design/Process Planning Integration (DPPl) Project, which addresses the need for improving communications between design and process planning activities. Specifically, we focus on the early phases of design and our efforts to link conceptual design ideas to corresponding ones in process planning. After describing the project goals and the mechanisms to achieve those goals, we review representative Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Process Planning (CAPP) software tools. The review reveals the lack available design and process planning tool integration, especially at the conceptual level. To begin our development of an information model suitable for integrating design and process planning knowledge, we developed a prototype conceptual design of a planetary gearbox. At the conceptual level, we associate several design issues with process planning ones and show that these issues can be related in a meaningful way, even at the conceptual level. We conclude that developing associations between design and process planning is meaningful and can be integrated to improve the way engineers design products.