Incorporation of contextual factors into design processes is important for successful engineering design outcomes. Through document analysis and semi-structured interviews, we investigated the types of contextual factors incorporated by novice engineering designers and their approaches during design processes. Our findings demonstrated that participants primarily considered technical and institutional contextual factors across all design stages, informed largely by contextual observations and interviews with stakeholders. Socio-political contextual factors were less frequently considered. We also found that a broader set of contextual factors were incorporated when projects were set in unfamiliar contexts. And, contextual factors that could be easily quantified were more readily applied to design decisions. We suggest that there are opportunities for more intentional approaches to incorporating contextual factors throughout design processes.