The purpose of a conceptual model is to provide a vocabulary of terms and concepts that can be used to describe problems and/or solutions of design. It is not the purpose of a model to address specific problems, and even less to propose solutions for them. Drawing an analogy with linguistics, a conceptual model is analogous to a language, while design patterns are analogous to rhetorical figures, which are predefined templates of language usages, suited particularly to specific problems.
As the size of software systems increases, the algorithms and data structures of the computation no longer constitute the major design problems. When systems are constructed from many components, the organization of the overall system the software architecture presents a new set of design problems. This level of design has been addressed in a number of ways including informal diagrams and descriptive terms, module interconnection languages, templates and frameworks for systems that serve the needs of specific domains, and formal models of component integration mechanisms.