Sketches from a Design Process: Creative Cognition Inferred From Intermediate Products

Cognitive Science 29 (1):79-101 (2005)
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Novice designers produced a sequence of sketches while inventing a logo for a novel brand of soft drink. The sketches were scored for the presence of specific objects, their local features and global composition. Self‐assessment scores for each sketch and art critics' scores for the end products were collected. It was investigated whether the design evolves in an essentially random fashion or according to an overall heuristic. The results indicated a macrostructure in the evolution of the design, characterized by two stages. For the majority of participants, the first stage is marked by the introduction and modification of novel objects and their local and global aspects; the second stage is characterized by changes in their global composition. The minority that showed the better designs has a different strategy, in which most global changes were made in the beginning. Although participants did not consciously apply these strategies, their self‐assessment scores reflect the stages of the process.



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Author Profiles

Murray Shanahan
Imperial College of Science and Technology