From Text to Design Solution: Inspiring Design Ideas with Texts

DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 9, Human Behavior in Design, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Goldschmidt, Gabriela; Litan Sever, Anat
Series: ICED
Section: Human Behavior in Design
Page(s): 15-26


A design is said to be as successful as the leading idea that drives it is. Mature designers make frequent use of 'stock ideas' accumulated over time and stored in memory and personal archives. Novices do not yet possess developed collections of sources that can be tapped. Previous research proved that the intentional exposure of novice designers to visual stimuli can provide cues that act as sources and inspire the generation of design concepts. In this study it was hypothesized that stimuli in the form of texts presented to student-designers along with a design problem, would improve the quality of their design solution. In an experiment participants solved two short design problems under three conditions: without stimuli, with stimuli in the form of texts related to the problem at hand, and with texts unrelated to the problem. Outcomes were graded by naïve judges for originality and practicality. Results show that both types of text yield designs that receive higher originality grades compared to the no-stimulus condition, but practicality is not affected. We propose that textual stimuli may be useful as part of the design process and as a pedagogical tool in the design studio.

Keywords: idea, originality, practicality, stimulus, text


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