Sketching in design: formalising a transformational process

S. Lim, M. Prats, S. Chase, S. Garner, W. Nakapan (Editor), E. Mahaek (Editor), K. Teeraparbwong (Editor), P. Nilkaew (Editor), AHRC (Funder), EPSRC (Funder)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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The process of sketching can support the sort of transformational thinking that is seen as essential for the interpretation and reinterpretation of ideas in innovative design (Suwa 2003). In this paper, the initial outputs and findings of an ongoing project called Design Synthesis and Shape Generation are described based on experimental investigations of the mechanics of sketching from practicing architects and industrial designers as they responded to a series of conceptual design tasks. Preliminary analyses of the experimental data suggest that the interactions of designers with their sketches can be formalised according to a finite number of generalised shape rules. These rules formalise the transformations and reinterpretation of shapes for example through deformation or restructuring.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCAADRIA 2008
Subtitle of host publicationbeyond Computer-Aided Design
Place of PublicationChiang Mai, Thailand
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • sketching
  • exploration
  • computer supported design
  • shape rule

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