Interplay Of Sketching & Prototyping In Early Stage Product Design

DS 86: Proceedings of The Fourth International Conference on Design Creativity,Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

Year: 2016
Editor: Julie Linsey, Maria Yang, and Yukari Nagai
Author: Qifang, Bao; Daniela, Faas; Maria, Yang
Series: ICDC
ISBN: 978-1-904670-82-7


Research suggests that, for the design of simple mechanisms, sketching and
prototyping are somewhat interchangeable in terms of their influence on design idea quantity and
quality. This study explores whether this interchangeability holds true for a product design
activity. Three conditions are compared: sketching only, prototyping only, and both prototyping
& sketching. A design evaluation metric, idea distance, is proposed to evaluate the breadth
of design space exploration. Results showed that individuals who sketched generated more
ideas and had more creative final designs, while individuals who prototyped had designs
that performed better functionally. Greater idea distance was found to correlate with more
creative ideas. However, exploring too broad a design space reduced the depth of design
idea exploration, and was negatively linked to the functional performance of the final design.

Keywords: Sketching, Prototyping, Idea Generation, Creativity

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