In search of lost materiality; The case of digital modelling in Industrial Design Engineering
Over the recent years, Industrial Design Engineering students at Linköping University have frequently been observed to go directly from sketches into CAD, without making simple sketch models for evaluation in the early stages of their design process. This workflow gives them less information in their decision-making process and they lose the materiality of physical models, which is an aspect that many designers and researchers consider crucial for the development of form. This discussion paper explores whether this is an increasing trend and if so how it affects the breadth of design space exploration. In total, 25 master theses, covering a period of nine years, on Design and Product Development from Linköping University have been analysed. The design representations used and the diversity of the ideas across the product development process were visualized in graphs. This mapping supports our preliminary observation that the use of physical models is declining and suggests this decline correlates to a narrower exploration of the design space.