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Ways of Working

This essay presents an attempt to conceptualise and categorise how computers can be used in creative design processes. It focuses upon new experimental design techniques that have emerged from the use of graphical computers and powerful off-the-shelf software.

The material that is investigated stems mostly from the author’s own practice and teaching and the teaching of associated colleagues. Inspired by open coding techniques from grounded theory, this material is investigated and systematised according to typical working principles.

Amongst the investigated techniques we find animation and dynamics based techniques, data coding and recoding, parametric design methods, genetic algorithms and mouse-based modelling and sculpting techniques.

The results show that in most of the cases that were investigated, more than one working principle is found within the same design process. The principles can appear in separate phases of the process or in parallel or cyclic processes.

Further analysis of the results has led to the concept of hybrid processes, where different types of computer-based experimental methods are ambulated and mixed with traditional methods such as sketching and physical modelling.

To demonstrate such a hybrid process a case is presented where the bridging of digital and physical representation is the core issue in the design process as well as in the final result.