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Digital Creativity


About the project

Digital technology offers the possibility to rethink the design process even to a degree where our conception of visual creativity is questioned. This thesis investigates the preconditions for an expansion of the traditional design techniques, and to invent, explore, develop and systematise new techniques that are specially developed to draw advantage from design computing. This thesis documents and develops a long-term exploration of a special type of design, the digital design that appeared during the nineties and that possibly started with the animation techniques introduced by Greg Lynn and the experimental use of diagrams introduced by Peter Eisenman.

This thesis, focuses on the early stages of the design process; the explorative phases before the constrains of realisation start to narrow down the options. It presents several approaches spanning from simple techniques such as “direct modelling” to complex design processes where the computer’s potential as a creative design tool is exploited. The latter approach implies reaching beyond direct representation of the artefact and operates in stages of abstraction. This could imply an intuitive and tentative-heuristic process where the translation, transformation and interpretation of visual material are central. On the other hand, a process reaching beyond figurative representation of the artefact could implement a meticulous diagrammatic rendering of forces, agents and features that are not directly perceivable but nonetheless crucial for the design process, especially when dealing with complex contexts. These mappings of dynamic relations are treated as arenas for creative design innovation.

The thesis propagates a view of the design process as non-conclusive open- ended and continuously under construction. Digital technology does not replace any existing design methodology, strategy, medium or technique. On the contrary, the new ideas stemming from the introduction of digital technology inspire us to develop richer and more varied approaches where the traditional ways of working are part of a whole.

This new and richer design process ambulates between rationality and intuition, between research and exploration, between the casual and the heuristic, the linear and the networked. When this manifold design process is strategized in a way that takes advantage of the synergies that surface in the process, I call this the Hybrid Process. The Hybrid Process is a richer multi- layered and heuristic design process that has much larger potential and openings to develop it in different directions. The new digital design technologies demand and create a flexible and conceptual state where the design process alters between non-rational probing and rationalisation.

Funding: AHO