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Graduate School of Design,
National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

The study chiefly explored the linkage relationship between the searched content and the transformed ideas in the designer’s ideation
process through the observation methods of two practicing graphic designers. This paper proposes a simple behavioural flow and an in-
tresesting relationship between a designer’s seeing and sketching in the ideation process. The study should be regarded as a pilot study
for proposing an analytic method to the related research in the design field and other possible methods should be utilized to further study
the ideation process in the future for interpreting the deep linkage between the content they searched for and the ideas they generated.

What kind of stimulus the designers saw connects with which type of idea they got?
A designer’s designing is described as the well known interactive structure of “seeing-moving-seeing” (Schön and Wiggins 1992). Re-
ferring to Gero and Kannengiesser’s discourse (2004) about the designers’ three worlds in designing, their searching-retrieving (S-R) be-
haviour could be regarded as the external presentation driven by their expected world, and the targets they are seeing might be the
searched content that exists in their external world. However, what kind of stimuli a designer saw connects with which type of idea
he/she got has not been discussed so frequently in the past research. Therefore, the study chiefly explored the graphic designers’
searching-retrieving (S-R) behaviour and attempted to find the linkage relationship between the content they are searching for and the
content they are sketching in the ideation process for tracing the interlinking of their ideas as far as possible.

Experimental Design
1. The study carried out the observations in the two professional graphic designers’ practicing space. In order to avoid interrupting their
ideation process, we merely monitored their external and nonverbal behaviours throughout whole process by a digital camera.
2. Every participant in this experiment was allowed the greatest freedom to search for relevant data and given the needed time to
perform an assigned task in spite of the progress rate they achieved as the situated designing happened in everyday practice.
3. The observed data of the two graphic designers was segmented according to a set of behavioural coding scheme and examined to
ensure that all recorded behaviours could be categorized into the behavioural codes by the researchers.
4. The connective relationships between the searched content and the transformed ideas were drawn after discussing the exhibited order
of the two designers’ all behaviours and sketches in detail (see Figure 1).

Participant A Participant B

 
Heart, Wheel Chair, People 
and Sun 

 

 

 

 Keywords:

 Torch, Laurel

Figure 1. The searched or retrieved content and the done sketches of the two participants

1. A Designer’s behavioural flow in the ideation process can be divided into three main stages between the design brief and the design
presentation, “searching-retrieving for generating ideas”, “searching-retrieving for creating new sketches” and “visualizing”.
2. Designers tend to generate more different directions of ideas in the period of “searching-retrieving for generating ideas” stage while
combining different ideas or combining them with their imagination in the “searching-retrieving for creating new sketches” stage.
3. The visual stimuli with more concrete features that designers found were utilized to combine with others to form a complete idea
while the visual stimuli with more abstract features seem to be combined with the designer’s imagination to form some ideas that
differed from the previous ideas.