Design Concept Formation

Ullman_1992: examines design concept formation in designing or redesigning devices with specific functionality, within the context of mecchanical engineering. Generation of multiple concepts for the same task as:

  • functional decomposition: breaking down the needed function of a device as finely as possiblewith as few assumptions about form as possible
  • concept generation from functions: listing conceptual ideas for each function that come from the designer’s own expertise enhanced through brainstorming etc.

Schon_1963: proposes the displacement of concepts as a principle that explains innovation. Old concepts can be used as a projective model for new situations, transformed or transposed. Design process is considered a situated activity during which designers seek to solve a problem where the conceptual task is to frame the problem. For this puprpose the designer initiates a reflective conversation involving action and reflection on the consequences.

Gero_1998: draws examples from the genetic engineering of evolutionary systems to show that design concept formation is based on the emergence of patterns in the available design representations.

Richards et al._2007: presents an analysis on the use of frameworks in electrical engineering, with the goal to identify practices to improve the development of systems. Three key issues:

  • artifacts in system design
  • benefits provided by frameworks
  • the measures of effectiveness for assessing the value of frameworks.



Kotsopoulos, S.D., 2007, “Design concepts in architecture: the porosity paradigm”,  Proceeding SW+W2.0’07 Proceedings of the First International Conference on Semantic Web and Web 2.0 in Architectural, Product and Engineering Design – Volume 294, pp. 69-80, available here

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