Primary Generators: The Influence of Digital Modeling Environments in the Creative Design Process

Primary Generators: The Influence of Digital Modeling Environments in the Creative Design Process

Luis Alfonso Mejia (Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, USA & Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia) and Hugo Dario Arango (Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJVAR.2019070102


This article explores how digital media tools in geometric modeling environments (GME) and parametric design environments (PDE) affect the creative process. Primary generators, which are identified as creativity sparks which enhance the design process, have been previously studied through the action of sketching. According to Goldschmidt, sketching generates reflection over the generated ideas moving forward the creative process. Nevertheless, sketching has been gradually replaced by digital media tools considered restrictive to the creative process due to the lack of attributes required for reflection. With the evolution of digital media tools, modeling environments have opened the possibility for attributes such as multiplicity and ambiguity within the design process. Using protocol analysis as an empirical research method, this study assessed the occurrence of primary generators in GME and PDE. Differences in creative processes between the two studied digital environments were highlighted.
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A way to research creativity is by identifying creative moves along the design process for further analysis. This study assessed the occurrence of primary generators as defined by Darke (1979) to account for creative moves. Primary generators are understood as turning points involving previous knowledge and setting new goals to attain creative outcomes (Darke, 1979). Two digital modeling environments (GME and PDE) were researched for the occurrence of primary generators. Through the use of protocol analysis, the design process was registered, and a comparison between these modeling environments was recorded, coded, and analyzed, looking for primary generators as identifiable manifestations of creativity. This study addresses two main research questions.

  • RQ 1. Do primary generators occur within these modeling environments (GME and PDE), enhancing the creative process?

  • RQ 2. Since parametrization enhances unexpected discoveries which are exploited by the designer; will the occurrence of primary generators in PDE, be greater than GME?

For the reader’s comprehension, this study discusses the action of design, the kind of problems designer face, and how sketching and primary generators affect the design process. Finally, digital media environments were contrasted to understand their impact on creativity.

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