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Informal Graphics For Conceptual Design

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Assessment of Graphics Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.762.1 - 10.762.11



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Paper Authors

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Richard Devon

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1442

Informal Graphics for Conceptual Design

Richard Devon, Sven Bilén, Andras Gordon, and Hien Nguyen

Engineering Design Program School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs Penn State University

Abstract Engineers who work in innovative design spaces have very different CAD and graphics needs than those who work in more conventional design spaces. We propose to develop ideas about the graphical communication needs for conceptual design. This paper will illustrate what we mean by describing a few new methods such as feature-based sketching, and edited/annotated photos. We will also discuss preliminary trials using new technologies such as digital ink pens and tablets that occurred in late 2004. Formal trials will take place in the spring of 2005 in the context of a program offering an introductory engineering design course to about one thousand students a year and several upper division courses in innovative and global design. Our approach is an exploration of what we view as a new paradigm in engineering design graphics: informal techniques of graphical communication. While our approach is exploratory, we hope that this concept can help organize a new family of techniques and ideas in the engineering design graphics community. Some key concepts we deploy are conceptual design, informal graphics, rapid graphical communication, and optimal ignorance in the graphical communication process.

The Design Process The idea that engineering design is a process, or series of processes, rather than problem solving using analysis and good idea or two, is the most significant development in design over the last few decades. Further, this approach to design may be fruitfully applied in all fields of engineering. Perhaps no scholars deserve more credit for this development than Pahl and Beitz1 in Germany and a series of contributors in the UK such as Cross,2 Wallace,3 and Pugh.4 The idea of design as a process is still not widely accepted in engineering in the United States outside of engineering design faculty, but many new and excellent texts have helped promote it very well in design courses in industrial and mechanical engineering.5 We anticipate it spreading to other fields of engineering.

Most scholars who describe the design process actually do it in different ways.6 There may be an assumption that they all mean the same thing, although we doubt that these differences are meaningless. Similarly, no account covers the same design ideas and methods. Despite this, there is now an identifiable and complex body of knowledge we can call design, and there is no longer any excuse for treating design education as purely experiential projects and pre-study or

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Devon, R. (2005, June), Informal Graphics For Conceptual Design Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14431

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015