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Interplay Of Computer And Paper Based Sketching In Design

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Spatial Ability and Visualization in Graphics Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.797.1 - 15.797.16



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Paper Authors

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Rui (Celia) Pan Purdue University

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Shih-Ping Kuo Purdue University

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Johannes Strobel Purdue University

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

Interplay of computer and paper-based sketching in design


Concept generation is an important phase in design, when designers start generating ideas and develop thoughts. One of the tools that designers use to help them think during this early stage of design is paper-based-sketches. Previous research indicates that paper sketches can help designers better communicate their ideas and progress their design30. However, new technologies, such as computer software that relates to visual representation and design, are impacting the traditional paper-based design. As few studies focus on the comparison between computer-aided-design and traditional-paper-based design42, 5, 26, it is still not clear how designers work both with paper sketches and computers and how the different media influence the design process. More research is needed if we want to have a deeper understanding of how computers and paper sketches as design tools complement each other and contribute to different aspects of the design task. In addition, while the literature is rich on research on professional designers, little research addresses how and for what purpose student designers use different tools and how these tools help students design. This research can inform the teaching of design.

Guided by the following questions, this research presents work that examines student designers’ attitude and choices towards the use of computers and paper sketches when involving in a graphic design process and explores how computers and sketches help students in the early stage of design.

1) What kind of difficulties students meet in the concept generation stage? 2) Which tool do student designers prefer to use when they are in the concept generation stage of design? How do computers and paper sketches help students design? 3) To what extent do paper sketches and computers complement each other for novice designers? 4) What strengths and weaknesses do student designers perceive on themselves, when working on the design task?

Literature review

1) Design process

What is design?

A number of studies have been done on how designers design. In general, research shows that design activity is different from typical scientific and scholarly activities. A distinct “designerly” form separates design from other activities10.Lawson 28

Pan, R. C., & Kuo, S., & Strobel, J. (2010, June), Interplay Of Computer And Paper Based Sketching In Design Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16361

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