Bridging the Design Gap: Towards an intuitive Design Tool (CD ROM)

Robert E. Wendrich, Hendrik Tragter, Frans Kokkeler, Frederikus J.A.M. van Houten

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A main task of industrial designers is the shaping and transformations of ideas or fuzzy notions into abstract or materialized equivalents. These sketches, models or other representations can be described as the sum of form and shape aspects, aesthetics, intuitive qualities as well as technical and sustainable functionalities. The designer must understand the elements involved in this synthesis of form giving and design. Successful designers compose these characteristics carefully and join them together to form and shape artefacts into a harmonious and balanced whole, while simultaneously manoeuvring within implicit and explicit mechanical and functional aspects. With the emergence of 3D computational design, the industrial design process shifted from traditional analogue physical representations of ideas or artefacts to digital virtual realities. This shift is creating pre-dominance of digital design over the idiosyncrasies of analogue craftsmanship of the designer. Loss of control, immediacy, manual dexterity and skills due to constraint in electronic interfaces (keyboard-mouse-monitor) and programmer's directions, gave way to alienation of the physical material world. With every new generation of design students, the widening gap is transforming intuitive design qualities and skills into virtual data processing inertia. We follow two paths in our attempt to bridge this gap. The first is a set of experiments that aim to measure the effectiveness and other qualities of various shaping techniques. Knowledge about learning curves, quality of the design results and the focus of particular methods enables decisions about ‘the right’ curriculum for Design students. The second path is the creation of a hybrid design tool where designers are engaged and in which the intuitive and imaginative skills are stimulated, explored and triggered. This paper explores the distinctions between the analogue and digital representation tools, explain our laboratory experiments, testing results, educational embedding and creative opportunities that emerge from hybrid design tools. For our testing experiments, we used seven (7) haptic representational configurations and set-ups, and involved over 150 test subjects per experiment to map results. In these configurations we measure the performance of form giving and shaping techniques Bridging the Design Gap: Towards an Intuitive Design Tool. Available from: [accessed Apr 18, 2017].
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 26th ICSID World Design Congress and Education Congress 2009
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2009
EventThe 26th ICSID World Design Congress and Education Congress 2009 - Singapore
Duration: 23 Nov 200925 Nov 2009


ConferenceThe 26th ICSID World Design Congress and Education Congress 2009
Other23-25 November 2009


  • IR-104518
  • METIS-262824

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