Adaptation of Sources of Inspiration in Knitwear Design

Eckert, Claudia and Stacey, Martin (2003). Adaptation of Sources of Inspiration in Knitwear Design. Creativity Research Journal, 15(4) pp. 355–384.



In an experimental study of designing by adaptation, professional and student knitwear designers were videotaped designing sweaters based on a Persian rug or a 19th century tapestry. The designers used a range of source-triggered and goal-directed adaptation strategies to create adaptations ranging from the closest possible translations into the medium to radical transformations of abstract characteristics. While each strategy sometimes led to each type of adaptation, the source-triggered strategies were predominant for the easy-to-adapt source (the rug) and typically led to close adaptations; while the goal-directed strategies were more common for the more difficult source (the tapestry), and more often led to more radical transformations of the source. The professional designers made more use of goal-directed strategies than the student designers. The study supports the view that creative behavior can usefully be described in terms of consistent patterns resulting from both task demands and from cognitive capacities and learned skills.

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