Descriptive models of creative design: application to an example

Cross, Nigel (1997). Descriptive models of creative design: application to an example. Design Studies, 18(4) pp. 427–440.



The ‘creative leap’, in which a novel concept emerges - perhaps quite suddenly - as a potential design solution, is widely regarded as a characteristic feature of creative design. This paper is based on an example of a ‘creative leap’ which occurred during a recorded study of the activity of a small design team. The characteristics and context of this ‘creative leap’ are reconstructed from the recorded material. The procedures underlying generic descriptive models of creative design are used to provide further insight into the example. Observations are made on implications for computer modelling of creative design. It is concluded that the perceptual act underlying creative insight in design is more akin to ‘bridging’ than ‘leaping’ the chasm between problem and solution.

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