THE ROLES OF SKETCHING IN DESIGN: MAPPING THE TENSION BETWEEN FUNCTIONS IN DESIGN SKETCHES

Peter Vistisen

Abstract


This paper examines how the role of sketching in design process has been disseminated previously through a review of prior perspectives into the field. We identify that the studies of design sketching has been dominated by two perspectives: studies into what is known as ‘visual thinking’ (Goldschmidt 1991, Schön & Wiggins 1992, Tversky et al. 1999), which examines the designers reflective conversation with the sketch, and a second perspective on sketching as way of ‘visual communication’ with others in the design process (Lugt 2005, Schütze 2003, Buxton 2010). We raise the question of whether it is reasonable to combine the two different roles of sketching to form a more intertwined relationship - seeing the two as sides of the same coin. Based on the terminology of Olofsson & Sjöflen (2005) four functions are identified as being representative for the different roles sketching can take in the design process: investigative, explorative, communicative, and persuasive. We appropriate these categories into a tension field, reflecting how the role of the same sketch may change over the course of time in the design project, based upon the type of knowledge required to gain from the sketch at a given time.

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