Structure in idea sketching behaviour

Manolya Kavakli*, Stephen A R Scrivener, Linden J. Ball

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a study designed to investigate the structure of idea sketches, here defined as the initial free-hand drawn externalisations produced by a designer of envisioned, or partially envisioned, entities. In the study, participants were asked, to sketch freely from memory a number of chairs and to design a chair. The results obtained from analyzing the drawing process provide clear evidence for structure in idea sketching behaviour which is largely explained by reference to either volumetrical or functional cognitive models of the recalled or designed objects. This suggests that there is an intimate relationship between the cognitive and perceptual processes that are brought to bear on the recall and design tasks and idea sketching. It is concluded that the detailed study of sketching behaviour may provide a fruitful approach to understanding the relationship between cognition, the sketch, and sketching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-517
Number of pages33
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer supported design
  • Conceptual design
  • Creativity
  • Design cognition
  • Drawing
  • Perception


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