Delft University of Technology, Faculty of architecture (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 5139-5150
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Although the term 'visual thinking' was probably coined for the first time by Arnheim in the 70-ies of the last century, its use in design disciplines is rather new. Even though some authors and professional designers intuitively and implicitly made use of visual thinking earlier, it is in the last decennium that research in the cognitive sciences has made clear the intricate relation between thinking, learning and doing. In this 'doing' the representation plays a key role. It is here were also the relation with design disciplines gets into the picture since all design is relying heavily on imagining the future situation by different kinds of representation. Core element of visual thinking is the idea that drawing, visualising and abstraction are means to acquire new knowledge. The research question for this paper is how this new insight can be applied in teaching in a design curriculum at the Master's level.
In the first part, we research the relation between design, problem solving and visual thinking. We consider abstraction as a necessary step in visual thinking.
In the second part the role of visual thinking in different phases of the design process is elaborated. We distinguish three aspects in visual thinking that are crucial; abstraction, analogy and representation. It results in a matrix where the relations between the three aspects of visual thinking and the different phases in the design process are made clear.
In the third part we pay attention to how to integrate these insights into a teaching approach. Teaching of visual thinking is in our view dependent on gaining insight into the process of synthesis by imagining, learning, discovering and invention.
One of the conclusions is that hand drawing plays a key role in the conceptual phase of the design process. Secondly that teaching of abstraction, analogy and representation relies heavily on 'learning by doing' and thus giving the student the possibility in gaining insight into his/her own potential in this domain.
Design teaching, visualisation, design knowledge, diagrams, hand drawing, abstraction, analogy, representation.