Reductionism as a Tool for Creative Exploration

Shiro Inoue, Paul Rodgers, Nick Spencer, Andy Tennant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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This paper reports on research that investigates how qualitative reduction of elements of an object might stimulate creativity amongst design practitioners. As humans, we have the ability to generate a complete image of an object as a representation even when parts of the three-dimensional object are missing, as long as appropriate visual clues are given. If reduced elements of an object describe the complete state of the object, element reduction might be utilised as a trigger for further creative imagination. In other words, designing the way to reduce elements of an object might be an opportunity to stimulate a design practitioner’s imagination. In order to explore the possibilities of reductionism in design, the authors conducted an experiment wherein design students were given varying levels of reduced information in a design representation and asked to complete the design using simple 3D materials. We observed the ways in which the design students approached the original image of an object using images whose quality were reduced in a variety of ways. The results indicate that even if the design students saw a visually-reduced image of an object, they develop their imagination relying on three factors: materiality, composition and prior-knowledge. The authors suggest that reducing these informative elements could possibly be the key to stimulating their imagination.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design
EditorsLouise Valentine, Brigitte Borja de Mozota, Julien Nelson, Sevi Merter, Paul Atkinson
ISBN (Print)9781843873938
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2015
Event11th European Academy of Design (EAD) - Boulogne Billancourt
Duration: 1 Apr 2015 → …


Conference11th European Academy of Design (EAD)
Period1/04/15 → …


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