Design is Like… Making Sense of Things Through the Creative use of Analogy

Mike McAuley Part of CW18

This study discusses analogical reasoning and its role in creative problem solving. Specifically it looks at how novice first year university design students responded to the task of communicating a complex topic through the generation of a visual analogy; in this instance the task of explaining some aspect of what design is. Students were introduced to various theories about design and design process. They were also introduced to theories around analogical reasoning, particularly those around mapping. The students were then asked to demonstrate their understanding, not through critical discourse, but through applied creative practice. To provide a context, students had to create an illustration with the title ‘Design is Like…’. The findings suggest that the praxis based approach acted as an empirical bridge between theory and practice, providing students with an identifiable creative strategy and meta-cognitive awareness of their own design process