Sketching design thinking: representations of design in education and practice


Research on design pedagogy has shown that students progress through a variety of barriers on the path to becoming a successful design practitioner, and that frameworks for explicit reflection can be beneficial to the development of design students. Schön uses the concept of reflection-on- action to describe one form of reflection on design practice, with the eventual goal of improving design processes and judgment. In this study, sketching is used as a form of reflection-on-action in a first semester intensive course in interaction design (IxD). This sketch reflects the student’s current understanding of the “whole game” or holistic view of design in IxD. Current practitioners in IxD companies were asked to draw the “whole game” sketch as well. Parallels among the sketches and areas of divergence are discussed. In summary, students shifted from abstract, linear representations of process early in the semester to more concrete, iterative representations by the end of their first semester. Practitioner sketches were more abstract and linear, but also included representations of business terminology and design teams.


Gray, C. M. & Siegel, M. A. (2013). Sketching Design Thinking: Representations of Design in Education and Practice. DRS // CUMULUS 2013: 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Oslo, Norway, 2007-2031. [Paper]