The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
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Research Paper #453

Title:The Role of Prototypes in Creative Design
Authors:Logan,B; Smithers,T
Date:Dec 1989
Presented:Prepared for the International Round-Table Conference on Modelling Creativity and Knowledge-Based Creative Design, Heron Island, Queensland, Australia, December
Abstract:This paper considers the problem of creative design and in particular the role of a priori knowledge or 'prototypes' in the design process. A design problem is characterised as one in which both the objectives and the means available for achieving these objectives are (of necessity) initially only poorly defined. We then present some observations concerning the nature of design process based on this characterisation, and develop a model of the design activity as a knowledge-based exploration task. The role of prototypes in organising this knowledge is examined, and we challenge the widely accepted view that prototypes can form the principle source of knowledge for creativity in design. In a final section we outline the structural principles of a representation scheme being developed to support design which aims to overcome these criticisms.

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