An exploration of design synthesis

McTeague, Chris and Duffy, Alex and Campbell, Gerard and Grealy, Madeleine and Hay, Laura and Pidgeon, Laura and Vuletic, Tijana (2017) An exploration of design synthesis. In: 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED17), 2017-08-21 - 2017-08-25, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.. (

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Building on the contributions of existing works in the area of design ontology, this paper presents a hypothetical model of design synthesis which depicts design activities, design outputs and two modes of thought in design. The model is used as a basis upon which to explore design synthesis at multiple levels of cognitive granularity. Studies of conceptual design cognition lend support to a distinction between the creation of design elements and their composition. Additional studies of cognitive processing are reviewed and summarised in order to identify cognitive processes which might be involved in design composition. The review highlights several cognitive processes which have yet to be studied in an ecologically valid design context but which could form the basis of a multi-level model of design synthesis.


McTeague, Chris ORCID logoORCID:, Duffy, Alex ORCID logoORCID:, Campbell, Gerard, Grealy, Madeleine ORCID logoORCID:, Hay, Laura ORCID logoORCID:, Pidgeon, Laura ORCID logoORCID: and Vuletic, Tijana ORCID logoORCID:;