June 14, 2016 – Evidence-based design heuristics for idea generation
How do product designers create multiple concepts to consider? To address this question, we combine evidence from four empirical studies of design process and outcomes, including award-winning products, multiple concepts for a project by an experienced industrial designer, and concept sets from 48 industrial and engineering designers for a single design problem. This compilation of over 3450 design process outcomes is analyzed to extract concept variations evident across design problems and solutions. The resulting set of patterns, in the form of 77 Design Heuristics, catalog how designers appear to introduce intentional variation into conceptual product designs. These heuristics provide ‘cognitive shortcuts’ that can help designers generate more, and more varied, candidate concepts to consider in the early phases of design.