Narrative in design development

DS 76: Proceedings of E&PDE 2013, the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, Dublin, Ireland, 05-06.09.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Childs, Peter; Zhao, Ying; Grigg, Joanna
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Imperial College London, United Kingdom; 2: Beihang University; 3: Royal College of Art
Section: Creativity
Page(s): 108-113
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


This paper describes the value of narrative used with ideation tools in aiding the rapid production of product concepts and designs for masters students of graphics, fine art, product and industrial design. The ideation tools used alongside narrative included elements of divergent and convergent thinking in combination with reverse engineering and functional analysis, and practical prototyping using a range of readily adapted artefacts. Narrative was introduced and used by the students in order to ensure the development of a context and purpose for the product, artefact or system developed or proposed and to stimulate original product concepts, ideas and thinking. The concept of narrative is familiar in design. Here however the concept was reinforced using structures associated with fictional narrative. Reverse engineering exploring the deconstruction and identification of function for each component in a product was used to aid students ensure practicality in their idea implementation. This paper describes positive experiences resulting from this activity, with a particular focus on the value of narrative in developing robust concepts. The use of physical prototyping provided tangible and instant feedback for divergent and convergent phases of idea development.

Keywords: Design, narrative, education, functional, attributes, reverse, engineering


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