Do You See What I See? Exploring Vividness of Visual Mental Imagery in Product Design Ideation

DS 116: Proceedings of the DESIGN2022 17th International Design Conference

Year: 2022
Editor: Mario Štorga, Stanko Škec, Tomislav Martinec, Dorian Marjanović
Author: Edward Hart, Laura Hay
Series: DESIGN
Institution: University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
Section: Human Behaviour and Design Creativity
Page(s): 881-890
DOI number:
ISSN: 2732-527X (Online)


This paper reports a preliminary study (N=16) exploring vividness of visual mental imagery in product design ideation. Vividness was observed to vary across designers in the study, from high (68.8% of participants) to moderate (18.8%) to low (12.5%). A significant, strong positive relationship was found between vividness and creativity. Most participants reported using imagery always or sometimes, except one who has difficulties forming mental images. The results have several implications, including the possibility of other ‘ways of imagining’ not captured by visual reasoning models of design.

Keywords: design cognition, design creativity, visualisation, mental imagery, idea generation

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