Professional design and primary children

  • Daniel Davies


An analysis of the way in which primary age children design, particularly when working with a professional designer, suggests that there are several similarities in approach between the two. This observation is supported by evidence from developmental psychology, which has stressed the crucial role which ‘play’ performs in developing children's inventiveness and ability to solve problems. Subsequent research focusing on children's designing suggests that this play is fundamental to designing activity, and extends naturally into the more formalised activities of drawing and modelling. Through playing and using narrative language to describe their actions, children are learning to interpret their own mental images. To develop these images and make them more concrete children use their hands in drawing and modelling whilst drawing on their accumulated personal knowledge about the activity of designing, in a similar way to that in which professional designers make use of their own, highly sophisticated skills to bring an idea to concrete fruition. By comparison with some of the rigid models of ‘the design process’ described in schools, designers and children may have more in common than we realise.


Crucial Role Design Process Formalise Activity Mental Image Subsequent Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Davies
    • 1
  1. 1.Goldsmiths' CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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