Line by line, part by part: collaborative sketching for designing

Abstract

While sketching has an established role in professional design, its benefits and role in design education are subjects that invite research and opinions. We investigated how undergraduates studying to become design educators and textile teachers used sketching to generate and develop design solutions in a collaborative setting. The students were given an authentic design assignment involving three detailed tasks, one of which was 2D visualisation by sketching. Adopting a micro-analytical approach, we analysed the video-recorded visualisation session to understand how teams used sketching to collaborate and to generate and develop design solutions. To that end, we set three research questions: (1) What ways of collaborative working are reflected in actions of sketching? (2) In what ways do sequences of collaborative sketching contribute to designing? (3) What kinds of collaborative sequences of sketching advance designing? Our analysis identified three collaborative ways of sketching (co-ordinated, collective and disclosed) and confirmed that sketching is an important facilitator of mutual appropriation, adaption and adoption. Next, we identified three ways of contributing to designing, as well as three functions and six capacities for advancing designing. Our analysis shows that sketching can lead to invaluable advances in designing, although each team had its own way of using and benefiting from sketching. We further consider that the teams’ diverse sketching processes and rich content owed, at least in part, to the task structure and imposed constraints. We continue to see sketching as an important design tool, one among many.

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Acknowledgments

The present study has been supported by the Academy of Finland (under Project No. 265922). We would also like to thank the students for their participation in the study, as well as Henna Lahti and Kaiju Kangas for their efforts in co-designing the design assignment together with Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen and Tellervo Härkki. The final interviews were planned and conducted by Tellervo Härkki, who also developed the method of analysing the data. Tellervo Härkki and Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen wrote the present article, together with Kai Hakkarainen. Furthermore, we wish to thank Henna Lahti and Tarja-Kaarina Laamanen for acting as cameramen, IBS video/Mikael Kivelä for the support regarding the video infrastructure, Otto Seitamaa for proofreading the transcripts, and Inka Laine for finalising the video captures for publishing.

Funding

This study was funded by Academy of Finland (Project No. 265922).

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Correspondence to Tellervo Härkki.

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Härkki, T., Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P. & Hakkarainen, K. Line by line, part by part: collaborative sketching for designing. Int J Technol Des Educ 28, 471–494 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-016-9379-7

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Keywords

  • Collaborative design
  • Higher education
  • Sketching
  • Video analysis