Design Education and Learning









Visual Thinking Styles and Idea Generation Strategies Employed in Visual Brainstorming Sessions 

Naz Börekçi 

Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Keywords: visual thinking styles, idea generation strategies, freehand sketching, 6-3-5 brainstorming method


This paper presents the findings of visual analyses conducted on 369 sketch ideas generated in three 6-3-5 visual brainstorming sessions by a total of 25 participants, following the same design brief. The motivation for the study was an interest in the thematic content of the ideas generated as groups, and the individual representation styles used for the sketches. The analyses revealed the determinants of individual visual thinking styles as: idea types, sketching patterns, sketching styles, annotation styles, and performances in producing design solutions. The idea generation strategies of the participants were: using analogies, diversifying the design solutions, determining the usage context, and working with themes. The effects of group dynamics on the performances of the participants were: management of the idea generation effort, reflections of the idea contents explored within groups, and reflections of the representation styles of peers. The paper finally identifies four profiles of idea generators and discusses the implications of the findings. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Börekçi, N. (2016). Visual Thinking Styles and Idea Generation Strategies Employed in Visual Brainstorming Sessions. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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