Facilitating Creativity by Making Function Follow Form
Asst. Professor Jason A. Morris, Western Washington University

Creative solutions are rarely found using conventional problem solving methods. Students must be encouraged to try alternative processes for attacking a problem. Professional design projects begin with a design brief, but because of preconceived notions, the brief itself inhibits the designer’s creativity. This alternative process removes hindrances to creativity by restating the design problem in abstract, non-objective language. It begins with abstract form creation without knowledge of the design's purpose. The form creation is done with guidelines made by the instructor, who creates the rules to correspond with the design's objectives. Only after these abstract sculptures are complete is the designs purpose revealed. A selected form study is then evaluated for ideas and inspiration, which is refined applying the realities of the design functions. This process has consistently resulted in highly creative and beautiful designs that delight and surprise the students.

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