Tools of Design

Track Chairs and Subchairs

Philippa Mothersill (Leader and main contact)
MIT Media Lab

Jonathan Edelman
Royal College of Art

Amit Zoran
Design Hybrid Lab at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Jennifer Jacobs
MIT Media Lab

Daniel Cardoso Llach,
School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University

Tools are technologies that can extend our physical and cognitive abilities. They can be mechanical machines or conceptual frameworks; abstract ad hoc aides or discrete digital programs; a general methodological knowledge or a specific physical instrument in which certain rules are embedded. Tools like these have always played a crucial role in the creative process, often having paradigm-shifting effects on the designs created. Today is no different as computation continues to play an increasingly important role in our design process.

For DRS 2018, the Tools of Design track will look to understand the development of design tools throughout history, their impact on the designs or interactions they create, and how they might change how we design and research in the future. Tools of Design calls for contributions from both academia and industry that reflect on themes including but not exclusive to:

  • The historical context of tools related to design
  • How we can research design to make better tools, and how better tools can help us research design
  • The development and testing of new physical, digital or methodological design tools
  • The principles for the development of future tools for design and creativity support, particularly the role of computation in these future tools
  • The impact tools have on the outcome of a design, and how this can be considered when developing new design tools

Participants are also encouraged to submit their work to the Tools of Design workshop, a demo-style exhibition in which participants can share their design tools (physical, digital or methodological) with the conference attendees.

Keywords:  Design tools, design methods, design technologies

Indicative references:.

Bernal, M., Haymaker, J. R., & Eastman, C. (2015). On the role of computational support for designers in action. Design Studies, 41, 163-182.

Cardoso Llach, Daniel. Builders of the Vision: Software and the Imagination of Design. London, New York: Routledge, 2015

Jacobs, J., Gogia, S., MÄ•ch, R., & Brandt, J. R. (2017, May). Supporting Expressive Procedural Art Creation through Direct Manipulation. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 6330-6341). ACM.

McCullough, M. (1996). Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Zoran, A., & Paradiso, J. A. (2013, April). FreeD: a freehand digital sculpting tool. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2613-2616). ACM.