Proceedings: GI 2017

Merging Sketches for Creative Design Exploration: An Evaluation of Physical and Cognitive Operations

Senthil Chandrasegaran (University of Maryland, College Park, MD), Sriram Karthik Badam (University of Maryland, College Park, MD), Ninger Zhou (University of California, Irvine, CA), Zhenpeng Zhao (University of Maryland, College Park, MD), Lorraine Kisselburgh (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN), Kylie Peppler (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN), Niklas Elmqvist (University of Maryland, College Park, MD), Karthik Ramani (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN)

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2017: Edmonton, Alberta, 16-19 May 2017, 115 - 123

DOI 10.20380/GI2017.15

  • BibTex

    author = {Chandrasegaran, Senthil and Badam, Sriram Karthik and Zhou, Ninger and Zhao, Zhenpeng and Kisselburgh, Lorraine and Peppler, Kylie and Elmqvist, Niklas and Ramani, Karthik},
    title = {Merging Sketches for Creative Design Exploration: An Evaluation of Physical and Cognitive Operations},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2017},
    series = {GI 2017},
    year = {2017},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-0-9947868-2-1},
    location = {Edmonton, Alberta},
    pages = {115 -- 123},
    numpages = {9},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2017.15},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society / Soci{\'e}t{\'e} canadienne du dialogue humain-machine},


Despite its grounding in creativity techniques, merging multiple source sketches to create new ideas has received scant attention in design literature. In this paper, we identify the physical operations that in merging sketch components. We also introduce cognitive operations of reuse, repurpose, refactor, and reinterpret, and explore their relevance to creative design. To examine the relationship of cognitive operations, physical techniques, and creative sketch outcomes, we conducted a qualitative user study where student designers merged existing sketches to generate either an alternative design, or an unrelated new design. We compared two digital selection techniques: freeform selection, and a stroke-cluster-based “object select” technique. The resulting merge sketches were subjected to crowdsourced evaluation of these sketches, and manual coding for the use of cognitive operations. Our findings establish a firm connection between the proposed cognitive operations and the context and outcome of creative tasks. Key findings indicate that reinterpret cognitive operations correlate strongly with creativity in merged sketches, while reuse operations correlate negatively with creativity. Furthermore, freeform selection techniques are preferred significantly by designers. We discuss the empirical contributions of understanding the use of cognitive operations during design exploration, and the practical implications for designing interfaces in digital tools that facilitate creativity in merging sketches.