During the concept phase of the industrial design process drawings are used to represent designer’s ideas. More specifically, the designer’s goal is to put the characteristics of ideas on paper so that they can later act as pivotal points in the development of a project. Sketching is also the ideal tool to continue developing an idea: because it is imprecise, the sketch guarantees a high degree of freedom, allowing for changes to made and new ideas to be added.

Another possibility is to translate ideas into sketches on computer tools. This approach can allow the designer to use the created 3D model as the basis for further developing ideas. At the present moment, however, this type of solution is not extensively used by designers during the concept phase. Some researchers have identified technical problems as the reason why these instruments have been unsuccessful on the market, while for others this is related to systems still too rigid to be adapted to the often-diverse needs of designers.

The research presented in this position paper aims at analyzing what has so far been understood with respect to the process of generating ideas, their initial representation in the concept phase and the tools that have been developed so far to support this phase. Consequently, a discussion on these themes and some hypotheses from which develop new research lines will be presented.

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