Generative design tools empowered by recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) offer the opportunity for human designers and design tools to collaborate in new, more advanced modes throughout various stages of the product design process to facilitate the creation of higher performing and more complex products. This paper explores how the use of these generative design tools may impact the design process, designer behavior, and overall outcomes. Six in-depth interviews were conducted with practicing and student designers from different disciplines who use commercial generative design tools, detailing the design processes they followed. From a grounded theory-based analysis of the interviews, a provisional process diagram for generative design and its uses in the early-stage design process is proposed. The early stages of defining tool inputs bring about a constraint-driven process in which designers focus on the abstraction of the design problem. Designers will iterate through the inputs to improve both quantitative and qualitative metrics. The learning through iteration allows designers to gain a thorough understanding of the design problem and solution space. This can bring about creative applications of generative design tools in early-stage design to provide guidance for traditionally designed products.