Linkography: Unfolding the Design Process

Gabriela Goldschmidt
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 216
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This book presents linkography, a method for the notation and analysis of the design process. Developed by Gabriela Goldschmidt in an attempt to clarify designing, linkography documents how designers think, generate ideas, put them to the test, and combine them into something meaningful. With linkography, Goldschmidt shows that there is a logic to the creative process -- that it is not, as is often supposed, pure magic. Linkography draws on design practice, protocol analysis, and insights from cognitive psychology. Goldschmidt argues that the generation of ideas (and their inspection and adjustment) evolves over a large number of small steps, which she termsdesign moves. These combine in a network of moves, and the patterns of links in the networks manifest a "good fit," or congruence, among the ideas. Goldschmidt explains what parts of the design process can be observed and measured in a linkograph, describing its features and notation conventions. The most significant elements in a linkograph arecritical moves, which are particularly rich in links. Goldschmidt presents studies that show the importance of critical moves in design thinking; describes cases that demonstrate linkography's effectiveness in studying the creative process in design (focusing on the good fit); and offers thirteen linkographic studies conducted by other researchers that show the potential of linkography in design thinking research and beyond. Linkography is the first book-length treatment of an approach to design thinking that has already proved influential in the field.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32215-7
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Ken Friedman and Erik Stolterman

    As professions go, design is relatively young. The practice of design predates professions. In fact, the practice of design—making things to serve a useful goal, making tools—predates the human race. Making tools is one of the attributes that made us human in the first place.

    Design, in the most generic sense of the word, began over 2.5 million years ago whenHomo habilismanufactured the first tools. Human beings were designing well before they began to walk upright. Four hundred thousand years ago, they began to manufacture spears. By 40,000 years ago, they had moved up to specialized...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. 1 Beginnings
    (pp. 1-8)

    Linkography is the outcome of a long chain of experiences that can be pinpointed only partially and only with hindsight. Some of these experiences can be described only in general terms; others have a precise timing attached to them. The very first of these events took place a long time ago, but the exact date can still be cited: On November 17, 1964, I happened to notice a copy of Christopher Alexander’s bookNotes on the Synthesis of Formin a small bookstore in my home city, Jerusalem. Attracted to the book beyond resistance, I purchased it. The sales receipt...

  6. 2 Design Thinking Research
    (pp. 9-38)

    After World War II, many design disciplines throughout the industrialized world—especially architecture—experienced considerable transitions. The widespread destruction in Europe required unprecedented planning, design, and construction efforts. In North America the rapid growth of suburbs required novel approaches to design and planning. Practitioners everywhere felt unprepared for the challenges of designing large neighborhoods, entire new towns, and expansive road systems. Urban renewal projects had to respond to new welfare-state sensitivities and higher expectations in terms of building standards and performance requirements. A vast increase in higher education demanded a re-conceptualization of university and college campuses. Elementary and secondary education...

  7. 3 Design Synthesis
    (pp. 39-52)

    From the cognitive perspective, the design phase of the greatest interest is the early, preliminary phase—the “front edge.” Because most design problems are ill-structured and ill-defined (Simon 1973), the early phase of designing is when designers have to come to terms with the task—that is, interpret it, frame it, and reframe it (Schön 1984) until it is sufficiently coherent to generate solution ideas. The process of clarification and framing and the process of searching for a solution are not sequential; rather, they occur in parallel (Dorst and Cross 2001). We talk about a search for a solution that...

  8. 4 The Linkograph: A Network of Links
    (pp. 53-72)

    Chapter 3 introduced the origin of the linkograph as a way to notate design moves and the links among them. The first linkographs were drawn by hand, usually on grid paper. Figure 4.1 is an example from circa 1993. In the early 1990s the first little piece of software for the production of linkographs was created by Shahar Dumai. Called MacLinkograph, it was meant for Macintosh computers. Unfortunately it was not upgraded when new operating systems replaced the one we had been working with, and eventually MacLinkograph became obsolete. By using a Java platform, Link ographer, developed in 2004–05,...

  9. 5 Critical Moves
    (pp. 73-110)

    Let us reiterate the fundamental premise underlying the linkography theory, which is that the quality and the creativity of a design process depend on the designer’s ability to synthesize a solution that exhibits a good fit among all its components. The solution must respond to a large number of requirements and desires; beyond that, a creative solution is expected to be novel and exciting. The claim is that at the micro scale such synthesis is achieved by interlinking the very small design steps calledmovesthat are made in the process of designing. A logical consequence of this assertion is...

  10. 6 Design Creativity
    (pp. 111-130)

    Creativity is a many-faceted phenomenon that is being researched from various perspectives in several fields. At the dawn of the era of cognitive psychology and cognitive science, Arthur Koestler (1964) was among the first authors to expose the complexity of creativity. Quite naturally, much of the relevant research is carried out in these fields. It is impossible to find a single definition of creativity that everyone agrees with, and most researchers prefer to avoid defining it (something that is not necessary for the purpose of discussing creativity). In fact, it is tenable to claim that there is no such thing...

  11. 7 Further Insights
    (pp. 131-158)

    In this chapter, insights from thirteen studies in which linkography was used (for a variety of purposes) are reported. In some of them, linkographs of the original kind were used; in others, the linkographs were modified somewhat to suit the needs of specific research goals, and in one study, linkography was evoked as a metaphor. The reports are not meant to be critical; rather, they are meant to be impartial and faithful to the works they represent. The intent is to offer a glimpse at wide applicability options for linkography, beyond what has been dealt with in the previous chapters....

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 159-160)

    Design is like a trip. As a novice, one travels to uncharted territories, to new and unfamiliar lands where everything is to be discovered. As an expert, one often travels to a place one has visited before, yet there are always new sights and landscapes, some of them unexpected, that invite further exploration. It takes a while to put the pieces of the puzzle together, to gain an appreciation of the whole picture, to decipher patterns, to understand relationships, and to become aware of one’s blind spots. At its best, design thinking research is quite similar: an experienced researcher is...

  13. Appendix: Sources of Data
    (pp. 161-170)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 171-174)
  15. References
    (pp. 175-186)
  16. Index
    (pp. 187-192)