The impact of three dimensional digital modelling media on the modes of communication used by industrial designers.
"An investigation into the impact of 3D digital modelling media on industrial
designers' internal and external modes of communication. "
Effective communication in product design facilitates effective decision-making,
which in turn is essential to a successful design process. The medium of
communication is therefore likely to influence the decision making process, making
the appropriate selection of media key to the progress of a project. Based on this
premise, this study investigates the impact that 3D digital media is having on
designers' internal and external modes of communication, in association with other
media tools and techniques which are used.
Analysis of a range of commercial product design case studies has enabled the
creation of a tool assisting both the practice of industrial designers or the teaching of
the use of 3D digital media to industrial design students. The tool helps designers
appreciate the tactical application of digital technologies, to establish how, when and
why digital media might be employed as a communication tool within the design
Action Research methodologies were drawn on to develop a research framework for
the study. This comprised three core elements: reflective practice, reflection on
practice, and reflection on reflective practice. The data derived from these supported
the methods used for case study compilation and cross-case analysis.
The tool for practice takes the form of a heuristic map, intended to help the industrial
designer understand the appropriate use, and integration of, traditional and digital
media throughout the design process. Central to this understanding is the premise
that it is just as important to design practice to consider 3D digital media as a tool for
communication, as well as for design.
The study seeks to build a bridge between theory and practice, through the
amalgamation of practitioner based research and qualitative observational research
methods. Publication of the findings via a CD & website contribute to the
accessibility of the process and findings of the research investigation.