An Exploration of Design Students' Inspiration Process

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013

Publication Title

College Student Journal


Our purpose was to explore how different sources of inspiration influenced two groups of students' inspiration process and their attitudes toward their design projects. Assigned sources of inspiration and instructor's assistance in the search for inspiration varied for two groups of students completing a small culture inspired product design project in an introductory design class. One group was free to select any culture as an inspiration source; the other group was assigned a specific culture and was provided with information and visuals about the assigned culture's design environment. We asked students to explain their inspiration process and their attitude towards the design project via a self-administered questionnaire. Their responses indicate that many students enjoyed the project in both groups, but they failed to understand the importance of locating appropriate research sources. We believe that although design students need autonomy to develop their own design skills, novice design students need instructor's intervention in the early stages of design process to learn the value of appropriate research in design process.


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