A study on the influences of computer usage on idea formation in graphic design students



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Texas Tech University


This is a qualitative single-site case study and die purpose is to investigate the impact of computer technology on die design process of ideation in undergraduate graphic design students. The study was conducted by using a set of questionnaires responded to by sixty-eight undergraduate students from fourteen graphic design classes in a major university in Southwest United States.

In fulfilling class assignments, there are many factors that influence the students' ideation process. Along the way, their designs are subject to an iterative process that acts to select and eliminate their designs. In using the computer to actualize their ideas, students translate their concepts, which are first interpreted in sketching. Their initial ideas are mostly done -with pencil and paper. By using a computer, they combine the sophistication of visual and manipulative capabilities to take their ideas to a different level.

The computer plays a formative role in graphic design students' repertoire especially when it can affect the outcome of their final designs. An overwhelming 91% of all respondents in this study report that they discover something new while working on the computer. Their justifications are based on the fact that computer technology is facilitative and their dependencies are more or less in the ways of using the computer as tools of automation, accuracy, expediency, presentation, execution, and implementation.

What is discovered is that they made unintentional discoveries when using the computer, which in turn evoke new responses and stimulate new thinking. It is more than a tool because it helps to make the respondents' minds work and it may therefore enhance their creativity. Relevant information from the fields of graphic design, design education, marketing, sociology, communication, and psychology are combined for this study.

The phenomenon which emerges from this study alludes to the fact that computer technology inspires and develops new applications in its users. It is concluded in the study that the computer, as an "actual intelligence," is the means for augmenting human problem-solving. The secret to deriving solutions which assist human in problem-solving is to provide the right toolkit—the computer, which is designed to compliment human infallibilities.