Drawing and CAD in industrial design

Mike Tovey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing is an essential component in the industrial design process, facilitating visual thinking and creativity. It constitutes one type of design model, along with specifications, 3D representations and CAD techniques. The design process involves movement from one model to another, and by using representations of different types and at different levels of detail a fluid and inventive design approach is facilitated. Examples of schematic drawings, ideas sketches and concept drawings demonstrate this in product design and transport design. CAD has proved to be highly effective in evaluative and analytical design development, and in manufacture. It is inherently unsuitable for innovative design, but has potential for contributing to evolutionary design, as is evidenced by its proven effectiveness in engineering optimization. Automotive design is almost always concerned with design evolution, and procedures for car stylists to work productively with CAD are being developed in Coventry Polytechnic's SERC funded research project Computer Aided Vehicle Styling. Vehicle stylist's design thinking is characterized by holistic, right-hemisphere processes informed by tacit knowledge and dependent on visual representation. They have particular difficulties with CAD systems. Nonetheless, design techniques that capitalize on CAD's potential and may be applicable to industrial design are briefly described. CAD drawings and conventional design drawings are compared by using examples from the car industry, and from the research project. Tentative speculations about future design procedures are made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-39
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989

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  • drawing
  • computer-aided design
  • automotive design
  • car styling


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