Learning from Ambiguous Drawings: The Role of Design Tasks in Improving the Effect of Ambiguous Drawings on Students’ Design Ideation

Document Type : Research Article


Assistant Professor, Saba Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran.


Problem statement: Ambiguous drawings play a significant role in design education, and it has been extensively studied in previous literature. The present research seeks to explore the effects of design tasks on using ambiguous drawings.
Research objective: The purpose of research is to enhance idea generation in students, especially novice students (second-year students) through the assistance of design tasks.
Research method: In this experimental study, second-year architecture students engaged in three design sessions, each with distinct tasks and instructions involving ambiguous drawings. In the first session, ambiguous drawings were used as a source of inspiration, in the second as a design solution, and in the third, those drawings were incorporated to serve as a part of the design solution. Design ideas from the students were assessed by three judges, and scores related to novelty and quality were subjected to statistical analysis using the analysis of variance. The study’s findings were then compared and analyzed in the context of existing research.
Conclusion: The results of the study demonstrated that the use of ambiguous drawings in design tasks led to an improvement in the quality of design ideas among students. This positive impact was particularly notable in relation to enhancing the functional aspects of design ideas and convergent thinking. It also extended the results of previous research, especially in terms of the effectiveness of ambiguous drawings on the ideation of novice students. Additionally, the influence of the design tasks, along with other factors, on the ideation of students when using ambiguous images was deeply explored and discussed.


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