A Reverse Process Design Project
Jason A. Morris, Assistant Professor of Industrial Design | Western Washington University
How can we encourage our students to be truly creative? How can we teach them not to just
follow the styling of the latest design magazine but, instead, push themselves to levels of
creativity they didn’t imagine were possible? One answer lies in process, the process that they
use to solve a design problem. It’s the road that they take to arrive at their solution. If they follow
the same old route, they’ll arrive at the same old place.
But, how do we inspire our students to use alternative processes? There is more than one way to
approach an industrial design (ID) problem. The traditional design method works, however, many
students shut down when given a list of requirements and constraints. The introduction and use
of alternate processes opens their creativity to new paths. This reverse design project uses one
alternative process that was used with success with third year ID students at Western
Washington University (WWU) in February of 2005.
The following lists outline the sequence of steps for traditional design process and the alternative
sequence used in this project.
The traditional route for ID: