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The Shaping of Form: Exploring Designers’ Use of Aesthetic Knowledge

Stigliani, I. & Ravasi, D. (2018). The Shaping of Form: Exploring Designers’ Use of Aesthetic Knowledge. Organization Studies, 39(5-6), pp. 747-784. doi: 10.1177/0170840618759813


Research on design and designers has emphasized the tacit nature of the aesthetic knowledge that these professionals draw upon to make decisions about formal properties of objects and spaces, but is less clear about how design teams address the difficulties associated with expressing and sharing this type of knowledge. A ten-month ethnography in a design consultancy revealed a range of multimodal and cross-modal ways in which members of a design team compensate their imperfect capacity of articulating verbally their aesthetic knowledge in order to gradually construct a common knowledge base enabling creative collaboration. In so doing, our study offers two main contributions. It illuminates the interplay between designers’ aesthetic experiences, visceral responses, and intuitive cognitive processes that enable designers to draw upon their aesthetic knowledge to support the collective accomplishment of their task, and provides an interpretation of the design process as a form of ‘creative’ intuition driven by emotional reactions to environmental stimuli and emerging formal solutions.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Stigliani, I. & Ravasi, D., The Shaping of Form: Exploring Designers’ Use of Aesthetic Knowledge, Organization Studies, Copyright © 2018 the authors. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Publisher Keywords: design, creativity, aesthetic knowledge, tacit knowledge, aesthetic experience, intuition
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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