How Graphic Designers Rely on Intuition as an Ephemeral Facility to Support Their Creative Design Process

Alwin de Rooij*, Elise Dekker, Karin Slegers, Michael Mose Biskjaer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Graphic design is a specialised form of creative practice in which images, typography, texts, shapes and other visual elements are created, selected, developed and integrated to form a coherent whole that conveys an intended message and user experience. Anecdotal evidence suggests that intuition is critical in this practice, but exactly how graphic designers rely on their intuition to support their creative design process is poorly understood. Using cultural probes and semi-structured interviews, this qualitative study evidences how twelve professional graphic designers relied on intuition as what we will call an ephemeral facility. Intuition was discerned as a feeling that briefly enters into consciousness and reinforces ongoing, nonconscious decision making, or causes a shift toward conscious reasoning strategies. The study reports how the graphic designers applied intuition throughout their creative design process––for obtaining and selecting information from clients, filling in informational gaps, envisioning a starting point and guiding subsequent actions and evaluations necessary for developing the design. This offers new empirically based insight into the role and relevance of intuition for progressing the creative graphic design process, including the social and material interactions therein.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation
Pages (from-to)252-268
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021


  • design creativity
  • intuition
  • graphic design
  • qualitative study
  • decision making


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