The Problem Solver and The Artisan Designer: Strategies for Utilizing Design Idea Archives

Nanna Inie, Allison Endo, Steven Dow, Peter Dalsgaard

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper presents the results of an extensive qualitative study investigating how professional designers utilize personal idea archives. While we know that designers archive creative ideas in different formats and on different platforms, we know little about if and how designers utilize these idea archives in their daily practice. Through a series of interviews (n=20) and walkthroughs of design idea archives, we identified two archetypal strategies. The Problem Solver is concerned with the task at hand, keeps relevant ideas around, and discards them when the ideas have served their purpose. On the other hand, The Artisan Designer systematically archives potentially useful ideas in carefully selected formats, and continues developing ideas over extended time spans. We conclude with a discussion about how these different strategies might be supported by technological archiving tools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordiCHI 2018 : Revisiting the Life Cycle - Proceedings of the 10th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Number of pages10
Place of publicationUSA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-6437-9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450364379
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Archiving
  • Design ideas
  • Design practice
  • Idea management

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