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Illuminating History by Lily Díaz, 25.IX.2000

The scope, areas of knowledge, and the activities that determine what design is differ widely among communities of practice. For example, a professional engaged in industrial design will most likely command a more in-depth knowledge about the science of materials than a designer working in graphic design. Also, the interactions, the setting of his/her practice, and the resulting objects, will most likely differ radically from the environment and products engaged in information design.

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The categorical distinction that limits drawing to the realm of the arts is a recent phenomenon. It is significant to note, that up to the 19th Century, training in methods from the arts, with their emphasis on the productive use of non-verbal thought, played a significant role in the formation of engineers and scientists.8 8

In the modern context, drawing is still part of the designer's toolbox as an instrument used in visualisation and representation. And design is still loosely associated with art, through its emphasis on creativity as evidenced in the production of sketches and physical representations of concepts. These representations help to provide a center, and a sense of direction, or what Rudolf Arnheim has describedas the "structural skeleton, namely the property that makes the pattern distinct, organised,

identifiable".8 9

However, unlike is the case with art, where the object produced by

drawing is usually intimately tied to the aura of its maker (i.e. the identity and personality of the artist, within a given historical context), the sketches and representations created by designers can be better described as ephemeral communication devices. Their existence, short lived and transitory, is instrumental to the design process. In the activity of design, they stand in place as idealised representations of a final product.

88. Ferguson, E., "The Mind's Eye: Nonverbal Thought 197, No. 4306, August 1977, p. 833.

in Technology", IMAGE imgs/index50.gif Vol.

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of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

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