Generative Design

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Process for creating generative design

Generative design is a design method in which the output – image, sound, architectural models, animation – is generated by a set of rules or an Algorithm, normally by using a computer program. Most generative design is based on parametric modeling. It is a fast method of exploring design possibilities that is used in various design fields such as Art, Architecture, Communication Design, and Product Design. Typically, generative design has:

  • A design schema
  • A means of creating variations
  • A means of selecting desirable outcomes

Some generative schemes use genetic algorithms to create variations. Some use just random numbers. Generative design has been inspired by natural design processes, whereby designs are developed as genetic variations through mutation and crossovers. In contrast to long-established concepts such as Generative Art or Computer Art, Generative Design also includes particular tasks within the area of design, architecture, and product design.[clarification needed]

Within the Communication Design area, the main applications are the creation of information graphics, diagrams, and flexible corporate designs. Generative design in architecture (also often referred to as computational design) is mainly applied for form-finding processes and for the simulation of architectural structures.

Generative design is becoming more important, largely due to new programming environments (Processing, Vvvv, Quartz Composer, Open Frameworks) or scripting capabilities (Rhinoceros 3D, Scriptographer) that have made it relatively easy, even for designers with little programming experience, to implement their ideas.

Generative design is taught at many schools of architecture and is gaining ground in architectural and design practice.

Definition by Celestino Soddu, 1992: "Generative Design is a morphogenetic process using algorithms structured as not-linear systems for endless unique and un-repeatable results performed by an idea-code, as in Nature"

Definition by Sivam Krish 2013: " Generative Design is the transformation of computational energy into creative exploration energy empowering human designers to explore greater number of design possibilities within modifiable constrains"

One of the most important and distinguishing part that makes a computational model generative is the feedback loop. The feedback ranges from simple mechanisms, where the model takes its own output for input, to relatively complex ones incorporating design evaluation routines. Generative methods have their roots deep in the systems dynamics modelling and are by nature repetitive processes where the solution is developed during several iterations of design operations. 

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