Member Infromation



Surname: Cardoso

Given name: Carlos

Contact (E-mail address, Web site)

E-mail: c.m.cardoso(at)



Position: Assistant Professor

Organization: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft

Address: Product Innovation Management Dept. (PIM)

Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering

Delft University of Technology

Landbergstraat, 15

2628 CE Delft

The Netherlands

Country: The Netherlands


Creativity during idea generation, inspiration in design, creative thinking, (creative) problem-solving.

Research Interests

Presently, my research investigates to what extent different external stimuli (i.e. representation modalities) play a role during design idea generation. I am particularly interested in investigating if designers°« creative output would be influenced when exposed to different representations (e.g. pictorial, text, three-dimensional) of existing design solutions.

It is generally accepted that designers have a tendency to physically or mentally retain diverse visual representations they come across, aimed at serving as inspiration in different points during their creative processes. Whilst confirmation on this practice is mostly anecdotal, there are a few accounts of designers acknowledged preference for visual representations during idea generation. However, while searching for inspiration designers also come across other types of information, such as: external encoded sources like books, existing physical designs and its contexts, and their own recollection of background experiences. Hence, despite designers°« allegedly preference for visual representations, especially pictorial ones, it seems appropriate to assume that other sources (or at least diverse types of visual stimuli) might also be utilised when generating creative design ideas.

Generally speaking, designers are likely to continue using different representation modalities of available precedents as a source of inspiration. If particular types of representations influence designers in terms of limiting their solution space, then the selection of appropriate design exemplars and the stage of the design process where they are introduced ought to be carefully considered.

  • Research questions, e.g.:

1. How do different representation modalities, used as potential sources for inspiration, affect designers°« creative behaviour during idea generation?

2. What type of representation modalities are more likely to support designers in devising innovative creative ideas?

3. How do designers retrieve attributes from available precedents and how do they (re)use them when generating new solution ideas?

Selected Publications

  • Cardoso, C. and Badke-Schaub, P. (2011). Fixation or inspiration: creative problem solving in design. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 45 (2), 77-82.
  • Cardoso, C. and Badke-Schaub, P. (2011). The Influence of different pictorial representations during idea generation. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 45 (2), 130-146.
  • Cardoso, C. and Badke-Schaub, P. (2009). Give design a break: the role of incubation periods during idea generation. In M. Bergendahl, M. Grimheden, L. Leifer, P. Skogstad, and U. Lindemann (Eds.), Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED'09): Vol 2. Design Theory and Research Methodology (pp. 383–394). Stanford, CA: The Design Society.
  • Cardoso, C. and Badke-Schaub, P. (2009). Idea fixation in design: the influence of pictures and words. In A. Chakrabarti (Ed.), Research Into Design: Supporting Multiple Facets of Product Development (pp. 51–58). Chennai, India: Research Publishing.