Problem Framing: The Designer’s Way of Tackling Design Problems

Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی


1 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University

2 Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University


Recent design research has shed light on designers’ thinking and knowledge acquisition mechanisms, design expertise, as well as design education methodologies. ‘Problem Framing’ is an effective strategy designers employ to manage the complexities of open-ended unstructured design problems. Drawing on the findings of studies conducted for the PhD dissertation of one of the authors, this paper explains definitions and the background of problem framing and its role in the critical junction of problem definition. It explains that by framing a design problem, the designer selects important aspects of the design problem; redefines relations between theses aspects; postulates tentative responses to this new problem; reflects on these responses; assesses the feedbacks of such postulations; and reformulates the problem if necessary. Problem framing thus becomes the primary mental representation of the problem for the designer, which influences the subsequent design process.

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