Sources of inspiration: A language of design

Claudia Eckert, Martin Stacey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

264 Scopus citations


Sources of inspiration play an important role in the design process, both in defining the context for new designs and in informing the creation of individual designs. Previous designs and other sources of ideas furnish a vocabulary both for thinking about new designs and for describing designs to others. In a study of knitwear design, a process in which the use of sources of inspiration is explicitly acknowledged, we have observed that designers communicate with each other about new designs, styles and moods, largely by reference to the sources of their ideas. In this paper we discuss why this style of communication is so important, and what information it is used to convey. We view it as the use of a language to describe regions in the space of possible designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-538
Number of pages16
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative design
  • Communication
  • Design precedents
  • Knitwear
  • Sources of inspiration


Dive into the research topics of 'Sources of inspiration: A language of design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this