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Images and Sketching

Research group:

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


Images play different roles in design processes; sketches are frequently stressed as important for an early inventive ideation stage, visualisations are made of the process itself and of the intended design in different stages. In this paper I will consider the sketching (not the image-soon-to-be, but the activity, the course of event) in relation to the image. The important role of sketching in design has its root in the renaissance, when ’design’ was understood as a verb. Design/sketching was understood as the creating of visual concepts; as cognitive tools for understanding an object in the world (Flusser, 1993 and Weimarck, 2003). In this paper, sketching is not related to the ontology of a thing (in the world), but by turning to Nietzsche’s thinking it can be highlighted that sketching is related to the process of thinking, of creating - and of destroying the already established thought/image. Already in ’’On Truth and Lying in an Extra-Moral Sense’’ (1873) Nietzsche writes of the metaphor, the image, as fundamental for language and thinking in concepts. The process of ’’metaphor-making’’ is placed in the cleft between the subject and the thing-in-itself. The relation between words and a thing-in-itself is considered as an aesthetic relationship. Cavalcante Schuback (2011) has also pointed out that Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil (1886), links image-making with thinking, emphasising process instead of the final image/thought; i.e. stressing the sketching character of thinking. In the present paper I attempt to unfold the difference between sketching according to established images and sketching understood as being both creative and destructive (in regard to already established images/thoughts). The discussion can be of relevant for a contemporary discussion of inventiveness in a design context. To be able to sketch as both creative and destructive to what is already established, means to create without concepts, established thoughts, which in the sense of being pre-concept/language can be related to Boehm’s concept ’iconic difference’ (1995).


author = {Anna-Lena Carlsson},
title = {Images and Sketching},
month = {March},
year = {2014},
url = {}