Ekphrasis as a Basis for a Framework for Creative Design Processes

  • Udo KannengiesserEmail author
  • John S. Gero
Conference paper


This paper introduces the notion of ekphrasis in the arts as a basis for developing a framework of creative designing. Ekphrasis is the transformation of a concept from one medium or domain (e.g. sculpture) to another medium or domain (e.g. music). When used in design, ekphrasis enables the use of new processes afforded within the new domain that can produce new concepts not available in the original domain. We show how five known mechanisms of creative designing—emergence, analogy, combination, mutation and first principles—can be included in a general framework as instantiations of ekphrasis. This framework is developed based on the function–behaviour–structure (FBS) ontology and its application to affordances.



This research is supported in part by the US National Science Foundation, Grant No. CMMI-1400466. Figure 5 was used with permission from Janet Manalo and Suzanne Bruce.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Compunity GmbHLinzAustria
  2. 2.University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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