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Lynne MacLachlan-Eastwood

The Creative Craft of Generative Design: New Tools, Same Rules

Lynne MacLachlan-Eastwood

Affiliation: Design Department, Open University

Conference activity: Presentation Fri 11th July,  Pop Up Exhibition, Trelissick House

Project summary:

The co-evolution of new forms with specified tools characterises craft-led design. Algorithmic design systems are the latest ‘tools’ available to designers and makers. Why are these systems of relevance? Can such software be used by designer-makers to produce creative, that is, ‘new, surprising and valuable’ [1] artefacts? How do these creative opportunities arise through the use of these systems?

This project seeks to answer these questions by drawing together literature from the fields of creativity, craft and generative design. Alongside this, examples have been drawn from the author’s own designer maker practice, which employs both physical and digital tools, and interviews with other designer-makers.


Boden, M.A. (2004) The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms 2nd ed., London: Routledge

Dormer, P. (1994) The Art of the Maker: Skill and Its Meaning in Art, Craft and Design, London: Thames & Hudson Ltd

Stiny, G. (2006) Shape: Talking About Seeing and Doing, Cambridge MA: MIT Press

A question that arises from your project: Can makers benefit creatively from an explicit, rule based, rationalisation of their tools and processes?

Full paper

Maclachlan. L., (2014). The Creative Craft of Generative Design: New tools, same rules. In K. Bunnell & J. Marshall (Eds.), All Makers Now: Craft Values in 21st Century Production, International Conference Proceedings, Autonomatic Research Group, Falmouth University, 10/11 July 2014 (pp. 91 – 96). Falmouth University, ISBN 978-0-9544187-9-3