Generative Design

Generative Design

“Generative Design” by Armando Vilas-Boas

As a trend, it started being used in art projects by generating random algorithms for sounds or images for example. It moved into logo and design identity projects as a trend for non-static “boring” logos and creating a new language for traditional identity corporations. In this week you will explore and critically analyse examples of this process and the new identity. 

Generative design is a big trend that promises to completely revolutionise the work of designers, engineers and architects. Nature explores all possible solutions that optimise performance in a given environment. Generative design mimics nature’s approach to design – the way organisms evolve in the natural world – by starting with goals and then exploring all of the best possible permutations of a solution through successive generations until the best one is found. Many designers are experimenting with generative design to produce new forms and improve existing products. To see designs evolve, we  have to stop thinking of computers as mere drawing tools and start thinking about them as portals to greater exploration.

The emerging technology uses algorithms to generate every possible permutation of a design solution. The designer simply enters a set of parameters and then chooses the best outcome generated by the software. Until now, designers were using a computer as a passive machine, that delivers a limited set of design options. In this new approach, computer and designer/engineer unite as co-creators. They input design goals and constraints, using a generative-design system like  Project Dreamcatcher. They enter specifics such as material, type, weight, strength, and costs. The computer uses algorithms and its own reasoning to generate thousands of designs, running performance analysis for each. Then, they can produce prototypes, through milling or 3D printing.

The software can automatically make aircrafts lighter, buildings stronger and trainers more comfortable – with the designer acting as a “curator”, rather than making all the decisions. Generative design is used in many areas nowadays. For instance, Airbus created a new cabin partition for its A320 plane; MX3D, a robotics company, uses generative design to create a bridge which 3D-printing robots will manufacture to span a canal in Amsterdam, or Under Armour sportswear company, with a 3D-printed lattice* structure midsole. How cool is that?

*Lattice structure or crystal structure is an arrangement of atoms or molecules in a crystalline solid or a liquid.

Armando Vilas-Boas  – MA Design Course Leader

London School of Design and Marketing


1 Comment

  • The latest sample of Generative Design that I found interesting was made by Refik Anadol and his team. They use large collections of data and machine learning algorithms to create these mesmerizing and dynamic installations.

    Miroslav Reply

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