Drawing and images of design. Representation and meaning.

This abstract is based on the research being conducted on the relationship between design and drawing, whose results have been presented at various congresses.

The aim of the research is to clarify the intervention of drawing in design, by differentiating between “object” and “image” and between the “symbolic character” and the “form of representation” by demonstrating that the efficiency of the project is based on conflict generated by the act of drawing in itself.

Based on the triangular classification of design as author-programme- technology and drawing as representation- classification-imagination, it can be argued that: the object’s identity arises from the confrontation between representation and the image, thus questioning its unity. In other words the way of representing the object through a technical mediation referring to an abstract concept (the act of drawing), of symbolic function, and of attributing meaning to the symbol, insofar as it refers to object.

This paper intends to approach drawing as the language that makes the appearance of the images of design possible. The images of design function  as double:   

_ object of representation whilst represented image (physical representation);

_object of desire whilst promoter of a story  of subjective experiences and emotional relationships.  Examples will be given. We consider the specificity of drawing through two possibilites:

_representation as  the action of drawing in the object’s presence;

_representation as the action of drawing in the object’s  absence.

Drawing as a projectual instrument participates in the duality of the images: as representation of the idea (concept) and as action that provokes the emergence of the object before an interested and desiring subject.

However, under these conditions, drawing exists as an action that does not dilute itself  in the representation, since object and image, as differentiated and implied entities, relate to each other. Drawing is the place where the object’s necessary differentiation and uncertainty manifest themselves.

Our references for this study are the authors Donald Norman (emotional design), Gilles Deleuze (desire as a mechanism), Jacques Rancière e Eric Santner (image and symbol), Didi-Huberman (art, perception and psicoanalysis) e Maurizio Vitta (aesthetics and everyday objects).

Keywords: representation, image, symbolic, object, desire.



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Co-authoring: Magalhães, Graça; Pombo, Fátima.


Paper presented at Dancing with Disorder: Design, Discourse & Disaster. 7th Design Conference of the European Academy of Design, Izmir, Turkey, 11-13 april 2007.

Year 2007
Type Conference Proceeding
Publication Dancing with Disorder: Design, Discourse & Disaster. European Academy of Design. Proceedings of the 7th Design Conference.
Publisher European Academy of Design
Local Izmir, Turkey
Language English