Decoding design briefs: The role of abstraction levels in textual and visual stimuli

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This paper investigates the role of stimuli and respective levels of abstraction in design briefs and the implications for client-designer expectations alignment. This paper examines design briefs in professional settings in two Danish companies, from the perspectives of the client who creates a brief and the external designer who responds to a brief. The method consists in analysing the design briefs and categorising content, type of stimuli and level of abstraction, followed by interviews with the sender and receiver of the brief. According to the findings, the definition of a clear solution space in the design brief occurs when there is a coherent relationship between the level of abstraction and the presented type of stimuli, which optimises resources in concept development. When coherency is not achieved, that is, when different stimuli are included with the incorrect level of abstraction that allows for broad interpretations, it is counterproductive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Nordes 2023 : This Space Intentionally Left Blank
Publication date5 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2023


  • Design fixation
  • Design briefs
  • Abstraction levels
  • Design practice
  • Stimuli
  • Creativity


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