From Design Thinking, Design Theory


Unfolding the Design Process

By Gabriela Goldschmidt

The description of a method for the notation and analysis of the creative process in design, drawing on insights from design practice and cognitive psychology.





The description of a method for the notation and analysis of the creative process in design, drawing on insights from design practice and cognitive psychology.

This book presents linkography, a method for the notation and analysis of the design process. Developed by Gabriela Goldschmidt in an attempt to clarify designing, linkography documents how designers think, generate ideas, put them to the test, and combine them into something meaningful. With linkography, Goldschmidt shows that there is a logic to the creative process—that it is not, as is often supposed, pure magic. Linkography draws on design practice, protocol analysis, and insights from cognitive psychology.

Goldschmidt argues that the generation of ideas (and their inspection and adjustment) evolves over a large number of small steps, which she terms design moves. These combine in a network of moves, and the patterns of links in the networks manifest a “good fit,” or congruence, among the ideas. Goldschmidt explains what parts of the design process can be observed and measured in a linkograph, describing its features and notation conventions. The most significant elements in a linkograph are critical moves, which are particularly rich in links. Goldschmidt presents studies that show the importance of critical moves in design thinking; describes cases that demonstrate linkography's effectiveness in studying the creative process in design (focusing on the good fit); and offers thirteen linkographic studies conducted by other researchers that show the potential of linkography in design thinking research and beyond. Linkography is the first book-length treatment of an approach to design thinking that has already proved influential in the field.


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262027199 216 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 47 figures


  • Linkography is already one of the most influential, elegant, and insightful design research methods. Linkography takes an in-depth and critical look into this remarkable visual language to understand design as a mode of thought. Goldschmidt brings the research method she invented together with the latest data from design research to elucidate the thinking part of design thinking.

    Andy Dong

    Professor of Engineering, the University of Sydney; author of The Language of Design

  • Design thinking is one of the best examples of practical creativity. The imagination is at work, but there are concrete and useful results in the designs. *Linkography* confirms that Goldschmidt has contributed mightily towards a sound understanding of design. Her ideas about networks and critical moves will appeal to anyone interested in the dynamic processes underlying design and creativity.

    Mark A. Runco

    E. Paul Torrance Professor of Creativity Studies, University of Georgia, Athens; editor of Creativity Research Journal

  • This compact, important book offers the reader the key to enter the world of linkography. It will have a real impact on design research by making fine-grained research into how designers think accessible to all. In Linkography, Gabriela Goldschmidt shows that after decades of borrowing from other academic disciplines, design research has now matured to the point where it is developing research methods relevant to other fields.

    Kees Dorst

    Professor of Design Innovation, University of Technology, Sydney and Eindhoven University of Technology; author of Understanding Design and co-author of Design Expertise

  • Design thinking is an important thinking approach. Goldschmidt introduces and describes linkography, a methodology for cognitively based design thinking research, in a highly accessible manner that requires no cognitive science background. This is a unique, foundational book by the developer of linkography that needs to be read by all design researchers.

    John Gero

    Former Professor of Design Science and Director, Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition, University of Sydney; co-author of Knowledge-Based Design Systems and editor of Design Computing and Cognition '12