This paper describes an empirical study of student designers’ sketching activities in new product design teams. A comprehensive list of metrics associated with sketches is identified and their relative level of importance at different stages in the design process is evaluated. Correlations between sketching activities, variety of the concept sketches, and design outcomes are presented. Results show the volume of total sketches and the number of 3-dimensional sketches has an increasingly positive effect on the design outcome as the design proceeds from preliminary investigation, through conceptual design, to detailed development and testing. Results also show that there is a statistically significant correlation between the total number of individual journal sketches created during the design process and an individual student’s class grade.

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