This study is aimed at ways to assess and improve design students’ creative outcomes and assist educators in crafting design briefs for design studios. The procedure entails a controlled yet analytical experiment in a university setting intended to test the potential of using analogical thinking to enhance the Novelty and Usefulness of design solutions. The control group received a brief that contained stimuli in the form of typical examples without instructions to use analogies. A second group was provided with a brief including stimuli elicited by text representations in the form of word pairs, and instructions to use textual analogies. The last group received the same stimuli as the other groups above; however, with instructions to identify negative features before using textual analogies.
One hundred and seven first-year undergraduate students took part in the study. The results demonstrated that design briefs with specific instructions to use textual-based analogies contributed to highly novel outcomes. However, when analogies were elicited by statements concerning negative issues of the design task, students were able to produce more useful outcomes. We suggest that textual-based analogies can be employed as a good in-class pedagogical tool for improving novice designers’ creative outcomes overall.