Generative Design provides multiple benefits to the development of new products. First is the creation of intricate patterns that resemble natural systems, moving away from geometric shapes typical of mechanical design. Second is the automation of processes where computers perform complex and repetitive tasks that would be too hard or tedious for humans to do. The opportunities that automation provides is frequently considered the main benefit of generative design in the creation of new products, buildings and systems. In both of these approaches, the output that computers generate is driven primarily by a designer’s vision that already has a general idea of how the result might look like. A new approach for generative design by software company Autodesk allows designers to define goals and criteria for functional CAD designs, and then having a program generate iterations of potential solutions. This process presents a radical shift where the computer is not just facilitating the ideas of the designer but rather designing itself. While designers still are in charge of the process, deciding which solutions are suitable for further refinement and implementation, the relationship between human and machine becomes collaborative.

This paper explores the concepts described above and it shares the Author’s design explorations where both approaches for generative design are used in product design. Examples include products using Voronoi patterns and procedural networks where the physical appearance of the product is strikingly intricate and appealing, while the physical attributes of the product are not necessarily improved. Other examples illustrate the application of generative design structures created freely by the computer, following only set goals for supporting weight loads at given points. This process results in unique structures that are lightweight and strong but might also have a polarizing appearance for specific product applications. These examples will enable discussion on how designers will continue to integrate automation and generative systems into their process as technology continues to develop.

Publication Date



This is the pre-print of a paper presented at the XXII Generative Art Conference, 19-20 December 2019 in Rome, Italy.

The final version, as well as further information about the conference, is available here: https://generativeart.com/

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


RIT – Main Campus