Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Carol Smith


As a graphic designer, I was drawn to the CCT Program in part because I desired to strengthen my thinking skills as a creative professional. Through being reflective, I aimed to “get more in touch” with my process to better understand it and see how I might improve my approaches. Scholarship on reflective practice in design education and design practice is a growing body of literature, which inspired this synthesis project. This paper looks at Schön’s theories of reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action, models for reflection in the design process provided by Ellmers, Brown, and Bennett, and Reymen, and various reflective practice tools (such as journals, weblogs, and critical incident questionnaires). I then adapt and apply select elements of these models and tools, experimenting with them during the process of developing book cover design concepts for this paper. I document my reflections on both my design process and my experiences using the tools. Observations made about my approaches to concept development included the use of language as a powerful tool, awareness of “the voice of the critic,” benefits of seeking feedback and trying new creative thinking tools, and a desire to improve approaches to preliminary design research and to evaluation of design concepts. Perceived strengths and limitations of the reflection tools included the journal and the written self-assessments being the most convenient and easy to use during the design process, the checklists being more technical and less easy to use in reflecting freely, but beneficial for use in reacquainting with the design project if time has passed between design sessions; and the weblog (blog) being most useful for more refined, concise reflections, forcing the blogger to re-articulate their process in order to speak to an audience. In general, documenting reflections on the design process immediately following a design session was highly beneficial to my goal of “getting more in touch” with my process and beginning to think about the strengths and areas to improve in my approaches. This paper concludes with considerations about transferring reflective practice from my solo practice to a collaborative work environment, building a community of creative professionals, being a designer who is also a feminist, and brief thoughts on improving design education.


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