People perceive patterns in representations, patterns that may not have been initially intended. This phenomenon of emergence plays an important role in design. Computer based design assistants should support this human perceptual ability, using pattern recognition to anticipate human designers’ perception of emergent shapes and supporting the subsequent manipulation of and reasoning with these shapes as part of the design. Freehand drawing programs with gesture recognition are well positioned to implement shape emergence.
2001 Emergence in a Recognition Based Drawing Interface, Gross, M.D., in Visual and Spatial Reasoning II, J. Gero, B. Tversky, T. Purcell, eds., Key Centre for Design Cognition and Computing, Sydney Australia, pp. 51-65. [pdf]