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Strategic style change using grammar transformations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2016

Sumbul Khan*
Architecture and Sustainable Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
Scott C. Chase
Faculty of Engineering, Flexible Learning Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
Reprint requests to: Sumbul Khan, 3.301-11, Singapore University of Technology and Design, 8 Somapah Road, Singapore487372. E-mail:


New styles can be created by modifying existing ones. In order to formalize style change using grammars, style has to be formally defined in the design language of a grammar. Previous studies in the use of grammars for style change do not give explicit rationale for transformation. How would designers decide which rules to modify in a grammar to generate necessary changes in style(s) of designs? This paper addresses the aforementioned issues by presenting a framework for strategic style change using goal-driven grammar transformations. The framework employs a style description scheme constructed by describing the aesthetic qualities of grammar elements using adjectival descriptors. We present techniques for the formal definition of style in the designs generated by grammars. The utility of the grammar transformation framework and the style description scheme is tested with an example of mobile phone design. Analyses reveal that constraining rules in grammars is a valid technique for generating designs with a dominance of desired adjectival descriptors, thus aiding in strategic style change.

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