Are Generative Adversarial Networks Capable of Generating Novel and Diverse Design Concepts? An Experimental Analysis of Performance

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Ghasemi, Parisa; Yuan, Chenxi; Marion, Tucker; Moghaddam, Mohsen
Series: ICED
Institution: Northeastern University
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0633-0644
DOI number:


Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) have shown stupendous power in generating realistic images to an extend that human eyes are not capable of recognizing them as synthesized. State-of-the-art GAN models are capable of generating realistic and high-quality images, which promise unprecedented opportunities for generating design concepts. Yet, the preliminary experiments reported in this paper shed light on a fundamental limitation of GANs for generative design: lack of novelty and diversity in generated samples. This article conducts a generative design study on a large-scale sneaker dataset based on StyleGAN, a state-of-the-art GAN architecture, to advance the understanding of the performance of these generative models in generating novel and diverse samples (i.e., sneaker images). The findings reveal that although StyleGAN can generate samples with quality and realism, the generated and style-mixed samples highly resemble the training dataset (i.e., existing sneakers). This article aims to provide future research directions and insights for the engineering design community to further realize the untapped potentials of GANs for generative design.

Keywords: Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, User centred design, Generative design, Generative adversarial networks

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