A picture is worth a thousand words, and in design metric estimation, a word may be worth a thousand features. Pictures are awarded this worth because of their ability to encode a plethora of information. When evaluating designs, we aim to capture a range of information as well, information including usefulness, uniqueness, and novelty of a design. The subjective nature of these concepts makes their evaluation difficult. Despite this, many attempts have been made and metrics developed to do so, because design evaluation is integral to innovation and the creation of novel solutions. The most common metrics used are the consensual assessment technique (CAT) and the Shah, Vargas-Hernandez, and Smith (SVS) method. While CAT is accurate and often regarded as the “gold standard,” it heavily relies on using expert ratings as a basis for judgement, making CAT expensive and time consuming. Comparatively, SVS is less resource-demanding, but it is often criticized as lacking sensitivity and accuracy. We aim to take advantage of the distinct strengths of both methods through machine learning. More specifically, this study seeks to investigate the possibility of using machine learning to facilitate automated creativity assessment. The SVS method results in a text-rich dataset about a design. In this paper we utilize these textual design representations and the deep semantic relationships that words and sentences encode, to predict more desirable design metrics, including CAT metrics. We demonstrate the ability of machine learning models to predict design metrics from the design itself and SVS Survey information. We demonstrate that incorporating natural language processing (NLP) improves prediction results across all of our design metrics, and that clear distinctions in the predictability of certain metrics exist. Our code and additional information about our work are available at http://decode.mit.edu/projects/nlp-design-eval/.

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