Design tools that aim not only to analyse and evaluate, but also to generate and explore alternative design proposals are now under development. An evolutionary paradigm is presented as a basis for creating such tools. First, the evolutionary paradigm is shown to be the only successful design system on which this new phase of design tool could be based. Secondly, any characterisation of design as a search problem is argued to be a serious misconception. Instead it is proposed that evolutionary design systems should be seen as generative processes that are able to evaluate their own output. Thirdly, a generic framework for generative evolutionary design systems is presented. Fourth, the generative process is introduced as key element within this generic framework. The role of the environment within this process is fundamental. Finally, the direction of future research within the evolutionary design paradigm is discussed with possible short and long term goals being presented.