Popular discourses and representations of automation in design practice have often committed to an ontology of design and creativity where both materials, media and tools are rendered passive actors in design processes. The ways in which these narratives are articulated have consequences for how the materiality of media and of construction elements is construed in both design discourses and environments. Providing a brief critical history of the mutual construction of design technologies and notions of creativity and design is a concern of this paper, which concludes with a critical re-writing of disembodied conceptions of automation in design.