While developments in computer-supported collaborative work tools, computer aided design and the availability of high bandwidth networks offer alternative collaborative environments for design, the alternatives have yet to be characterised in terms of their impact on the co-creation of a shared model. A specific collaborative design environment makes a commitment to the way in which the designers can communicate and co-create an external representation of the shared design model. This research focuses on the impact of alternative collaborative virtual environments on design behaviour and collaborative processes. An experiment was conducted to identify similarities and differences between co-located collaborative designing using sketches as the external representation and remote collaborative designing sessions using sketches and 3-D models. The results of this study are discussed in terms of: (1) the effect of being remotely located; (2) the effect of the type of external representations.