An exploration into aesthetic association of product form

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Creating a relevant and pleasing design aesthetic is a fundamental aim designers endeavour to achieve. Perception of aesthetics takes place both during the design process when the designer creates a form, and later, through the users? interpretation of the form. Within the perception process, association plays a significant role. This paper addresses the stage research results of our exploration into the associative meanings of a product. By analysing the evaluation of a series of top award winning designs, it was found that some associative meanings (represented by descriptive words) are correlated, such as ?pure-architecturalgeometrical?, ?delicate-curvaceous-organic? etc. By conducting a series of workshops, both in the UK and China, we have been able to explore the extent to which young designers are able to manipulate form, style and create an overall perception of a positive aesthetic. One of the main outputs during the workshops was to design a MP3 player with speaker units, styled in line with three topics of aesthetic association: topic 1 ? pure, architectural, geometrical and technical; topic 2 ? curvaceous, organic, and fun; topic 3 ? graceful, cheerful, and powerful. Three non-correlated associative descriptors were deliberately used in topic 3. Results suggest that young designers tend to differ in their ability and success of manipulating form to match different aesthetic targets. When the descriptive words in one aesthetic topic are correlated, student designers seem to find it easier to manipulate the form matching the topic. Comparative analysis between the results from the workshops in the UK (Southampton Solent University) and in China (Tsinghua University) is also presented in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign & Semantics of Form & Movement 2007, December 2007, Newcastle University
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

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