Sensory Perception in Materials Selection for Industrial/Product Design

Mark Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A major concern of designers of consumer products is how their products will be perceived in the market place. The materials used in the manufacture of these products become the media by which the interface between the consumer and the designed product is perceived. The consumer perception of these products will be strongly influenced by their sensory interaction with the materials through both visual and non-visual means. Hence, the selection of a material for a manufactured product is influenced not only by the physical properties but also on the user’s perception of the material based on sensory properties such as colour, texture, smell and taste.

    In addition to addressing material perception within the sensory domain, this research project also focuses on the cultural domain, including understanding the relationships between sensory responses and culture. An interdisciplinary research approach has been adopted which draws on expertise from design and engineering, social science, and arts and humanities. This combines a study of cultural memory, as well as associative values attached to materials and objects, perception and physical properties of materials.

    This paper discusses the initial results of controlled experimental tests undertaken in both Southampton and Beijing using specially prepared samples of leather. Participants were asked to perceive the texture of the samples via senses such as vision, touch, or a combination of both vision and touch. This was followed by completing a questionnaire, consisting of both quantitative and qualitative questions. Two additional tests were also included, a blindfold and sighted smell test and a visual colour assessment. Statistical software was used to analyse the correlations between the subjective data obtained.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-31
    JournalThe International Journal of Designed Objects
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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