How Do Materials Obtain Their Meanings?

Download
2010
Karana, Elvin
Product designers are expected to create products transferring certain ‘meanings’. Materials of products are used for supporting the intended meanings in product design; one material may convey luxury, another material can be associated with a particular culture. Designers who aim to select a material that will contribute to the meaning they intend to convey in a product are confronted with the difficulty that the materials universe is immense. Moreover, traditional sayings such as ‘wood is cozy’, ‘metal is aloof’ or ‘plastic is cheap’ are less relevant and strict in today’s design practice. Without a doubt, having insights into the role of materials for creating particular meanings has become more and more relevant in the domain of design. It is to be expected that materials are attributed different meanings in different products and contexts, affected by certain key variables. How do we experience materials around us? When do we think that a certain material is modern, elegant, sexy, feminine, or professional? This paper focuses on the main findings and implications of a Ph.D. research on ‘meanings of materials’. In this paper, the following two questions are addressed: (i) can a meaning be embedded in a material? and (ii) what are the key variables affecting the attribution of meanings to materials? In answering these questions, results from a literature review and a study conducted with 32 Dutch and Chinese participants are discussed. The paper ends with a discussion on existing materials selection sources and materials education in design.

Suggestions

Influence of Stakeholders on Industrial Design Materials and Manufacturing Selection
Pedgley, Owaın Francıs (2009-04-01)
Surprisingly little is reported on the pragmatic influence of project stakeholders on industrial designers' selection of product materials and manufacturing processes. This paper reports on a descriptive scoping study that revealed these influences as critical in making effective selection decisions. Using interview and case study methods, the study elicited the professional practices of industrial designers. These are analysed in the paper, leading to the formation of a four-way stakeholder description of ...
A semantic approach to the relationship between brand identity and exterior product design for visual brand recognition, through a case study on local commercial vehicle brand, Temsa
Zengin, Ali; Hasdoğan, Gülay Fatma; Department of Industrial Design (2010)
A corporation which is aiming to create a world class brand should evaluate its existing product portfolio as a first step to configure its future products better. Therefore, this study is performed with the collaboration of Temsa Global Company, who desires to create a global brand in the commercial vehicle area: Temsa. The aim of the study is to find out the relationship between the brand specific design characteristics and visual product design features with a semantic approach, through a case study on a...
The role of design attributes in shaping users’ value assignment: the case of portable digital audio players
Gedikli, Damla; Hasdoğan, Gülay Fatma; Department of Industrial Design (2011)
Users evaluate and assign value to products regarding several factors, one of which is design attributes. The attributes can provide certain consequences, which can, in turn, serve to users’ desires or ultimate goals in life. Value is attributed regarding the desirability of the sequential chain of attributes, consequences and goals. Considering value creation for the users as designers’ main responsibility; they should focus on how these chains are shaped while designing products. This study mainly concent...
Research and design for a material sample information system appropriate to industrial design students
Akın, Izzettin Fazıl; Pedgley, Owaın Francıs; Department of Industrial Design (2013)
The material of a product is one of the most important elements of product design that an industrial designer considers. It is also a major aspect of product innovation. Unfortunately, most of today’s material selection systems have been built on a technical basis and with an engineering perspective on product design. Current research shows that a physical environment allowing industrial designers to interact with material samples would greatly enhance designers’ material judgements and expertise and, there...
The influence of product appearance on perceived product quality in reference to washing machines
Veyisoğlu, Ahmet Burak; Hasdoğan, Gülay Fatma; Department of Industrial Design (2010)
Product quality is regarded as one of the most important factors that consumers consider while purchasing products. However, contrary to objective quality, perceived product quality includes consumer's judgment about the overall superiority or excellence of a product. This study mainly concentrates on the relationship between product appearance and perceived product quality especially for durable goods. The definitions of product quality and perceived product quality are reviewed to explain different dimens...
Citation Formats
E. Karana, “How Do Materials Obtain Their Meanings?,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 271–285, 2010, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: http://jfa.arch.metu.edu.tr/archive/0258-5316/2010/cilt27/sayi_2/271-285.pdf.