Creating a Reflective Understanding of Use of Formal Aesthetics in Product Semantic Frameworks

DS 81: Proceedings of NordDesign 2014, Espoo, Finland 27-29th August 2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Miko Laakso, Kalevi Ekman
Author: Ali, Abu; Liem, Andre
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Section: Design theory and practices
Page(s): 510-519
ISBN: 978-1-904670-58-2


This paper critically reflects on selected frameworks of product semantics, which have been applied in form giving and industrial design. Furthermore, a comparative analysis has been made between product semantics and formal aesthetics as different, but related fields of study. Focal areas in this literature review will be to find out: (1) which theories and frameworks of product semantics are specifically relevant for creating meaning and value in design? (2) How formal aesthetics and gestalt principles connect and influence the different product semantic frameworks. Results have indicated that in the semantic frameworks discussed in this article, formal aesthetic and gestalt theories have been established at the cognitive level. They indirectly incorporate formal aesthetic principles, such as geometry, dimension, texture, material, color, graphics and detailing. These principles were addressed from an analytical and descriptive perspective to create a more in-depth cognitive understanding of products and product forms. Although, none of the frameworks proposed the development of a formal design tool for using formal aesthetic characteristics in the generation of prospective form dominant products, Karjalainen and Snelders’ semantic transformation framework, could be further developed to incorporate gestalt and formal aesthetics, through the key drivers.

Keywords: Product semantics, frameworks for product experience


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