Designing identity of a new material: a new product design approach

BERGERET, Lorraine, BASSEREAU, Jean-François and AOUSSAT, Améziane (2009). Designing identity of a new material: a new product design approach. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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The present research is a design practice-based research based on the industrial development of a new concrete. The research focuses on the development of the specific identity of a new material. The research is aimed at demonstrating that product design can be used as a new strategy to create the material identity and thus to differentiate from existing materials. In order to design material specific identity in new products, we need to understand the perception process of shaped materials. Therefore we conducted exploratory study of materials recognition in products. We identified two types of products: the “messenger” products are specific shapes characteristic from the material; the “wrong messenger” products are imitations of other well known materials. The results of questionnaire about material recognition show that it’s more or less easy to identify material according to each product (whether it’s familiar or new shapes; whether it’s imitation or specific shapes and whether it’s well known or new material). We conclude on two types of shapes: on the one hand some familiar and typical shapes make easier and more certain the material recognition; on the other hand some new shapes make people more uncertain of what it is made of but more amazed. Designing amazing new shapes can be used as a new differentiation strategy to create the specific sensory identity of each new material. It means that the product can be a really useful support to fully communicate about a new material, beyond the traditional material samples.

New Material; Sensory Identity; Product Design

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:36

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