A Neutral Form for Experiential Material Characterisation

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Veelaert, Lore; Moons, Ingrid; Rohaert, Sarah; Du Bois, Els
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Antwerp
Section: Human behaviour in design and design cognition
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/dsi.2019.180
ISSN: 2220-4342


Materials experience in design involves the meanings that materials convey to users through its expressive characteristics. Such meaning evoking patterns are influenced by parameters such as context, product (e.g.shape) and user. Consequently, there is a need to standardise experiential material characterisation and large-scale data collection, by means of a meaning-less or ?neutral? demonstrator to objectively compare materials.

This paper explores the conception of this neutrality and proposes two opposing strategies: neutrality through complexity or through simplicity. In a pre-study with 20 designers, six associative pairs are selected as neutrality criteria, and shaped in 240 forms by 20 (non) designers in a main workshop. Following the simplicity strategy, these forms are averaged out in three steps by a team of five designers, based on a consensus on of delicate-rugged, aggressive-calm, futuristic-calm, masculine-feminine, traditional-modern, and toylike-professional, resulting in a selection of four averaged neutral forms.

Finally, future research will focus on complexity to increase interactivity, so that consumers might be triggered in extensive material exploration.

Keywords: User centred design, Multisensory product experience, Human behaviour in design, Material demonstrator, Materials Experience


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