Symbols in Product Design
As mentioned before, symbols and semiotics are the most important visual language elements in product design. Product itself has meaning rather than a media like posters and paintings to convey information or feelings. Therefore, product design is more veiled in visual language than graphic design or creating arts.
Product design is a little bit like acting. If [angrily] was the stage direction, the natural acting of this emotion is definitely not frowns, pursed lips, folded arms and stamping feet. These gestures are obvious and stiff symbols telling the audience that the actor is “acting”. Therefore, the best acting is, don’t act. That does not mean the actor should actually get mad but to study and fathom the personality of the character and the scenario.
The word “angry” is an abstract description but also a concrete concept. Since everyone had experience the emotion, it is not difficult to imitate anger using body language and facial expression. However, what if a designer was asked to design a product that featured anger? Since the subject of design is a product, there is no possible that designers position words like “piss off” or a scowl face on it to show irritation. Instead, lines, patterns, materials, etc. are used to build up links between visual perceptions and the fury.
Designers predict users and consumers’ responses upon statistic data and scientific analysis than mere guesses and assumptions. People receive visual messages, project imaginations, and associate connotations to build linkage between concepts and what they’ve perceived. Non-linguistic metaphor, imaginary and association reinforce or create contrast to the meaning of the product, adding quality, depth and excitement to it.
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