Creating Novel Product Form Based on Formal Aesthetics – A Method for Advanced Form Design Education
Paper in proceedings, 2012
One of the most distinct aspects of creativity in design is an aesthetic sense, an indubitable determinant of product success in the market. It is therefore of great importance to nurture creativity in terms of formal aesthetics in design education. However, the focus of design education has shifted away from product form and instead towards user-centred design (UCD) practices. An intrinsic challenge in the tradition of user-centred design is that it initiates creating products from the definition of some user needs, educing design solutions that are, to some extent, already known by the user, as familiarity factors are favoured. In our research, we turn the established UCD process around and propose an approach for exploring and creating novel product form with a focus on formal aesthetics. This paper elaborates on the Formal Aesthetics Design Approach that has been explored during a three-year case study, performed within a Masters programme in Industrial Design Engineering. A deep exploration of aesthetic form opportunities, consciously without any respect to user demands, was carried out by a structured five-step method. There was no ‘given’ or predefined aim for the form design process, which lead to a creative and experimental yet structured generation of formal solutions beyond the functionality of use. Hence, a variety of novel and unexpected form ideas emerged, broadening the morphological form repertoire as a result of the suggested method of work. This research illustrates benefits offered by applying a formal aesthetic design approach as a creative form generation process in design education.