Functional and loveable products through new methods of participatory design
In the future we need to consume less and consume smarter. I started my graduation project by looking at how to design products that people will feel a true and emotional connection to, and due to this keep and love them for a longer time.
By focusing on fashion products, that by reputation have very low longevity, but a high emotional and identity value, the project aimed at developing a collection of products both of high product-quality and emotional and identity value to the user.
The end result is two silhouettes based mainly on accessories, and a new design methodology taking advantage of the natural ability of humans to perceive other people holistically.
The Project Muse
Download Master-thesis Produkter med personlighed (in Danish)
How does functionality of a product and the aspiration and needs of users relate to each other? The Project Muse-method explores this relation and suggests a platform for collecting knowledge and research, that can be evaluated both from a product and user point of view at the same time.
This platform, is inspired by the well known persona-tool and the way in particular artists use inspirational muses. By combining the characteristics of a functional product (what the product HAVE to be) with the personality of the aspirational self of the user (what emotional values the product NEED to convey), makes it possible to create a new kind of persona, that not just designers, but others can relate to, when making product development decisions.
The intention of this method of collecting and conveying research is to make products that create value for the user, both in relation to their needs and aspirations.
The three Project Muses of this Project
In this project three Project Muses was created during storytelling workshops with potential users. I transferred the stories, created in the workshops, into inspirational art pieces, which represented the personality of the ’muses’ through colors, materials and shapes. These objects became the foundation of which the products and silhouettes was designed upon.
Each silhouette is representing a Project Muse. This approach takes participatory design to a new level in which the user contributes with both his needs and his subconscious aspirations, through telling the story of a person he finds interesting.
The design process ran i three phases:
1: Research: Understanding and developing the Project Muses (co-creation and ordinary research)
2: Making artistic representations of the Project Muses. Here a transformation of emotional values into form, color and material was explored.
3: Translating the Project Muse (Personality-characteristic and scenario-tale) and the artistic representation into a collection of products.