A projection of the model trough a time axis generates evolving
planes in which observations of the elements and its relations could be made. Those
observations give information about how the system changes.
A careful analysis and understanding of
each of the elements and relations presented in this model is imperious in order to
create, in an effective way, common imageries around a given object, by means of publicity
or by means of semantic contents put in the object itself.
Objects, what is being designed?
The word "object" has
several senses and meanings. The Websters New World Dictionary says:
Object: noun. 1. a thing
that can be seen or touched; material thing that occupies space 2. a person or thing to
which action, thought, or feeling is directed. 3. what is aimed at; purpose; end; goal. 4.
Gram. a noun or other substantive that directly or indirectly receives the action
of a verb, or one that is governed by a preposition. 5. Philos. anything that can
be known or perceived by the mind 1. a thing that
can be seen or touched; material thing that occupies space 2. a person or thing to which
action, thought, or feeling is directed. 3. what is aimed at; purpose; end; goal. 4. Gram.
a noun or other substantive that directly or indirectly receives the action of a verb, or
one that is governed by a preposition. 5. Philos. anything that can be known or
perceived by the mind
From these descriptions can be deducted
that an object could be anything material or immaterial since it can be perceived by the
mind, is aimed at, or receives the action of a verb.
It means that in a linguistic sense,
designers do not design objects because an object could be anything, with or without
finality. However, object also means purpose, end, goal. It could be confusing. Do
designers design "things" or "end goals"?
Designing is an intentional activity.
The teleological condition of the design activity means that everything we design has an
objective, finality. Objectives are actions, and actions are represented using verbs.
Actions require actors and objects to
which actions are directed. The actors are the active elements, the things that make
possible and support the verb, and the verbs actions are perceived by the things the
action is acting on, the flows the direct complements.
This reflection is important because the
main questions designers have to ask themselves are, what does object design mean? Am I
Objects design means a lot, and the
designer has to focus on a specific meaning, it is, has to think about the sense is giving
to the word and of course, to the design action. A designer can design the objective, the
thing that is going to support an existing action or the things to which those actions are
directed. The three possibilities conduct the designer to different conceptual spaces and
towards different types of solutions.
If designer is designing the support for
a given action, is designing subjects, nouns, substantives, actors. If designer is
designing the objective, a new action, is designing new approaches, new ways to do
something (the designer could be imagining new adverbs for an action, or creating new
verbs), is dreaming, is desiring. Finally, if the designer is designing the flows, the
things that the actions are directed to, is designing new uses for a known actor,
principle, or effect.
There are more approaches to these
definitions. In spite of which sense the designer is giving to the "object",
he/she is always designing a subject. If designer is using the first sense, it is clear
that the verbs supporter must be a subject. In the third case, the flow, the direct
complement in a sentence is always a substantive, a noun, an object, a subject.
The third sense is a little bit more
complex to analyze. Actions are impossible without a subject. Always, a new action implies
a new actor or a new way to use the same actor. It is impossible to separate the actor of
the action and vise versa.
The objects we design are intended to be
used by a user. The objects action and the way the user uses the object condition
the users behavior, so the design process must consider the changes the designed
object will produce on the user. Some products are based on this statement, the designer
does not design the object itself but the users behavior, and the object is only a
way to produce the expected effect, the designer is designing the user. Although this is
true always - the designer is designing not only the actor, but also the user- , in most
cases the designer is not aware of that. Here the essential point is the responsibility
the designer has in the induced change on the behavior of an individual or a group.
The concept of life cycle, an
ontogenic point of view.
The concept of product life cycle
appears in a different way depending of the looking it is given. In marketing, such
concept considers the product before its launching into the market Introduction,
growing, maturity, declining. From a perspective of design, this concept has an
ontogenic sense. It considers all the cycle of development of the product from its conception
as an idea to its death, when it is retired from the environment
and its postmortem processes, which consist in second uses, recycle, etc.
Is this vision of the life cycle what
gives sense to the design methodics. It is to see in a timeaxis all stages of the
development of the product, and in a processaxis the activities, persons and methods
that affect in one way or another the development of the product. It justifies the
necessity of an effective strategy of design management.
Product characterization and
Design from a functional perspective
is a way to find a corporeal form, which must be responsible of the function and of a
series of characteristics well defined by each one of the interveners in the process.
Intervener could be anyone, from the person who makes the charge, designs, packs, sells,
to whom is the user, the maintainer, etc. In the design process a kind of metamorphosis is
produced, where the ideas are mutated until converted into a solution. All the
characteristics of the charge are converted into characteristics of the solution in an
In addition, there are other functional
characteristics that have not an exclusively functional sense their sense is to
create sense and must be also object of design, not in the object itself, but in the
subjects whom will use it.
The creation of sense is a subjective
process. It can be done only by the mind of the subject who creates the sense. Sense is
always a fact of culture, a product of culture. Although, in our society that fact of
culture has been trivialized, naturalized. We only see in the world at least in a
conscious way a practical world of uses and functions, a total dominance of the
objects, when in reality we are in a world of sense created by those objects, which also
dominate and condition our behavior. Those objects, being precedents of new ones,
condition the way we will semantize future objects. This is because observation of the
objects is a product of vivential experiences, of our epistemological background.
The sense creation brings out the
creation of imageries constructed around the action of endowing objects with qualities.
The process is given exclusively in the mental world; it is a subjective process, which is
done in an individual and/or collective manner.
Exist then, two types of
characteristics. Ones that exist in a real world and others that only exist in the mental
world. Ones that in the moment of being observed, are independent of the observer, and
others that depend of it. This differentiation is made in virtue of the recognition that
by the game of the opposition is made between the mentalreal, between the functional
and the semantic.
The characteristics contain the
subsets [[attributesproperties]qualities]. The attributes and the
properties are recognized by mere agreement, as objective characteristics existent in the
real world. The qualities instead are assigned to the object by the subject who observes,
they are which permit the creation of sense. The properties constitute the syntagms, which
acquire sense in the context, the contents of the text such context is
provided by the groups of significance in which the object is observed.
The properties correspond to a series of
characteristic that although have also been assigned in an arbitrary manner
have been constituted in commonly accepted patterns. The properties, or which is proper of
the observed object are a product objects materiality, of the corporification
process to which have been submitted during the design process.
The attributes are that what is
attributed to the object, which is said is capable of doing. The uses or functions which
are recognized in the object. The function, the teleological contents of the object always
underlay, it is given for granted, otherwise, the object can only acquire the sense of
useless. The function is not willful. The function is imposed by the structure; it is
fixed and determined by the designer.
Another category corresponds to those
subjective characteristics, meaning to say, which depend on the opinion of the subject who
observes them. For them there are not precise agreements defined, and only is possible to
mention them by meaning of qualifying adjectives with no specific value. They are merely
qualifying characteristics. Examples of them are pretty, ugly, red and generally, the
values assigned to them are very, little, much, etc. Those characteristics are qualities.
The properties have a normative
character making them cultural, historical and geographically independent. No matter what
type of units are used in a determined environment, a property of length and volume will
be always the same independent of where is the measure being taken, or who is doing it.
This makes that it could be said that they are inherent to the observed object, they
belong to it, they are owned by it because a standard gives such characteristics. The
properties are determinable only by means of comparison processes with established
The qualities, on the other hand, are
not assignables to the object itself. Due to its character of subjectives and dependent of
the observer, of its imagery, of his sociocultural formation only can be assigned to
the meanings, to the referents, to the mental. The qualities do not exist in the object
but in the subject who observe them. Something is elegant because somebody thinks it is,
not because it is in reality elegant. Elegant would be then, a quality of the
meaning, not a quality of the object.
The qualities depend of the subject who
observes, and the subject can be individual or collective. The collective subjects are
composed by individuals who share a common ideary, a group of significance. As long as the
functions and the properties are determined by the structure and the materiality, it is in
the qualities, which are conceded, where an influence on the perception of an object in
semantic terms. All the semantics contained in an object is designed in the users, in the
observers, and not in the object itself. They are designed by means of declarative acts in
front of a collective. In reality, which is designed, is a group of significance, -the
users, which finally must coincide with the objective market of such object
The construction of common idearies on a
determined group is the generation of a kind of pseudorules highly dynamic,
dependent of cultural, temporary and spatial environments. The concepts of aesthetics,
elegance, beauty, change in the same time with cultural context changes and, in the same
cultural context, with changes in time. What is elegant today, will not be tomorrow and
what is in vogue today will be antiquated tomorrow. Which is modern today is archaic the
next day and what is elegant to an Irish is extravagant for an American.
Value, Cost and appreciation
Value, cost and appreciation are characteristics
that appear when appear, in the subject, actions like valuation, costing and appraising.
In this context, to cost will correspond, in order to create an agreement, to endow
with exchange value, to assign a price and appreciation, to endow with affective value, to
esteem. The value and the esteem are characteristics of the objects than only exist in the
existence of the subject who valuates or appreciates them.
Value is a combination of factors that
involves the appreciation a subject has for something, his desire for its possession and
what the current owner, had sacrificed for it, plus his own esteem for the object. It is
just that sacrifices interchange what vitalizes the economy.
The economical value of the objects
price is determined with reference to another. The desire of a subject for an
object is reached by means of the sacrifice of any other object, which is at the same
time, the object of desire of the second subject.
Given that the characteristics value,
cost and appreciation have only sense in the case of objects that are, or could be, object
of desire of any other subject, and because of it susceptible of a transaction or
interchange, will have only sense in the merchandises. An uncomplete definition of
merchandises cold be "objects with an interchange value, usually an economic
value". The cost of the merchandises is not an inherent characteristic, but is a
judgment about them emitted by subjects.
Simmel suggests that objects are not
hard to acquire for its high value, we call valued those objects that resists our desire
to posses them.
The sense of the qualities in market
A market could be modeled as a set
of individuals; each of them elects whether or not to buy a product based on internal
measures personal judgements. These internal measures enforce the election.
The dimensions of these measures are valuation and appreciation.
Consistent with he concept that a force
of behavior is what leads the individual election, the value is defined as the measure of
the consumers election. Is the sum of its appreciation of the object plus which he/she is
disposed to sacrifice for it its price.
This means that the design efforts must
be oriented towards the increase of the perceived value of the product. It is not only
about product design like transforming elements of flows (matter, energy, signal), like
physical forms that supports a function. As aforesaid, cost is relative and must be always
compared with something, as the weight must be compared with a patter (the scale). That
something is value.
To remark the qualities in the objects
by any mean, publicity in example, has the objective of making the value customers
perceive in the objects to be as high as possible, in such a way that customers becomes
disposed to sacrifice a lot to obtain them. Price will be then assigned based not only on
the production costs, or the offer and demand curves, it will be assigned based on the
meanings and value customers perceive in the product.
To achieve this, it indispensable to
know the manner potential customers semantize our products. Studying their cultural
identities using the model [NMCO] will conduct design planners and
marketing practitioners to a new kind of markets segmentation.
Geographic and psicographic
segmentations are not enough when considering users that endows with meanings our
products. It will be necessary to think in a new way to segment the market. It is the
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