Product Semantics in Theory and Practice

Li Wikström
2019 Zenodo  
In the field of industrial design it is important that products, through their material form, be given an opportunity to carry and communicate an intentional message. A product can express characteristics and thereby create desirable emotions in a potential user. Semiotics is usually described as sign theory – the science and study of signs and sign systems, their structure, properties and role in sociocultural behaviour. The term 'sign' has been defined thus: 'A sign, or representamen, is
more » ... hing which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity.' (Charles S. Peirce, CP 2.228.) Semiotics may be seen as a way of observing with which people's perceptions and attitude toward the surroundings can be described and explained. A sign is something that conveys a message to us. Semantics is the theory of relationships between signs and their meanings, and studies the product's message. The icon is a category of signs that builds upon similarity between physical form and what it refers to, such as another product, an activity, or a property or expression. Icons occur commonly in design work. Metaphors can be regarded as icons, and a metaphor may be used to give a product some specific expression. The product may express characteristics that resemble those of another product, and their relationship can then be called metaphorical. A sports car expressing speed, manliness and efficiency may be used as a metaphor for creating these expressions in, for example, a vacuum cleaner. Product semiotics is fundamental to the instruction given today in the educational area of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE), among others, at Chalmers University of Technology. Semiotic concepts and models form a basis for a product-semiotic theory and, with this point of departure, the product sign can be analysed and explained. The instruction contains a theoretical part and a more practical applied part. Through theoretical instruction in product semiotics, the students ga [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.2588531 fatcat:a7mu44ci5fcgnfcpdouf7i5aku