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Marketing and Design Research in a Consumer-centric World

International Journal of Design is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to publishing research papers in all fields of design, including industrial design, visual communication design, interface design, animation and game design, architectural design, urban design, and other design related fields. It aims to provide an international forum for the exchange of ideas from researchers across different cultures and encourages research on the impact of cultural factors on design theory and practice. It also seeks to promote the transfer of knowledge between professionals in academia and industry by emphasizing research in which results are of interest or applicable to design practices.

Since 2007, the IJD has been published 3 times per year in both print and online editions by faculty and students of the Graduate Institute of Design, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei, Taiwan. The Editorial Staff is international in geography and entirely academic in scope. It is a non-advertising based publication model.

The International Journal of Design invites papers from any contributors on a wide range of topics, including the following:

  • Social-Cultural Aspects of Design
  • Globalization and Localization Approaches to Design
  • Design Strategy and Management
  • Ergonomics and Perceptions in Design
  • Design Theories and Methodologies
  • Computer Applications in Design

All submissions undergo an anonymous double-blind peer review process before being accepted for submission. The process starts with the Editor-in-Chief who, after acceptance, passes the submission to an Assistant Editor. The Assistant Editor sends the submission to a diverse team of referees who determine the final judgment as to the acceptability for inclusion in the journal.

The aim of this research was to provide knowledge on the consumer perception of product appearances by identifying attributes that consumers use to distinguish product appearances. “The appearance of a product communicates meaning by helping consumers to assess the product on functional, aesthetic, symbolic or ergonomic motives.” These motives play a role in the consumers overall product appraisal. Companies that are able to communicate a certain meaning through the appearance of a product design can create a competitive advantage in the marketplace and increase the product’s chance of success.

The appearance attributes of designed products often reflect what designers themselves perceive in a product design. To deflect that bias, in this classic example of focus group qualitative research, the appearance descriptions were generated by consumers themselves in an open categorization task. The three prevalent descriptions were defined as the attributes Modernity, Simplicity and Playfulness. These three attributes provide a general view on how consumers perceive durable product appearances and differentiate between different appearances. These attributes were confirmed in a separate, repeated categorization task performed by a second group of consumers. The research showed that these attributes proved stable across different groups of consumers indicating that they are universally accepted. Additionally, the attributes were validated across different product categories and the outcomes indicate that they are not product category specific.

This research provides insight into consumer perceptions of product appearances, and the defined attributes can provide valuable guidelines to designers wanting to attune their designed product appearances to consumer preferences.

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