Semiotic Study on Desire-elicitation in Conceptual Design

By Mei-ling Fung and Kai-ming Yu.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Using the Graph of Desire by Jacques Lacan as the system of significations, researchers may elicit the unconscious desire in human mind. A psychoanalytical approach is employed to locate the unconscious desire of the customer (the Subject). The designer and her/his client will take part as the analyst, who is in the Other’s place. Charles Sanders Peirce’s Triadic Semiotic Theory is then engaged to further interpret these symbols and signs. In the category of signs, there are icon by its own quality, index by the relation to its object, and symbol by a habit or rule for its interpretant. There are different levels of interpretation for the designers to work out and to uncover the hidden desire of the consumers before developing any initial idea.

Keywords: Conceptual Design, Graph of Desire, Unconscious, Peirce’s Triadic Semiotic Theory

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.147-160. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.459MB).

Mei-ling Fung

MPhil Student, Industrial Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China

• Studied fine art and graduated at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris (1983-89) and the Université Paris VIII (1989-91) in France. • Worked as chief designer of optical frames (1994-2001) and lecturer at the School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2003-6). • Teaching Design and Visual Communication at the Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity and studying as MPhil student at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Kai-ming Yu

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Dr. Kai-ming YU received his BSc (Eng) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hong Kong in 1985. He obtained his PhD from the University of Hong Kong, Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1991. He worked in the Research Centre and Mechanical Engineering Department of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology until 1993. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests include Computer-aided aesthetic design, design innovation, CAD/CAM, CAE, PDM, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping technologies.


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