Pretenders and Misleaders in Product Design

By Anna Ursyn and Linda Lohr.

Published by The Design Collection

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

In the era of information visualization we communicate with shortcuts. We use signs, symbols, icons and metaphors, connotations and associations. We can create open or closed messages, whether we intend the user to understand the info as close to what is being sent, or we'd allow for imaginative interpretation. Object design has to fulfill functional, ergonomically oriented, aesthetic, material and space related demands, as well as match the area of joy of the user.

Various trends in product design aim for comfort, simplicity, elaboration, or fool proof and easiness of use. The best design is often self-explanatory.

In this illustrated presentation, we will explore objects that were designed to inform and entertain by mimicking another objects' characteristics. Some of them are to mislead us. Is this line created to entertain, make the day brighter, or have us think about design?

Keywords: Pretenders, Misleaders, Product Design, Communication Efficiency

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.99-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.738MB).

Dr. Anna Ursyn

Professor, School of Art and Design, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, USA

Professor, School of Art & Design, University of Northern Colorado, Computer Graphics Area Head, Research and pedagogy interests include integrated instruction in art, science, and computer art graphics. Work published in - “Writing on Drawing - Essays on Drawing Practice and Research” edited by Steve Garner, Intellect Books, London, ISBN 9781841502007 October 2008 - “Choreography: A Basic Approach Using Improvisation” by Sandra Cerny Minton, Human Kinetics Publishers, Third Edition, ISBN 13-978-0-7360-6476-7, 2007 - “Art of The Digital Age” by Bruce Wands, Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 0-500238170, 2006 - “Painting the Digital River” by James Faure Walker: Prentice Hall PT, ISBN: 0-131739026, 2006 - “Digital Printmaking” G. Whale & N. Barfield, A&C Black ‘2001, second edition by Wastson Guptil, ISBN 0-8230-1398-7, 2003 - “The Best of 3D Computer Graphics” CD by Vic Cherubini, Rockport Puplishers, Inc. , ISBN 1-56496-954-1, 2003 - P.I.E BOOKS, “New Postcard Graphics,” Tokyo, Japan, ISBN 4-89444-128-4 C3070, 2000.

Dr. Linda Lohr

Professor, Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, USA

Author of Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance: Lessons in Visual Literacy (second ed.) and the Art of Instructional Strategies: Designing Instruction at the lesson-level for four types of interaction (in press).


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