Transfering Portuguese and Lusophone Cultural Traits to Product Design: A Process Informed with Product Personality Attributes

By Ana Sofia da Cunha e Silva and Denis A. Coelho.

Published by The Design Collection

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

The paper contributes to the development and dissemination of Portuguese design and Lusophone design so that they may be more recognized, helping to make Portuguese and Lusophone design identifiable. To this end, a survey was made of traits based on cultural identity of the Portuguese people and of people from the Portuguese speaking countries and the diverse perspectives they have of themselves, of each other and the perspectives of the former held by those not speaking Portuguese. After analyzing the traits and perspectives gathered, these aspects were divided into positive, neutral and negative. Based on this study, we developed and applied a methodology to tentatively transfer cultural traits of Portuguese and Lusophone cultures to product design. Only aspects of Portuguese and Lusophone nature considered positive and neutral were transfered, since the aim for the products is that everything is pleasant in itself, good and positive, so the negative aspects were excluded. Several correspondences between cultural traits of the Lusophone and Portuguese, connoted by the authors as positive and neutral, and the personality attributes of the product offered by Patrick W. Jordan (2000) were established. Then, a match between the attributes of personality resulting from the consideration of cultural features and technical characteristics of the 12 products tested (material, colour, shape, graphical markings, archetype, morphology, ease of use, manufacture, technological refinement, multiple functionality and size) was established. This process was informed by practical cases, and resulted in the creation of product specifications. From the creation of the specification, two product lines of living-room furniture were designed, one with an intended Portuguese character and another with a character embedding the spirit of the Portuguese speaking world, subjected to validation by industrial design students.

Keywords: Cultural Identity, Product Design, Cultural Traits, Humanistic Perspective, Technical Properties

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.145-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.266MB).

Ana Sofia da Cunha e Silva

Technological Industrial Design Studies, Department Electromechanical Engineering, Universidade da Beira interior, Covilhã, Portugal

Ana Sofia da Cunha e Silva studied Industrial Design in Universidade da Beira Interior. She completed her undergraduate studies in 2008 and her Master of Science studies in Industrial Design Engineering in 2010. She has a special interest on culture and furniture design. She is currently an industrial design intern in training at Simoldes Plásticos (Portugal).

Prof. Denis A. Coelho

Assistant Professor, Technological Industrial Design Program, Department of Electromechanical Engineering, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal

Denis A. Coelho has been responsible for the creation and development in the University of Beira Interior of an entirely new program of studies in Industrial Design (undergraduate studies leading to a Bachelor’s degree) and Technological Industrial Design (Masters program). He has also designed and helped design post-secondary programs of studies including Multimedia product development, E-commerce web applications and multimedia web applications. As a Mechanical Engineer with an Ergonomic Design and Production Management post-graduate education his research has focused in several areas. He has worked with car seat comfort (ergonomic design) and has also been interested in Management Systems in Small and Medium Enterprises, as well as providing a contribution to the advancement of ergonomic design methods. He has also participated and coordinated Multimedia design projects, focusing on the application of ergonomic guidelines at both the conceptual and application level. International exposure has included research performed in collaboration with Swedish and US universities, applied to the automotive and healthcare sectors.


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