Yeah, I Talk to My Car...So What? Roles and Levels of Closeness in Person-product Relationship

By Ruben H. Jacob Dazarola and Manuel Martínez Torán.

Published by The International Journal of Designed Objects

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

Often people refer to objects in similar terms as an interaction with people: “I love this object,” and “I have great affection for this product because we spend so much time together" are recurring phrases, as if one is referring to a friend or family member. We give names to some objects and sometimes we even talk to them. We also expect similar behavior from products as we expect from people with an "equivalent" degree of relationship; for example, a car that is kept for a long time can feel almost like a friend. We expect fidelity and support that "don’t let us down.” Such statements assume the existence of real relationships with objects, similar to relationships established with people, validating and even exceeding the concept of “product attachment” encountered in the design field research. This evident similarity between the way that we interact with people and objects suggests the possibility of raising a framework, defined in this paper, which allows the development of simple and understandable language for the different stakeholders in the process of product creation, design and development. This approach relates theories of design and psychology, with focus on relationships, expectations and behaviors that we develop with the people with whom we interact. The application of this to the relationship that we have with the products allows us to classify them, in order to reach a proper understanding of what people expect from them, and determine the types of relationships that they can generate with users.

Keywords: Person-product Relationships, Product Anthropomorphization, Product Emotions and Feelings, Product Attachment, Product Design, Emotional Design

The International Journal of Designed Objects, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.49-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 531.526KB).

Ruben H. Jacob Dazarola

Ph.D. Candidate, Institute for Design and Manufacturing(IDF), Product Design and Development Division, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Ruben H. Jacob D., Industrial Designer from the University of Valparaiso, Chile (1999), is a founding partner and owner at the design office "Taller Zero" in Chile, since 1997, developing projects of industrial and graphic design for various clients. He has a master’s degrees in “Design, Management and New Product Development” (2003) and “CAD CAM CIM” (2010) from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain, institution where he is currently working on his doctoral thesis "Perception, Sensation, and Emotion in the Process of Product Design and Development. Proposals for Integration in SME” in Ph.D. program “Design, Manufacture and Management Industrial Projects.” He is also part time professor at the schools of industrial design, University of Santiago de Chile (USACH) and Technological University of Chile (INACAP).

Dr Manuel Martínez Torán

Design and manufacturing Institute, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Manuel Martínez Torán received his Ph.D in the design program at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (1998). He has been Professor of Industrial Design at the School of Design Engineering since 1995, where he teaches undergraduates and Masters students of Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing. He has been the Design and Product Development Group Manager since 2009 and the Institute of Design and Manufacturing Assistant Manager since 2012. Additionally, he has been a Jury Member of Design in Spain since 2011. Since 1994, he has been a member of the Association of Designers of the Valencian Community. For fifteen years, he has taught in the Masters of Engineering Design program at Cardenal Herrera CEU University. For five years, he has been Head of Design Technology Center of REDIT (1995-99). He has been the FabLab Valencia Director since 2012. He has participated in the organization of Design International Congress INDITEC, and has been a principal research of two European and 25 R&D projects of desig. He has published five books, two books shared, twelve book chapters, fourteen contributions at conferences and has published a patent recognized. He has been a visiting teacher in Argentina (2002), Mexico (2006 and 2007), and Chile (2011 and 2012).