The Search for Individualism: Self-expression through Product Personalisation

By Kathryn E. Grant, Karla Straker, Celeste Muller and Cara Wrigley.

Published by The International Journal of Designed Objects

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

This research paper explores the impact product personalisation has upon product attachment and aims to develop a deeper understanding of why, how and if consumers choose to do so. The current research in this field is mainly based on attachment theories and is predominantly product specific. This paper researches the link between product attachment and personalisation through in-depth, semi-structured interviews, where the data has been thematically analysed and broken down into three themes, and nine sub-themes. It was found that participants did become more attached to products once they were personalised and the reasons why this occurred varied. The most common reasons that led to personalisation were functionality and usability, the expression of personality through a product and the complexity of personalisation. The reasons why participants felt connected to their products included strong emotions/memories, the amount of time and effort invested into the personalisation, a sense of achievement. Reasons behind the desire for personalisation included co-designing, expression of uniqueness/individualism and having choice for personalisation. Through theme and inter-theme relationships, many correlations were formed, which created the basis for design recommendations. These recommendations demonstrate how a designer could implement the emotions and reasoning for personalisation into the design process.

Keywords: Product Design, Product Personalisation, User Individualism

The International Journal of Designed Objects, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.17-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.598MB).

Kathryn E. Grant

School of Design, Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Karla Straker

School of Design, Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Celeste Muller

School of Design, Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Dr. Cara Wrigley

Lecturer Industrial Design, School of Design , Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia