Communication of Semantic Properties

Publication: Research - peer-reviewArticle in proceedings – Annual report year: 2004

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The selection of materials and planning for production play a key role for the design of physical products. Product function, appearance and expression are influenced by the chosen materials and how they are shaped. However these properties are not carried by the material itself, but by the specific way that the materials are used in the product. Selection of materials is therefore often done by looking at similar products. The product as well as its constitutive materials possesses a number of technical properties like strength, stiffness and hardness. Furthermore the product possesses a number of semantic properties associated with the meaning we read from the form, colour, texture and sound of the product. The purpose of working with these properties can be to make the use of the product more self-evident, to form or enhance the cultural meaning of the product and to give the product a distinct character. For the technical properties there exists a well developed and commonly accepted terminology that can be utilised at product search and material selection (Ashby 1996). This is not the case for the semantic properties which are important for the outcome reflecting the product design processes. This working paper argues for the need for a commonly accepted terminology used to communicate semantic product properties. Designers and others involved in design processes are dependent of a sharp and clear verbal communication. Search facilities in computer programs for product and material search also require a clear terminology. It is not our aim to identify a new terminology but rather to identify the terminology already in use. The paper also describes different research methods for identifying such a terminology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 3rd Nordcode Seminar
EditorsLenau, T.
Number of pages12
PublisherHelsinki University of Technology
Publication date2004
StatePublished - 2004
Event3rd Nordcode Seminar & Workshop - Lyngby, Denmark


Seminar3rd Nordcode Seminar & Workshop
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ID: 3368572