When and why did the turntable morph from playback device to musical instrument? Why have mobile phones evolved changeable skins? How many meanings can one attach to such mundane things as tennis balls? The answers to such questions illustrate this provocative book, which examines the cultural meanings of things and the role of designers in their design and production. Designing Things provides the reader with a map of the rapidly changing field of design studies, a subject which now draws on a diverse range of theories and methodologies - from philosophy and visual culture, to anthropology and material culture, to media and cultural studies.With clear explanations of key concepts - such as form language, planned obsolescence, object fetishism, product semantics, consumer value and user needs - overviews of theoretical foundations and case studies of historical and contemporary objects, Designing Things looks behind-the-scenes and beneath-the-surface at some of our most familiar and iconic objects. Click here to visit the companion website!
Prasad Boradkar is Associate Professor of Industrial Design and Director of InnovationSpace at Arizona State University.
Introduction 1. Theorizing Things: Disciplinary Diversity in Thinking about Objects 2. Valued Possessions: What are Things Worth? 3. Making Things: Labor in Production 4. Producing Things: A History of Systems of Manufacture 5. Beautiful Things: The Aesthetics of Surfaces 6. The Greed Imperative: User Needs in Product Design 7. Planned Obsolescence: Unsustainable Consumption 8. Objects as Signs: What do Things Mean? 9. The Obsession of Possession: Fetish Objects Conclusion Bibliography Index