Design Semiosis: Synthesis Of Products In The Design Activity
Lange, Mark W.
Institution: Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan (
Publication: Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44,
Source: DAI, 63, no. 02C (2001): p. 336
Abstract: Products are designed by someone to be perceived by someone.
Within the body of this thesis there can be found the specification of a conceptualization, an ontology, that reflects the idea engendered by this statement. The specification is built on the sense that design in general, product design in particular, is an act of semiosis and hence the title of the thesis, Design Semiosis.
The research is built on a tripartite problem area, which is characterized by linguistic statements about product designs, models of product designs and designers who transform these statements into models. The identification of these three aspects has driven the selection of the semiotics of Charles S. Peirce and the sign theories of Charles W. Morris as the theoretical foundation for the results presented in the thesis. However, just as product design is multidisciplinary, this thesis also integrates the additional concepts of perceptual knowledge and product properties in an effort to develop a means of speaking about the essence of design, the synthesis of products.
Traditional design research focuses on the analytical acts in design, which reflect syntactic and semantic aspects of communication. In contrast to this, Design Semiosis specifically considers the act of synthesis in design and explicitly retains a pragmatic aspect in a communication act; the designer who executes the design of a product that is to be perceived. The motivation for this approach is the need to describe to student engineers "what design is", remembering that these students will someday participate in the commercial development and design of physical products.
The results presented are based on two semiotic concepts, the description of a generic design-sign (the semiotic) and the synthesis of these design signs (the semiosis). The semiotic of a design sign is its triadic construction containing a vehicle for the sign, a meaning for the sign and a sign engendered in the mind of a designer. The semiosis is the creation of the relationships with the triadic sign as symbols, indexes and icons. Based on these two concepts a sign space can be derived that contains a spectrum of 10 semiotic levels of communication. Using this specification, a number of explications of product design are presented that clarify the ability of Design Semiosis to speak about the nature of synthesis in design.
The outcome of this thesis is a designer-centered perspective of the design activity where it is an individual who has a perception of a product that shall be created. The act of creation, performed by this individual is supported by a variety of different means of objectification, depending on the nature of the property in the product that is of interest.
Descriptor: ENGINEERING, MECHANICAL
Accession No: AAIC807632