Product design and gender as example of a research based styling master course
Editor: Boks W; Ion, W; McMahon, C and Parkinson B
Author: Stilma, Margot
Section: RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
Combining research with a styling approach was one of the goals when developing the master course named ‘Design & Emotion’. The master course is part of the master track 'Design & Styling' of the Industrial Design Engineering program at the University of Twente. The other goal was to focus on the current experience and emotion market and in the cases of this paper on gender influences in specific. As the appearance of products influences the buying decisions in many ways, the assignment for the master course was to restyle a existing consumer product, based on its product architecture. For students of the Industrial Designing Engineering program, designing is a very common activity, however the research world sometimes seems rather unknown territory for them. The simulation of a conference with an exhibition showed to be a good course set up for students to get acquainted with styling in combination with research practices. Students gain in-depth research information about the values of their intended market segment, or target group of people/ culture, experience, while simultaneously following the design process. The research information is used in the design process and vice versa. This paper describes the set-up of the course, discusses the associated theory of gender differences in product design and shows student results. The students design cases of consumer electronics products show very differentiating outcomes, and depending on the type of product in combination with the chosen theme, many appealing approaches are used and interesting and surprising designs are made.