Unbroken: Rediscovering long-term value of products through change in perception

Helen A. Rusli, Mersha Aftab

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This paper aims to show that innovation is not how a product can do something differently or better, but how people can do and live the world differently, as a consequence of products that have long term value. The rapid changes in society have influenced current consumer culture, where short-usage products emerge and long-lasting relationship between people and products is now harder to be addressed. Designers and manufacturers often see consumption as the primary objective of a product – with implications such as discarded products, obsolete wastes, and ecological degradation. Many sustainable and adaptable design solutions were explored and researchers did not identify either Recycle or Up-cycle as the optimal solution if the focus was only reusing and improving the product’s physical look. Chapman (2005) pointed out that emotionally durable design could be one of the solutions to build a strong emotional attachment and empathy between people and products in a long term. Norman’s (2004) theory added that a successful design excel in three levels of emotional design – visceral level (appearance and pleasure to see), behavioural level (usability and performance), and reflective level (the meaning, self-image, and message of a product). However, visceral and behavioural level of emotional attachment was founded to be rapidly changing in time and continual fluctuation of technology, trends, cultural differences, ageing, etc. Today’s satisfaction has a risk to become tomorrow’s discard. On the other hand, reflective level of attachment is about the long-term relation – it is meaning that is personally given by people to a product through contemplation and satisfaction produced by their intimate journey of experience. The research indicated that many people, including designers and manufacturers, are unconsciously focusing on usability (behavioural level) and physical look (visceral level) of a product that are easy to replace, than on a meaningful way (reflective level). The project showed a design process in adapting discarded products into something valuable in the long term through completing three levels of emotional design. However, the long-term value is achieved through redesigning and reconstructing the perception of people towards products in reflective level. Design in reflective level has capability to deliver a message and empower people to develop meaning and relationship with the product in a way to provide a longer empathy. Through emotional design and transforming the product as artwork and communication project, it is not simply to make a product durable, but to make people want the product to be durable.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2016
EventThe International Workshop on Digital Design and Manufacturing Technologies - Embracing Industry 4.0 and Beyond - Newcastle Upon Tyne
Duration: 13 Apr 2016 → …


WorkshopThe International Workshop on Digital Design and Manufacturing Technologies - Embracing Industry 4.0 and Beyond
Period13/04/16 → …
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