Reading product de(sign): an inquiry into discursive aspects of design culture

Date
1996
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Mutman, Mahmut
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

Every design can be considered as an expression, and every expression conveys meanings to the receiver, of different sorts. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the ways of meaning production and consumption through the material forms of our contemporary culture, focusing on product and graphic design. The product's discourse is articulated and received both through the material being of the object, and its representations or reflections on graphical forms. Firstly, in order to demonstrate the existence of the discourse of the designed item, the process is conceptualized as a process of communication, assigning the production stage the role of encoding and the consumption, that of decoding. Secondly, advertising is included in the discussion as an intermediary level of communication with its own independent system of signification. Thirdly, the relationship between design and language is explored through the efforts of integrating semantics in the design process as a methodology. Then related with the debate on language, the finished product's functioning as a sign within the system of signification of semiotics is discussed. Lastly, examples of different readings of design are presented with implications for future readings.

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