Product Modelling for Aesthetics

K.L. Kumar (South Africa)


Modelling and Simulation Methods, Aesthetics, Products, Designing, Customer and Case Studies.


Industrial products, whether mechanical, electrical, electronic or some other displayed alongside similar products from other manufacturers should be equipped to speak for themselves and to bring out their edge over other competitors. Customers begin by assuming that all products are adequately designed and lay their hands on a product based upon such aesthetic criteria as visual appeal, appropriate noise level and novelty value. It is, therefore proposed to commence the design process with such criteria rather than postpone it until the last stage of styling the product. It is hypothesised that modelling for aesthetics, like all other modelling, commences with the cognitive modelling in the mind of the designer. Criteria such as shape, form, dimensions, symmetry, balance, colour, sound and styling need to be considered before functional aspects are incorporated. Modelling for aesthetics should enable aesthetic evaluation of the product much in advance of the prototype being made. A comprehensive checklist and a rating scale are proposed to quantify the product aesthetics. A reconstituted case study shows the predictive value of modelling as opposed to technical specifications and test report of an existing household refrigerator. Results reveal that only 25% customers understand the meaning of technical specifications and only 19% consider test reports to be valuable. It is, therefore, reckoned that modelling for aesthetics is a necessary step in the initial stages of designing in order to assure desired product impression and hence product acceptance in Africa.

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