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The Evolution of Product Forms

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Labi Ariyo.

The appearance of consumer products is a key driver of competitive value, particularly in saturated markets. Companies cannot rely entirely on functional performance or technological innovation to differentiate their products. Consumer electronics such as mobile phones, music players, PDAs and laptops have become as much of a symbolic purchase as trainers, handbags and jeans. However, as fashion items in their own right, do these products follow the same trends and cycles that can be seen in apparel forms? What effect do social, cultural, technological and market forces have on product forms over time? These are some of the questions being explored in this doctoral study, through literature review, semi-structured interviews with design professionals, and archival research.

This seminar will briefly introduce the theories on product form evolution that have emerged from literature and interviews. A content analysis case study of the evolving forms of mobile phones between 1996 and 2008 will be used to explore these emerging theories from a product focused perspective. Questions and thoughts on the topic, the methodology and future work are welcomed. See abstract below for further details.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre series.

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