Metaphor as design inspiration

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Qian, YanYan

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"I have always found design a creative activity. The challenge of design, specifically industrial design, is to create products that are usable, desirable and friendly. This means designing products that fulfill certain functions, are aesthetically pleasing, and comfortable to operate and thereby create pleasant experiences for people. Imagine an initial meeting of two people: They greet each other, and find each other interesting. They converse pleasantly; and they understand each other well. They are willing to establish a friendship. Now, compare this to when a person sees a product for the first time in a store. The product appears attractive to her and stands out among other products. She likes this product a lot, buys it and takes it home. If the product is easy to use, has good quality and design, she will continue to like it and use it. Therefore, there can be a 'friendship' between a person and a product. A good product can be a person’s friend. In the case of the product, there are other people who can encourage this 'friendship' between users and products. They included not only designers, but engineers, manufacturers. To discuss the design process, I will simplify for now to just three parties: the designers, the products, and the users. Designers design the products used by users; users judge if they like the products or not; their feedback influences the designers’ reassessment or development of the design. Thus there is connection among all of them. In this paper, I try to use 'metaphor' as the connection that links designers, products and users. I will explain what this means, why I try to use metaphor, and how to use metaphor to promote 'friendly' designs"--Introduction.

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