Randomness as a CAD tool for the affective augmentation of form in product design concepts.
Authors: Reynolds, T.
Computer tools for design are frequently employed in an attempt to improve efficiency and reduce time to market. More recently, attempts have been made to develop CAD tools for emotional design. Such tools may be intended to augment the emotional responses elicited by a product’s design and, in so doing, attempt to achieve market supremacy. This research primarily investigates one way in which CAD tools might be applied by designers during the design process, in order to attain their objectives. Particular emphasis is placed on customer perceptions, as well as the significance of designers’ experiences during the design process.
A pragmatist approach was undertaken to identify the particular line of enquiry. Initially this involved a pilot study to investigate some of the ways in which people respond to products during first contact. This was followed by experimentation with the CAD software ‘3DsMax’ in an attempt to create a basic prototype CAD tool based on verbal descriptors for emotional design. An exploratory study was undertaken to test aspects of this tool while seeking to refine the research question. Further CAD tool experimentation led to the application of constrained; randomly generated variables to drive the creation of parametric CAD models. The principle was that the addition of surprise can help designers to break free from routine approaches and that this might aid them in creating new and unexpected forms capable of eliciting emotional responses in those perceiving their designs. A final study tested the hypothesis that such an approach would be beneficial in creating product design concepts. The results largely supported the idea that randomness could be beneficial in creating emotional responses to product design and also found that designers were receptive to the premise and use of such a tool. The results of the study underpin a proposal for the use of a pseudo random CAD tool for the creation of affective product design concepts.