September 28, 2015

Opening up product design to the consumer through 3D printing

Speaker that grows in a piece of furniture, the shape is generated
by an algorithm to suit one’s physical space.

(September 28, 2015)  Through the use of 3D printing, product designers can enable the consumer to design their own everyday products thereby creating more meaningful products for people and more value for companies. These are some of the conclusions Guido Hermans draws in his dissertation, which he defends at Umeå Institute of Design on Tuesday 6 October.

“The two questions that I have focused on are: How will the roles of the professional designer and the layperson change when the latter engages in the design of personal products? And, how can designers develop digital-physical toolkits for the layperson to collaboratively create value and meaning?” says Guido Hermans.

Within product design there has traditionally been a gap between production and consumption, with distinct roles for the professional designer, who engages in production, and the consumer, who engages in consumption. However, this clear distinction has been blurred recently and the consumer, or layperson, is no longer involved only in consumption, but also in production.

In his research, Guido Hermans has investigated a way to open up design to the consumer and how to give this group an active role in the design of everyday products.

“This role change implies a shift for the professional designer from knowing what a future user would like to have towards knowing what a layperson would like to design, which is for most designers an unfamiliar way of thinking,” says Guido Hermans.

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