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Integration of culture within Botswana product design

By Richie Moalosi, Vesna Popovic, Anne R. Hickling-Hudson and Krishan L. Kumar

Abstract

This paper investigates how culture can be integrated into designing products within Botswana’s context. The concept of culture and design compliment each other and one is inconceivable without the other. Therefore, design does not take place in isolation but it is embedded in users’ culture. Designers need to be mindful of the interdependence between culture and design because it might enable them to improve their concepts in responding appropriately to users’ needs, wants and desires. However, it has been observed that there is little in-depth research on this topic. In order to explore the relationship between culture and design, an experimental approach was adopted. The experiment was conducted with design students of the University of Botswana. This experiment involved analysing and identifying socio-cultural factors from Botswana’s folktales and other sources that impact upon design. The challenge for participants was to transfer and apply the identified socio-cultural factors into product design features which have relevance to the local context. The socio-cultural factors were broadly divided into two broad groups that is, traditional and contemporary. The data comprised of visual and textual data. This data was then analysed using the qualitative content analysis methodology. The paper concludes by discussing a proposed socio-cultural design model developed from the results which might assist designers to integrate culture by ‘conscious design effort’ rather than by ‘accident or incidently’ in product design. This is ultimately expected to lead to more innovative, culturally sensitive and user-friendly products. Keywords: Product design, Culture, Socio-cultural factors, Socio-cultural design model, Botswan

Topics: 120300 DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT, 120399 Design Practice and Management not elsewhere classified, 120302 Design Innovation, Product design, Culture, Socio, cultural factors, Socio, cultural design model, Botswana
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:2678

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