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Personalised mass manufactured products: a possibility or a contradiction
Personalisation in product design refers to the ability for users to alter or add features to products to best suit their needs and wants. This can occur during different stages of the design process, but it is better known to occur in the manufacture phase - a process known as mass customisation. However, true personalisation in mass customisation is often somewhat limited, restricted to a palette of materials, colours and styles that can be mixed and matched.
In this paper, a case study of the Pop light will be used to explore the possibilities of a higher level of user personalisation in a mass manufactured product, than is currently offered in mass customisation methods. The design of this product implements a design methodology that the authors term user-completion. The user-completion methodology defined by the authors comprises two key elements - a ‘design kit’ and aspects of the product left ‘open’ for users to finish. The design kit delivered to users has the potential to be mass manufactured. Providing users the opportunity to personalise their mass manufactured products once they take ownership of them, has the opportunity to arguably increase the intangible value of the product.
In addition to the case study discussion of the Pop light, the paper will also briefly describe the development of the user-completion approach through an earlier testing of the methodology in the 2012 Stitch light. The Pop light, and its predecessor the Stitch light, are designed by bernabeifreeman, a leading Sydney based design company, of whom one of the authors is co-director. Both the Stitch and Pop lights were designed as a kind of ‘real life’ testing of the user-completion approach.
This paper and associated artefact builds on previous research by the authors exploring design methodologies operating at the intersection between mass manufacture, mass customisation and craft.
Publication titlePraxis + Poetics: Research Through Design 2013 Conference Proceedings
EditorsJ Wallace, J Yee, and A Durrant
Department/SchoolSchool of Architecture and Design
Place of publicationNewcastley Upon Tyne, England
Event titlePaxis + Poetics: Research Through Design 2013
Event VenueNewcastle Upon Tyne, England
Date of Event (Start Date)2013-09-03
Date of Event (End Date)2013-09-05
Rights statementCopyright 2013 the Authors