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Den Kommersielle Formen: Merkevarekonteksten som Utfordring for Industridesignernes Behandling av Form

This thesis argues that the product form is an underutilised resource in building brands. There appears to be a gap in how industrial designers are taught to work with form, and the expectations business have of designers as professionals in developing a form for a commercial context. The aim of the thesis is to discuss the challenges designers face in providing such form development in a brand-building context. It also aims to develop brand-building theories for use in an industrial design setting.

The thesis approaches the research from existing design and brand theories. I examine positions different designers have taken in the history of industrial design. This examination lead to the establishment of a natural point of contact between industrial design and brand theory: Both are value driven processes with a comprehensive implementation. The thesis further examines how brands are defined and the role of the product in existing brand-building theories. I present a framework of three dimensions, which describe how the form of the product is affected by brand building. These three dimensions for the brand are: the integration of product in the brand’s communication, emotional and rational brand communication, and dynamic and static brand communication.

The research problem is then examined from three unique cases: The child’s pram Stokke Xplory, the bottled water Imsdal and the toothbrushes Jordan Go! and Jordan Individual. The three cases show different goals in building brands through the product design process. The cases also describe different brand strategies and how they affect the development of form by industrial designers. I have examined brand strategies that can be described as designer led brand strategy, traditional brand process and dynamic brand strategy. These have different consequences for how companies and designers interact in the design process.

The thesis presents a three-mode model for understanding the designers’ work in developing forms consisting of: idea, concept and style. The third mode, style, can be partitioned in five further references.

The conclusion of this thesis is that brand building can be seen as an underutilised resource from the designers’ point of view. The brand building process can, however, give designers a natural point of interaction with business, especially as the process is value driven.

This research raises fundamental questions about what industrial design in Norway is in 2008. The thesis must therefore be viewed as part of a longer debate about the role of designers in brand building. It also aims to contribute to the professionalisation of industrial design.

Access thesis here.

Hestad, M.(2008). Den Kommersielle Formen: Merkevarekonteksten som Utfordring for Industridesignernes Behandling av Form. Oslo School of Architecture and Design Available: https://web.archive.org/web/20110724174653/http://www.aho.no/Global/Dokumenter/Forskning/Avhandlinger/081203_MonikaHestad_webversjon.pdf