This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Designing for Cultures: An Approach for Product Design Using Components of Regional Culture




Ekandem, Joshua

Type of Degree



Industrial Design


Although much of humanity is tied together by certain fundamental principles and the sharing of common physical and mental faculties, individuals are inherently different and have different aesthetic preferences. However, it is commonplace in product design to develop non-offensive forms that maximize profit by being conducive to the insipid homogeny of world culture. This study takes the opposite approach, and is focused on designing for specific cultures using themes and visual patterns that represent that culture. The American South as defined by John Shelton Reed will serve as the target culture for this design approach, and a table lamp will serve as the designed object. This study will comprise of a theoretical inquiry into stereotypes, traditions, and other distinctive elements of the South. These components will then be abstracted into themes that drive the design. The thematic basis for design will then be manipulated according to perceptions of the South, and the study of patterns that are perceived to make up a Southern table lamp. The result of this study will be an approach for culture-specific product design.