This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Approach to Integrate Art Thinking into the Industrial Design Process




Owings, Anna

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Industrial and Graphic Design


This thesis presents guidelines for industrial designers to utilize a transdisciplinary approach that incorporates aspects from both design and artistic thinking to aid them in designing products. A transdisciplinary approach is problem-focused (Rosenfield, 1992), holistic (Max-Neef, 2005), and requires at least two disciplines to collaborate in integrating the theories, methods, and strategies of multiple disciplines. The purpose of applying transdisciplinary models is to develop innovative solutions to distinct, ‘real-world’ problems. It exceeds interdisciplinary work in that it seeks to develop holistic perspectives by integrating varying disciplinary approaches, which in turn allows for the genesis of new frameworks for understanding problems and generating new solutions (Hay, 2017). The purpose of applying this approach is to incorporate aspects of both art and design thinking into the industrial design process. Because art can evoke a wide range of emotions, one could argue that negative emotions would deter a consumer from purchasing; however, many people today enjoy experiences that produce these emotions, like horror movies or sad music. Studies have found that the more negative the emotions evoked are, the more people pay attention to the work and feel moved. This is due to a term coined ‘aesthetic distance,’ which refers to the viewer being aware that the art is causing a negative feeling, not a negative circumstance in his or her life (Winner, 2019). Many linear models of advertising persuasion today completely disregard the role of emotion and focus solely on the importance of economic rationality, which has proven ineffective. The benefit of emotional appeal is a longing that encourages consumers to buy a product because of how it makes them feel (Matušínská, 2022).