Kurosu, A. Design Science


Berge

2009 : Aaron Kurosu

What does it mean to design for someone else? I know what I like, but as a designer, we have to deal with the preferences of other people. Even the prevalent segregation by gender, upon closer consideration, is strange. What does it mean to market an aesthetic that appeals to men?

Using a game modeled off white-elephant, I had my fellow male studio-mates trade images of products designed for men. A fascinating insight that arose is that it matters whether a product is seen as an extension of one's identity or if the product is seen as an object of one's fascination. The analogy being, that if a heteronormative man considers an object to be part of their identity, they'd probably want a masculine-looking object. However, if a heteronormative man objectifies or sensualizes an object, they may appreciate a feminine aesthetic. They may even refer to the object with female pronouns.

Berge is a portable fan. What might make it look more or less masculine? Based on the qualitative research in this study, hard angles with one or two subtle shallow curves. The design is all angles, except a couple of surfaces that sweep around the chassis, and a large subtly curved surface sweeping the front.

This project is one of the first examples of my nerdy love affair, trying to understand aesthetics.