Thinking November 2, 2012

The language of product design

Design Group Italia grey logo
Design Group Italia
book of product design

Why are some industrial products of the past nostalgically attractive and others are seen as old?

Why are some Colors Materials and Finishes (CMF) bound in our minds to a particular decade and trigger the memory of a specific period of our lives? What shapes and CMF will be linked to our memories of the years in which we have lived?

Design Group Italia and Francesca Valan Studio have tried to answer these questions with a work developed in two complementary volumes on the evolution of formal languages ​​and color in product design from the 50’s to the present: The Formal Language in Product Design and The Chromatic Language in Product Design.

This story is told starting from objects and formal details. It is yet another story of the characters and movements of design, already widely and fully told in the literature of design (Dorfles, Gregotti, Maldonado to mention a few great historians). Design Group Italia and Francesca Valan Studio try a different approach, based on their professional practice. The two volumes show a wide range of collections of objects, images, over 400, grouped according to their common traits. Each collection is carefully studied by the authors to represent a coherent set of signs that can be unequivocally defined as a style.

The two volumes are a useful tool for all operators in the sector, especially for students, who must train their sensitivity to grasp familiarity and recall in what is produced today and what has been produced in the past and to see beyond the form, a sign to be interpreted. The course includes an in-depth explanation with moodboards, which illustrates the trends of future scenarios in four particular areas of product design: sports, cooking knives, eyewear, and furnishing accessories.

The work was presented on July 23rd, 2012 at Amaro, in the province of Udine, in the course of the conference “Trends of forms, color and new markets for the eyewear sector, cutlery, and furniture.” The publication and conference are both part of DESIRE project – The design of the future: materials, shapes, colors, and emotions for a successful product. The project, funded by the Transregional Programme Interreg IV Italy-Austria 2007-2013, involves Certottica, the University of Klagenfurt and Agemont Centro di Innovazione Tecnologica Srl – agency for the economic development of the mountain, located in Amaro, Udine, in the role of project coordinator.

The two volumes can be downloaded free of charge, upon registration from: