Pretenders and Misleaders in Product Design

Pretenders and Misleaders in Product Design

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4703-9.ch007
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Meaningful messages may be conveyed in product design with the use of pretenders as the carriers of hidden messages; they refer to visual practices in design, architecture, and visualization. For this reason, they may be useful for working projects in further chapters. The notions of iconic objects, or iconcity of an object, make a basis of product semantics. Proper design versus pretenders, misleaders, informers, double-duty gadgets, and multitasking tools are discussed and then contrasted with the notion of camouflage.
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Canonical Objects

Some items should always look in an obvious way and be easy to recognize. For example, a fire extinguisher should be easy to find and then used fast without any instructions. Scissors must fit a hand and a hammer should be easy to use. Such objects that have an easy recognizable shape are called canonical objects. In spite of the new line in a design of cellular phones, we still draw an old-style telephone with a round dial to signal where we can find much more modern touch-tone ones in the phone booths (however, phone booths began to disappear).

See Table 1 for Your Visual Response.

Table 1.
Your Visual Response: Canonical Objects
Draw as many examples as you can that show the use of images of canonical objects on various signs: at the mall, an airport, or on a road. How the sign designers use visual symbols and an iconic way of communicating information?

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