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Visual aesthetics in product development: A balance between commercial and creative imperatives
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The literature presents a number of advantages regarding companies’ strategic focus on product design, arguing that the dimension of visual aesthetics in products may help a company to create commercial success, e.g. through product differentiation and as a means of company brand recognition. However, developing new products that have visual aesthetics as an important dimension is not without difficulty, and may lead to a number of managerial challenges.

The purpose of this doctoral thesis is to describe and analyse how companies develop products that have visual aesthetics as an important dimension. The thesis describes and analyses: how the dimension of visual aesthetics affects the characteristics of the new product development process; how companies strike a balance between commercial and creative imperatives during new product development; and how companies source and collaborate using artistic design resources during new product development.

Based on findings from five new product development projects and from interviews with managers at twelve Swedish designer furniture manufacturers, the thesis concludes that the dimension of visual aesthetics in products affects new product development in different ways. First, companies’ development of visual aesthetics calls for a more creative, artistic development process whereby, for example, idea generation and evaluation are often flexible in relation to plans made. Moreover, the different and subjective judgement of the aesthetic value of products has implications for new product development, e.g. that the company needs to address and balance imperatives stemming from different audiences, i.e. the designer’s self, peers, and the mass market, during product development. Also, it is concluded that the sourcing of designer resources and the composition of designer portfolios are both critical and related to companies’ desired brand image. A close and trustful working relationship between the designer and the manufacturer is a basis for companies’ successful product development.

Theoretically, this research contributes to the product development literature through its findings on companies’ new product development processes in a seldom researched context, i.e. the development of designer products. Additionally, it contributes to the literature on design outsourcing by presenting new findings on the interplay between artistic design resources and managers. Moreover, it also contributes to the marketing literature by providing fresh insights into how companies balance their commercial and creative interests when developing new products.

Abstract [sv]

Design och dess relation till företags marknadsföring är något som diskuteras både i akademisk litteratur och i samhället i övrigt. Genom att förstå och utnyttja design kan företaget skapa kommersiella fördelar, t ex genom att differentiera produkten från konkurrenternas och skapa igenkänning för företagets varumärke. Dock är utveckling av produkter med design som en viktig dimension inte oproblematisk utan kan leda till stora utmaningar för företaget.

Tre sådana utmaningar i företag beskrivs och analyseras i denna avhandling. För det första behandlar avhandlingen hur ett fokus på design påverkar företagets produktutvecklingsprocess. Vidare studeras hur företaget balanserar kreativa och kommersiella intressen under produktutvecklingsprocessen. Dessutom behandlar avhandlingen hur företaget införskaffar och samarbetar med formgivare.

Den industriella kontext som valts för denna avhandling är den svenska designmöbelindustrin. Avhandlingens slutsatser bygger på fallstudier inom väletablerade och framgångsrika företag inom denna industri.

Avhandlingen visar att dimensionen av design påverkar företagens utvecklingsarbete på olika sätt. Först visar studien att de studerade företagens utveckling av designmöbler innebär en kreativ utvecklingsprocess där t.ex. idé-generering och ‑urval sällan grundas i strikta produktplaner utan i stället präglas av flexibilitet och tillvaratagande på uppkomna möjligheter. Vidare är bedömningen av en produkts designvärde subjektiv och svår att formulera i ord. Urvalet av lovande produktidéer grundas därför i hög grad på ledningens goda kunskap om design och erfarenhet inom branschen. Utöver detta påverkas företagens produktutveckling på olika sätt av det faktum att designvärde också skapas genom uppmärksamhet och uppskattning av exempelvis press, mässor och utmärkelser. Det visas också att företagens urval av formgivare är kritiskt och basen för ett framgångsrikt utvecklingsarbete. I de studerade företagen sker utveckling av produkter i nära och förtroendefullt samarbete mellan managers och formgivare. Dessutom kan företag påverka sitt varumärke genom att skapa en genomtänkt strategi för urval av formgivare och samarbetsformer med dessa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. , 142 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1553
Keyword [en]
Visual aesthetics, product design, product development, furniture, designer products
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-100149DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-100149ISBN: 978-91-7519-485-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-100149DiVA: diva2:660382
Public defence
2013-11-15, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-10-29 Created: 2013-10-29 Last updated: 2013-11-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The Interplay of Design and Marketing : a General Model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Interplay of Design and Marketing : a General Model
2010 (English)In: Irish Journal of Management, ISSN 1649-248X, Vol. 30, no 1, 1-20 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although many authors emphasise the differences and potential conflicts between product design and marketing, there appears to be a disagreement in how to handle such differences and conflicts within organisations. This paper presents a novel and general model that focuses on how different practices relating to design (self-oriented or commer- cially oriented) and marketing (product-oriented or market-oriented/customer-led) may be combined, and discusses the coordination of marketing and design when combining these practices. By introducing such a general model, this paper contributes with a new perspective on tensions and synergies that exist between design and marketing.

 

Keyword
Design; marketing; practice; coordination; conflicts
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-64437 (URN)
Available from: 2011-02-16 Created: 2011-01-24 Last updated: 2013-10-29Bibliographically approved
2. The relationship between design sourcing strategies and the desired company brand image
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The relationship between design sourcing strategies and the desired company brand image
2011 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to explore how design-led companies, i.e. “companies characterized by a dominant logic that views design as central to [their] strategic positioning” (Beverland and Farrelly, 2007), source external design resources. It also aims to explore whether and how different sourcing strategies regarding these resources are related to these companies’ design philosophy and desired brand image, i.e. how the company is perceived externally by customers etc. The paper builds on in-depth interviews with managers from six Swedish furniture manufacturers. A tentative model of the relationship between companies’ design sourcing strategies and their desired company brand image is presented and discussed.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-100147 (URN)
Conference
18th International Product Development Management Conference (IPDMC), June 5-7, Delft, The Netherlands
Available from: 2013-10-29 Created: 2013-10-29 Last updated: 2013-10-29
3. New Product development in design-led organizations: Insights from the Swedish furniture manufacturing industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New Product development in design-led organizations: Insights from the Swedish furniture manufacturing industry
2012 (English)In: Leading Innovation through Design. Proceedings of the DIMI 2013 International Research Confernece, August 8-9, 2012, Boston, MA, USA / [ed] Erik Bohemia, Jeanne Liedtka and Alison Rieple, 2012, 735-745 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this research is to provide new knowledge on how a design-centric logic affects the new product development process. The study focuses on the early stages of new product development, i.e. the new product strategy formulation, idea generation, idea screening, and concept development and testing (Borja De Mozota, 2004, p.120). These early stages are proven critical for successful product development and are depending on a successful interplay between design and other functional areas involved in product development. The findings from a qualitative study of five new product development projects in two design-led organizations are presented.

Keyword
design-led, new product development, organizational logic
National Category
Business Administration Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80999 (URN)978-0-615-66453-8 (ISBN)
Conference
12th International Research Conference, Design Management Institute, Boston, USA, August 8-9, 2012
Available from: 2012-09-20 Created: 2012-09-05 Last updated: 2013-10-29Bibliographically approved
4. The Applicability of Integrated Solutions Offerings: Differential Effects of Product Complexity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Applicability of Integrated Solutions Offerings: Differential Effects of Product Complexity
2013 (English)In: Journal of Relationship Marketing, ISSN 1533-2667, E-ISSN 1533-2675, Vol. 12, no 1, 59-78 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual model of the influences of product complexity on the applicability and adoption of solutions offerings as a marketing strategy. Qualitative data from in-depth interviews with executives at seven furniture manufacturing firms were investigated and a conceptual model was developed. Based on the results, a model for relationships between different aspects of complexity and solutions is proposed and an expansion of the complexity concept suggested. The paper expands the knowledge on both solutions strategy and complexity and may also guide managers in the development of their marketing strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2013
Keyword
high-tech, low-tech, product complexity, services, solutions
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88953 (URN)10.1080/15332667.2013.763715 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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