Campus Units

Industrial Design

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Published Version

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Conference Title

PLATE product Lifetimes and the Environment

Conference Date

November 8 - 10, 2017


Delft, NL


In a global era where products are reaching across international boundaries, designers are increasingly challenged to design for diverse cultural context. Designers are agents of cultural change and should be cognizant of the impact their products have on local markets. The key for developing culturally appropriate products lies in understanding how cultural objects acquire and communicate cultural meanings. The goal of this paper is to deconstruct and categorize cultural meanings associated with objects and highlight the key determinants that contribute to cultural values. Cultural product images and phrases were analysed using a four-layered model for classifying cultural meanings. Participants were then engaged in a laddering interview to understand the key determinants of cultural values. The analysis reveals eight key determinants of cultural values. The determinants are mapped across four key continuums: appearance– representation, self-identity–group affiliation, personalization–shared belongingness, and stories–memories. In addition, the determinants of cultural values are compared with the key determinants of product attachment. Findings of the study reveal a strong overlap between the determinants of cultural values and product attachment. The paper also outlines a framework for achieving culturally sustainable design. The outcomes of this study have several implications for designers and educators that aim to achieve culturally sustainable design. This study believes that products that reflect cultural values have a higher emotional attachment to consumers resulting in longer life-spans and culturally sustainable consumption.


This proceedings is published as Product Lifetimes And The Environment 2017 - Conference Proceedings C. Bakker and R. Mugge (Eds.); Dhadphale T., Deconstructing Cultural Values of Products: Implications for Sustainable Design, 402-407.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Delft University of Technology and IOS Press



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