Product semantics meaning
The form of an object can be more than just "styling" - it can communicate meaning.
Product semantics is an attempt to convey what a product is or does through its form. Following this method, the designer uses shape, texture, materials, and color to convey meaning. A designer using product semantics in place of mere "styling" creates products that are understandable and engaging.
The goal is to make products intuitive, that is the user knows how a product works and what it does without instructions. Product semantics can tell the user about the product's:
Identity: What is the object (e.g. a chair)
Character: What kind of chair is it (e.g. a lounge chair)
Affordance: What benefit does the object give me? (e.g. relaxation)
Operation: How do I use it?
Remember: If it needs a label to show how it works, a product is poorly designed.
Want to learn more?
On the Essential Context of Things, Klaus Krippendorff
Designing Products to Afford Meanings, Charles Burnette
The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman
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