Through the use of 3D printing, product designers can
enable the consumer to design their own everyday products thereby
creating more meaningful products for people and more value for
companies. These are some of the conclusions Guido Hermans draws in
his dissertation, which he defends at Umeå Institute of Design on
Tuesday 6 October.
"The two questions that I have focused on are: How
will the roles of the professional designer and the layperson
change when the latter engages in the design of personal products?
And, how can designers develop digital-physical toolkits for the
layperson to collaboratively create value and meaning?" says Guido
Within product design there has traditionally been a gap between
production and consumption, with distinct roles for the
professional designer, who engages in production, and the consumer,
who engages in consumption. However, this clear distinction has
been blurred recently and the consumer, or layperson, is no longer
involved only in consumption, but also in production.
In his research, Guido Hermans has investigated a way to open up
design to the consumer and how to give this group an active role in
the design of everyday products.
"This role change implies a shift for the professional designer
from knowing what a future user would like to have towards knowing
what a layperson would like to design, which is for most designers
an unfamiliar way of thinking," says Guido Hermans.
Framework for understanding lay design
The new form of lay design is enabled by two developments: On
the one hand, the creation of variable designs by using
computational design, and on the other hand, the fabrication of
variable products with 3D printing.
"I specifically investigated how the layperson can be involved
in design through the use of so-called digital-physical toolkits,
software applications where one designs in a digital environment
and which outputs a physical product", says Guido Hermans.
Guido Hermans has conducted a series of studies, both analytical
and experimental. For the experiments he took a constructive design
research approach, which means that he engaged in the making of
toolkit and product prototypes.
"The main contribution of this research is a framework of lay
design that consists of a set of principles and guidelines that
enables the professional designer to develop digital-physical
toolkits that empower the layperson to engage in the design of
everyday products," says Guido Hermans.
The implications of lay design concern the role of the
professional designer, the way value is created, a shared
accountability, and also the way designers are educated regarding
the tool-sets, skill-sets, mindset, and knowledge.
"Lay design constitutes value created by both the professional
and lay designer, thereby eliminating the separation of production
and consumption," says Guido Hermans.
Guido Hermans has carried out his doctoral level studies at the
Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University.
The dissertation has been published
For more information, please contact:
Guido Hermans, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University
Phone: +46 70 593 52 12
Guido Hermans has a Master's Degree in Product Design from Delft
University of Technology, The Netherlands. He was born and raised
in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
About the dissertation defence:
On Tuesday 6 October, Guido Hermans, Umeå Institute of Design at
Umeå University, defends his dissertation entitled Opening Up
Design: Engaging the Layperson in the Design of Everyday
The defense takes place at 13:00 in the auditorium at Umeå
Institute of Design, Östra Strandgatan 30.
Opponent is Professor Ron Wakkary, School of Interactive Arts
& Technology, Simon Fraser University, Canada.