• Feel the future: Perceptions of branding and design towards product development in the motor industry

Puchaski, Kleber R., 2008, Thesis, Feel the future: Perceptions of branding and design towards product development in the motor industry PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

The car industry is on the brink of a new era. Carmakers have reinvented themselves significantly at least three times during the last hundred years. First, Ford with mass production, then Sloan with the planned obsolescence and then Toyota with the Lean System have all revolutionised the industry. However, there is much evidence that it is time again for a change towards a sustainable future.

This research brings to light three areas that will certainly have a huge impact on this change: design, branding and innovation. The meaning of design has extended beyond form and function to a new way of thinking when dealing with contemporary issues. Branding has also evolved from a visual representation of goods to an intangible asset of a company, which in many cases is even more valuable than the tangible assets. Thus, innovation is the oxygen that sustains both design and branding.

The main contribution of this research results from an original approach that brings together theory and practice in the demanding area of vehicle design. The central research question is: How can users' perceptions of branding and design be determinant in product development within the motor industry? A unique way of gathering users' insights from a blend of qualitative methods was developed and applied through a series of workshops in Brazil and in the United Kingdom (UK). This approach has been fundamental to the research hypothesis, which proposes that the automotive industry should transfer from a product-driven to a user-centred model when developing their products.

The outcome of this new methodology is presented through an imagery map, which was entirely developed by the participants as their own representation of their feelings and desires about what the future drivers of change might be in the next twenty years. Convergences and divergences were identified from the users' insights and the results were collated into four future scenarios that have, in turn, served as the basis for a brief of fifteen projects developed by the Royal College of Art (RCA) MA Vehicle Design students. The participants then validated those projects by stating their opinions about whether or not the concept vehicles matched with their perceptions. A substantial positive response from the participants gave support to the research hypothesis.

Hence, all the thoughtful designs explored further the users' insights highlighting the importance of design thinking throughout the process. The final outcomes of this research are expected to become a theoretical catalyst designed to generate further constructive knowledge and awareness about the relevance of engaging the user at the early stage of the design process.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
School or Centre: School of Design
Funders: CNPq Conselho Necional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnotogico
Additional Information:

This thesis has been digitised as part of a project to preserve and share the RCA Library's historic thesis collection. If you own copyright to any material in this work and would like it to be removed from the repository then please contact repository@rca.ac.uk.

Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2023 14:18
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2023 14:19
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5565
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