Strategies for Infusing Cultural Elements in Product Design



Product & Industrial Design


  • indigenous design, Botswana


There is little in-depth research that can assist designers to use culture as a catalyst for designing innovative products within Botswana’s context. This is supported by evidence from the literature which indicate that from an African perspective, there is no solid theoretical framework which can assist designers to consciously integrate users culture in designing products. This challenges designers to gain a deeper understanding of users culture and find strategies on how they can use culture as a resource in product development. 

The concept of culture and design are intertwined, thus modification in the former evolution both reflect and determine developments in the latter. For example, design changes culture and at the same time is shaped by it. The paper discusses an experimental design study conducted at the University of Botswana.

Participants were challenged to transform a set of socio-cultural factors and encode them into recognised product design features that reflect Botswana’s culture. The data generated by participants was analysed using the qualitative content analysis methodology. The paper concludes by discussing a culture-oriented design model which has shown one way on how to consciously specify, analyse and integrate socio-cultural factors in the early stages of the design process. The design model challenges the way products are designed for different cultures and supports the use of local content in solving design problems.

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