Generating metaphors in product design

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific


A product metaphor mediates between the experience process of a user and the generation process of a designer. A user goes through the stages of perceiving that a metaphor has been employed in a product, recognizing its target and source, comprehending why these particular entities are brought together, and appreciating (or not) this association. A designer has a particular intention to attain through the product (i.e., target) and comes up with a meaning to convey accordingly, finds a source that can assign this meaning to the product, and creates a mapping from this source to the product. In this chapter, we will first present a basic framework for metaphoric communication and proceed by elaborating on the designer side of the model. We will address each step through presenting our own research findings and/or analyzing current product metaphors in the market, and transform the framework into a detailed metaphoric communication model. We will end the chapter by discussing the model in a broader context of metaphor generation process and give metaphor producers a summary of considerations on creating more effective and aesthetic metaphors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProducing Figurative Expression
EditorsJohn Barnden, Andrew Gargett
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-272-6040-6
ISBN (Print)978-90-272-0803-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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