Meanings of materials through sensorial properties and manufacturing processes

E Karana, PPM Hekkert, PV Kandachar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Materials get different meanings in various products. Several aspects can be effective in how meanings are attributed to materials. In this current study we focus on sensorial properties of materials (e.g. roughness, glossiness, transparency, etc.) and manufacturing processes (e.g. polishing, joining, molding, etc.) as effective aspects in meaning attribution. 25 participants were asked to select products expressing five given meanings in which materials predominantly play a role: aggressive, nostalgic, professional, sexy and toy-like. Then, they were asked to appraise materials of their products (1) verbally through interviews and (2) on paper through a list of sensorial properties and manufacturing processes presented by five-point scales. In total 125 products were collected and analyzed. The most effective properties in the overall evaluation were identified. Certain properties were found to be effective in attributing particular meanings to materials. For instance, while transparency and smoothness were very much used for conveying the meaning of sexy, hardness and dark colors were frequently used for expressing professionalism in materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2778-2784
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials & Design
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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