I recently gave a lecture for the Tangible Interfaces class lead by Professor Hiroshi Ishii. I presented my process of design from a Graphical User Interface to a Tangible User Interface. I also introduced semiotic principles for practical design in the form of a design assignment.
I introduced a visual aesthetic process to bring the students into re-thinking their own process from their first ideas to the conceptualisation of their project.
The main point is that social and individual percepts are codified into material form. Products can then be decomposed into separated features. This help understand that, when combined, these features become cultural choices. Pointing out the combination of features naturally point to cultural implications, i.e. are culture specific.
The final point is to determine within a concept what are the assumptions while making design choices. It helps articulate a project within a framework and allows the identification of the ‘why’ of the final design choices that will later be encoded into material form.
Designers can use semiotic tools for visualizing social ideology embedded in combinations of features.
A selection of references
HOWARD RILEY (2004) Perceptual modes, semiotic codes, social mores: a contribution towards a social semiotics of drawing. Visual Communication, Vol. 3, No. 3, 294-315 .pdf
ALAN RHODES and RODRIGO ZULOAGO (2003) A semiotic analysis of high fashion advertising. 2003. .pdf
OSBORN J.R. (2005) Theory Pictures as Trails: Diagrams and the Navigation of Theoretical Narratives Cognitive Science Online, 3.2, pp. 15-44 .pdf