Self-expression in product design

Mary Maclachlan, David Harrison, Bruce Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In today’s competitive consumer market, it is increasingly important that Product Designers understand how people will experience and interact with the products they design. Designers also need to understand, how and why, people form relationships with products. This knowledge may enable them to influence a richer and more sustainable connection between the products they design and their users. This paper investigates the role of self-expression within the construct of product attachment. Important movements such as mass customisation are discussed with respect to their positive influence on product attachment and their limitations. The balance of user involvement is investigated through case-study examples of personalised products. The analysis of which, is used to propose design guidelines to achieve optimum product attachment whilst preserving design integrity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-272
Number of pages16
JournalDesign Principles and Practices: an International Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • product design
  • engineering design


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