DeSForM2010: Design & Semantics of Form & Movement (Nov 2010, Switzerland)

The 6th International Workshop on Design & Semantics of Form & Movement
November 3 – 5, 2010, Lucerne, Switzerland

After four successful workshops in Europe and an inspiring excursion to Taiwan in 2009, DeSForM returns to Europe. The Lucerne School of Design and Art is looking forward to inviting you to DeSForM 2010, an international workshop on Design & Semantics of Form & Movement, to be held on November 3 – 5, 2010 in Lucerne, a cultural vibrant city with a rich history in the centre of Switzerland.

Scope and Focus

The scope of the conference is the design of products, systems and services with a focus on the meanings conveyed by their sensory perceivable qualities: form, colour, touch, behaviour, sound and sometimes smell. Today, research on design semantics can be traced back at least three decades. There are comprehensive frameworks and theoretical concepts available for the analysis and understanding of meanings and messages conveyed by products, systems and services. Furthermore models are available that lighten the processes of communication and generation of meaning through interplay between recipients and users, the artefact as bearer of meaning and the designer.

“Design Semantics in Context”

The aim of the forthcoming workshop is to explore the state of the art of design semantics in various contexts. We encourage professionals and researchers from industry as well as academia to present practice-based research, case studies and theoretical concepts in the realm of design semantics, generation, communication and reinterpretation of meaning.

Themes and topics

1. Design Semantics in the academic context
Practitioners and researchers are encouraged to present case studies that demonstrate the successful application of semiotic concepts in design as well as theoretical frameworks, research methods and tools in the field of design semantics and human-object communication. Critical reflections on design semantics are also invited.

2. Design semantics in the company context
Practitioners and researchers from industry are invited to share their experiences and insights into the related concepts of design semantics, narration and storytelling. Since design semantics of products, systems and services are, for the most part embedded in or accompanied by various communication means, such as narration and storytelling via websites, video clips or advertising, it is of interest how these means are combined in order to achieve maximum effect.

3. Design semantics in the context of sustainability
Research on sustainable products and services tends to be conducted from the perspective of natural sciences, technical issues and user behaviour. At the same time there is a lack of knowledge in respect to the contribution of design semantics to a sustainable culture of products and services. What kind of semantic qualities encourage a sustainable usage of products and services, advance attitudes of responsibility and care, and promote the substitution of products by services?

4. Design semantics in the context of innovation processes
New technologies and processes are considered to be main drivers of innovation. While the contribution of these factors to innovation is obvious and well researched, the role of product semantics in this context is much less understood and explored. The question arises whether semantic qualities of products, systems and services are a substantial factor in order to achieve and/or to communicate incremental or radical innovation. Is there such a thing as semantic innovation?

5. Design semantics in local and global context
In the age of advanced information and communication technologies and global markets, the notion of clearly defined cultural identities and their representation in recognizable symbols and semantics of style is fading. On the one hand, international companies have to create universal products and services, which have to meet tastes and expectations in various countries and cultures. On the other, there is a quest for artefacts that represent local roots and cultural uniqueness. How do practitioners cope with this situation? What research methods and design strategies do they employ in order to create products with character?


Call for papers opened: December 11, 2009
Submission of papers closed: May 15, 2010
Submission of posters and demo proposals closed: June 15, 2010
Approval of papers, posters and demo proposals: July 15, 2010
Deadline for final version of papers: August 31, 2010
Workshop takes place: November 3 – 5, 2010

Please go to the DeSForm 2010 website for more information.

The co-chairs, Steven Kyffin and Bob Young of Northumbria University, Loe Feijs of the Technical University Eindhoven, and Lin-Lin Chen of the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, my colleagues at the Lucerne School of Art and Design and myself, we look forward to seeing you at DeSForM 2010 in Lucerne.

About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

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