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Guest cashish

hi i m ashish from india

i m a post grad student of product design

for a long time i m fighting with this gost of abstaction of forms

so i thought it'll b nice to have the groups view on forms abstaction

and its application in product design

my basic quarry is on tangible methods and esercises on form abstraction

it'll b good if some of us can post some examples from their sketch books


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Guest littlecog

I like bicycles because the wheels go round and they get from A to B. Is that abstract enough?

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Guest riaz

Jee Janab,


The issue with abstraction I think is really a matter of how to take the attributes of your product and give them a physical form (hopefully one that isn't too literal). You 'Abstract' the object so that many people can see the same qualities. For example, when you have a simply drawn comic character a viewer is more likely to see themselves in place of that character than a more defined characterization. Similarly, with products you I think abstraction allows you to have a wider audience.


Abstraction is also used to convey whatever metaphor you're created for the message your product is supposed to give. This .... ummm... <insert powertool of choice> is strong and realible vesus lets say this powertool is small and friendly.


There is a more recent development of abstraction that are making it harder to deal with. The issue is that we are coming into an age where where we do not have physical objects to abstract anymore. Take for example the first mp3 players. The problem they had to deal with were How do you give a physical shape to what is essentally a computer file (which is why most mp3s really just still look like squares). What does an Mp3 look like... How do you make tangible qualities such as sharing ... and free music. There were some trys I think with the nikes mp3 players which look a bit like ears.


And Lastly, is the Global perspective on any kinds of abtraction. When you take a product and try to sell is to lets saaaayy... Pakistan. (Indias nieghbor for those that don't know) ... and it's made by a company in the US there are problems with different forms giving differerent feelings. Rarely is there any user testing done is different cultures but still products are often made to be sold globaly. Abstractions (in my final thought) need to be aware of the culture that they are going to exposed to.


Books to look at for more stuff on abstraction

- Launching the Imagination by Mary Stewart

- Elements of Design by Gail Greet Hannah

- Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (my personal favorite... Nothing hardcore about design but Scot as a sequential artist has a great understanding of 2d abstraction)



- ri@z



ps. I'd be really interested in what kind of Industrial Designing is going on in India. I'm a Pakistani industrial / interaction design student studying in the US right now. My senior studio project is on making cell phones for the south asian market.

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Guest abhinav

Hi ashish

For me, the abstraction is the expression of a quality apart from a particular object or specific form. Abstraction involves using simplified, high-level representations of designs as a way to overcome complexity.

The abstraction of design defines the design language. You can define a product by using minimal lines or form lines, that is also a level of abstraction. On the other hand you can represent your design in a way that it doesn't reveal the form but still follows the basic language.

therefore the abstraction is a very subjective and contexual thing, but also a great tool for the designer.


:: abhinav ::

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Guest cashish

hi all

thank u riaz for all the information

riaz bahi it iteresting to know someone from neighboring country

but i didnt get your question properly ( abt kinda product design happening in india)

if u can elaborate i can give my you my views

i m mainly looking for pictorial examples of the topic

so if some ine has a collection pls share it


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