Cultural identity in the practice of design: methods for product development projects
The advent of globalization exposes cultural diversity and the fast development of technologies renders distances relative and disconnects time and space. Furthemore the fast pace of transformations with technological complexity modifies activities. Globalization is twofold, rendering homogenous products and processes and making local identities more evident. Organizations try to make reference to a local culture through the design of their products in the search for local identification. In this scenario, the role of the designer becomes increasingly complex as they have to consider cultural factors in a product project, as well as improve their project methods. Based on the study cases of projects in which cultural factors were added to the local identification of products, this paper discusses the methods adopted, guided by a bibliographical review that incorporates the main authors of the products’ project methodology. Using semi-structured interviews with the project coordinators, it was possible to identify the phases in which cultural factors were more strongly considered as well as the implications of the methods in each project. The designer’s role was made clear in the translation of the identity of a community, of a company and of professionals, as well as in the construction and interpretation of factors that are meaningful for the groups involved.