Seeking Cultural Originality: A Critical Study on Contemporary Product Design in China

Yu, Peipei (2018) Seeking Cultural Originality: A Critical Study on Contemporary Product Design in China. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Abstract

The intention of this thesis is to explore, by a critical perspective, the originality of product design in China, along with the expression of Chinese cultural values in product design in the contemporary international arena. Starting from literature reviews of design in China, this research focuses on both historical and cultural aspects of product evolution. It will take into account the indigenous innovation phenomenon – ‘shanzhai’ and ‘Chineseness’ in order to pursue a comprehensive understanding of the origin of product design and innovation trends in a contemporary context. Also, interview data from senior designers and professors from various design institutions and companies in China has been elicited in order to understand different perspectives. IKEA and MUJI have been selected as the main case examples to demonstrate their design principles, brand loyalty and cultural impact, based upon their experiences in transcending national borders through global policies. Xiaomi has also been used as a case study to support the study of Shanzhai phenomenon, while the case study on PINWU and SHANGXIA has also been conducted to study the current interpretation of contemporary Chinese product design in China. Furthermore, there will be interpretation of their brand management, marketing strategies and brand philosophies as case examples, which may indicate new directions for design in China. Ongoing, extensive literature searches and data analysis have revealed significant relationships between design, creativity, culture, branding and marketing. This research has identified the important influences of cultural values in product design in globalised markets which are needed in order for Chinese design institutions and companies to deliver their indigenous values to a competitive world.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Foremost, I would like to express my special appreciation to my supervisors: Professor Joshua Jiang and Professor Bob Jerrard for the continuous support of my Ph.D. research. I appreciate all the contributions of time and ideas from them, the suggestions on both PhD experience as well as my future career have been priceless. Besides of my supervisors, I would like to thank all the interviewees who supported my research, sharing their experience and knowledge which helped me to investigate my research more deeply. I also thank my research group members, for the sleepless nights we were working and discussing together before the deadlines, for all the fun times we have had in the last few years in the UK. Special thanks to Dong Hua, who inspired me to study in the UK and supported me pursuing a research degree. Also thanks to Jing Guo, who was helping me a lot, always supporting me in the moment when I struggled. Also, I would like to express my appreciation to Yang Bong, who spent lots of time with and always supported me during my tough time. Your support and your prayer for me helped me to strive towards my goal. Last but not the least, I would like to thank my family for all their love and encouragement. My parents for giving me birth and supporting me in all my pursuits. My family is always supporting me spiritually throughout my life.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Product Design, Chinese Design, Contemporary Product Design, Cultural Design, Design Culture, Design Originality, Cultural Originality, Contemporary Product
Subjects: T100 Chinese studies
W200 Design studies
Divisions: REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2019 15:04
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2019 15:04
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7240

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