Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Relationship Between Product Aesthetic Subject Preference and Quantified Gestalt Principles in Automobile Wheel Rims

[+] Author and Article Information
José E. Lugo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez Campus,
Mayagüez, PR 00681
e-mail: jose.lugo2@upr.edu

James P. Schmiedeler

Department of Aerospace and
Mechanical Engineering,
University of Notre Dame,
Notre Dame, IN 46556
e-mail: schmiedeler.4@nd.edu

Stephen M. Batill

Department of Aerospace and
Mechanical Engineering,
University of Notre Dame,
Notre Dame, IN 46556
e-mail: batill@nd.edu

Laura Carlson

Department of Psychology,
University of Notre Dame,
Notre Dame, IN 46556
e-mail: lcarlson@nd.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received September 24, 2015; final manuscript received February 10, 2016; published online March 17, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Kristina Shea.

J. Mech. Des 138(5), 051101 (Mar 17, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1667; doi: 10.1115/1.4032775 History: Received September 24, 2015; Revised February 10, 2016

Birkhoff proposed that order divided by complexity is a formula for esthetic measurement. In that context, this work proposes to measure order with a method to quantify Gestalt principles in 2D product representations. These principles establish how humans visually group elements of a shape together, and they have been used in architecture, product design and art as guidelines for a good design. A human subject study was conducted to test the hypothesis that if complexity is held constant across different versions of the same basic concept, Gestalt can serve as a direct measurement of the relative esthetics of those candidate designs. In a survey, subjects were asked to evaluate their preferences for multiple individual 2D representations of automotive wheel rims from a variety of styles. The wheel rims within each style were designed in pairs, one pair with lower and one pair with higher Gestalt. Complexity was held constant by only comparing subject ratings within wheel rim styles. The results show that a positive change in Gestalt has a positive effect on aesthetic subject preference and that preferences are not significantly different for designs differing in geometry but having the same Gestalt. The implications of these results for designers and for future work are discussed.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Design , Wheels , Preferences
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Fig. 1

Illustration of individual Gestalt principles: (a) no grouping, (b) proximity, (c) similarity, (d) symmetry, (e) parallelism, (f) continuity, and (g) closure. Adapted from Ref. [23].

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Fig. 2

Photographs of four wheel rim styles

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Fig. 3

2D representations of the wheel rim styles in Figs.2(a)2(d)

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Fig. 4

Atomistic elements of the wheel rim styles in Fig. 2(a) through Fig. 2(d) (numbered circles indicate locations of continuity quantification)

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Fig. 5

Y-spoke style Gestalt principles: (a) angular proximity and (b) parallelism




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