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Research Papers: D3 Applications and Case Studies

Data-Driven Styling: Augmenting Intuition in the Product Design Process Using Holistic Styling Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
Charlie Ranscombe

Centre for Design Innovation,
Department of Interior Architecture and
Industrial Design,
Swinburne University of Technology,
Hawthorn, Victoria 3122, Australia
e-mail: cranscombe@swin.edu.au

Philip Kinsella

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology,
Swinburne University of Technology,
Hawthorn, Victoria 3122, Australia
e-mail: philipkinsella@swin.edu.au

Janneke Blijlevens

School of Economics, Finance and Marketing,
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology,
Building 80, Level 10, Room 29,
445 Swanston Street,
Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
e-mail: janneke.blijlevens@rmit.edu.au

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received January 22, 2017; final manuscript received June 7, 2017; published online October 2, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Harrison M. Kim.

J. Mech. Des 139(11), 111417 (Oct 02, 2017) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-17-1052; doi: 10.1115/1.4037249 History: Received January 22, 2017; Revised June 07, 2017

Styling or product appearance is well known for holding great influence on its differentiation, branding, and overall success in the market. However, the styling process is difficult due to the intuitive and subjective way in which designers evaluate designs. In particular, negotiating iterations between designers and engineers is challenging since engineers have objective, data-driven approaches to rationalize decisions whereas designers rely on instinct and intuition. While the literature shows sustained interest in this issue and provides methods to analyze appearance objectively, many approaches rely on abstracted or simplified versions of a product's appearance as the basis for analyses, ignoring the holistic nature of product appearance. This article contributes by proposing an improvement employing digital shape comparison tools applied to three-dimensional (3D) geometry of products, and generating data on differentiation in product shape—that is, the holistic styling analysis (HSA). The HSA provides an objective assessment of difference in appearance to form the basis for designers to rationalize styling to other stakeholders during the design process. The HSA is tested through an automotive industry case study. Results show the method adds objectivity to decision-making by providing objective reference measures for differentiation in the styling of previous and competing products. Such measures can be used to inform styling goals and to identify intended degrees of difference in key features while highlighting areas to maintain consistency. As such, we contribute by providing a means for styling designers to use data to drive their activities in the same manner as other stakeholders.

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Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Design , Shapes , Vehicles
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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Illustrating the alignment of point cloud and model and calculation of difference in shape based on measures from each point to the surface model

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Illustrating the way in which HSA measures of difference derived from 3D shape comparison form the objective basis to reason suitability of differentiation in new designs during the design process

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Fig. 3

The sequence of comparisons made to generate measures of difference between a succession of product evolutions. Point cloud representations are compared with 3D models of the preceding product.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

The sequence of comparisons made to generate measures of difference between a given product and each of its competitors. Point cloud representations of each competitor are compared with 3D models of the given product in question.

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Fig. 5

Visual definition of key features of vehicles' external appearance discussed throughout the case studies

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Fig. 6

Results from comparing the 2012 VW Golf with each of its competitors. Note (a), (b), and (c) illustrating key areas where the Golf differentiates itself from competitors.

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Fig. 7

Illustrating trends in differentiation between the Golf and Asian vehicles: (a) pitched hood, (b) pronounced A-pillar, and (c) flared front wheel arch

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Resulting measures of difference over the evolution of the VW Golf. Note the two types of change (a) and (b) over evolutions. (a) 2003 and 2012 version: Note growing changes to body surface styling with little change in headlights. (b) 2008 version: Note shrinking in surface features and substantial change to headlights.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Example of comparison of the average difference in shape against the difference in vehicle price when comparing the VW Golf to its competitors. Note the suggested trend that the VW Golf is more similar in shape to more expensive cars.

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