Cultural values, design, and global production

22 January 2008 at 2:34 pm 1 comment



Eleanor Cooksey writes:

I recently read WPP’s annual journal of marketing insights, Atticus, and noted an interesting point towards the end of an article called ‘Getting the little things right’, by a team at the digital agency Digit, in London. [Not currently online, unfortunately].

They discuss how product and service design, in particular for electronic media, tends to reflect ‘Californian’ values, which include ‘pragmatism (a can-do attitude and belief in prototyping), audacity (focus on innovation and the pioneering spirit) and a certain lightness of touch (playfulness and optimism)’. Perhaps not surprising, they say, since so many user interface principles came out of Silicon Valley in the ’80s and ’90s. When one thinks of Apple, for example, it’s easy to see how these values translate into product experience.

But users in other regions expect an experience which reflects their important values. In Europe, this might include ‘conviviality (social not solitary) and quality (craftsmanship, individualism, local provenance). Nokia, for example, has recently shown prototype handsets which embed ‘green values’ and social responsibility.

But as the global design market becomes more integrated, it may become increasingly hard in the future to work out whose values are inherent in services and products.

Image ‘ipod’ copyright 2007 Apple Inc.

Image ‘eco phone’ copyright 2008 Nokia.

Entry filed under: design, global, technology.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Richard Cyrus  |  23 June 2008 at 3:09 am

    I thoroughly agree with this. My personal experience with different types of baby
    products has led me to believe that this concept even applies at a young
    age. Even advertisments targeted at small children will reflect cultural values not applicable to a global audience.


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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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