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Influence of tradition in creating signatures of cultural identity in product design

Ana Zdravkova

Abstract: The goal of this master thesis is to research and develop a methodology for adaptable reconstruction of specific aspects from traditional Macedonian objects, in order to obtain inspiration for new designer products. The new products, either through their appearance or their functionality, will strive to maintain the cultural aspects, in order to enable a stronger relationship with the end users. The main focus of this master thesis is the conducted research to find which design elements and principles are authentic for the Macedonian handcrafted objects and how to implement them in contemporary industrial design and infuse them with the recognizable traditional values. The aim is to extract a general overview of forms by analysing functional objects, while recognizing the elements and principles from decorative items that have the highest cultural alue. Both types of objects add up to the feeling of identity in a time when design trends, aesthetics and functionalities are adopted from global trends overthrowing the local ones. In the making of this master thesis contemporary methods and procedures are applied. First, an verview of scientific literature will be made in the fields of aesthetics that cover the application and meaning of elements and principles in design, and their influence on design aesthetics. At the same time an overview of the influence of tradition in other cultures will be made, as well as the contribution of tradition in elevating the emotional value of products. The final goal of this thesis is the formation of a methodology or a strategy that will be used to xtract visual characteristics of Macedonian traditional objects and explore its applications in modern design products with recognizable Macedonian cultural and traditional attributes. A selection of traditional examples has been made and has been sorted in a few categories. Through observation of the examples, the collected data has been categorized by identifying the characteristic forms, colours, tones, textures and materials. The forms are reinterpreted by applying principle of deconstructivism. The end result of this phase is a base of characteristic elements (form, colour, tones, textures and materials) and characteristic principles (composition, rhythm, balance, simplicity, achieving unity, etc.), which carry the visual recognisability in acedonian tradition. And finally, this base is applied as an inspiration toolset for designing specific products, whose visual characteristics reflect upon the recognisability of Macedonian culture and identity.
Keywords: functional / principles / product design / traditional Macedonian / visual characteristics / aesthetics / Macedonian traditional objects / Influence of tradition / recognizable

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