Hi there, I'm an industrial/product design student
at Tesside University, England.
I am currently in my final year and for my dissertation
have chosen to answer the following question:
'To what extent does gender affect design?' Within
the context of the piece, I will discuss reasons
to why there are a lack of female product designers,
even though overall the number of designers is
I am also looking into the genders of products,
whether they be made for a male or female. I
am going to investigate ways in which companies
aim at either sex.
I would appreciate any influence on this that
you may know of. Do you yourself feel that current
products are a true reflection of the needs of
women? Are the stereotypes that are used such
as the use of colours something that irritates?
Or do you feel that products are effective in
their design? Do you like the look of "female" objects?
Do you want more objects to be feminised or do
you feel unisexing would be more appropriate?
Sorry for the vast amount of questions, but I
would appreciate your input.
Thanks a lot,
In general, I think that every person
probably designs differently - regardless of
gender. Because we live in a more or less gendered
society, I'm sure that there are certain instincts
that men and women have as a result of their
gendered conditioning. But, I think the larger
question is whom are they designing for? A good
designer would be able to get beyond their own
instincts and look at this -- and thus the question
of gendered design would emerge more in the product
I have seen a few things that
might be of help to you -- one, is the Dallas
Women's Museum, in Dallas, TX, which does
have an exhibit on products designed by women
and most of these do come out of their own
experiences. Also, the Cooper
Hewitt Museum in New York City,
a design museum, does several exhibits a year
and always seems to have some lense to gender.
Also, a group of architects a few years ago did
a contest on designing a female space and that
was entirely different from conventional design,
but some were designed by women and some by men.
I remember there was an article in the NY Times
reporting on this.
Magazine about 6 years
ago did a story on famous buildings designed
by women -- housing projects in Paris, a sports
arena in Miami, and thus the article talked about
I hope that helps,