Background As people’s needs for differentiation and identity are changing, it is necessary to search for alternatives to standardized mass production in product design. To overcome limitations of existing approaches, we investigated design methods applying randomness for designing unique products.
Methods Three research methods were adopted. First, to understand the nature of randomness in order to build a theoretical basis, we reviewed related works dealing with randomness in the art and design fields. Second, we proposed self-morphing randomness as a method for product and service system design. We also developed three design cases. Third, we evaluated the feasibility and impact of the proposed method through expert and focus group interviews.
Results Self-morphing randomness is a design method whereby functional fundamentals of a product are randomly used to create unique products. To show the feasibility in the design practice, we developed three products using the method: Light-morph-Light lamp, Light-print-Light lamp, and Sound-print-Sound speaker. Through expert and user evaluation, we identified that self-morphing randomness offers value in terms of uniqueness, spontaneity, storytelling, and emotional experience.
Conclusion This paper presents opportunities for applying randomness in designing unique products as an alternative for mass production. As a new design method, self-morphing randomness can help design practice and education. Products made using this method can contribute to satisfying customers’ needs for differentiation and the pursuit of identity.