Culture as inspiration: A metaphorical framework for designing products with traditional cultural properties (TCPs)

Zhenzhen Qin, Sandy Ng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


There is a lack of emerging methods for guiding designers in innovating cultural contents beyond superficial manifestations in the process of product design with the consideration of modern lifestyles. Grounded in metaphor theory from cognitive linguistics, this article proposes a theoretical model-as a diagrammatic tool for design practice-assisting designers and/or researchers in analyzing and integrating the elements derived from Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs) into product functions meeting modern needs. A quasi-experiment was conducted to illustrate how this theoretical model was applied in two design cases, which aimed to blend the value of TCPs and modern lifestyles metaphorically. We argue that this theoretical model can assist designers and/or researchers in designing products, which can spur reflections on culture, enhance the user experience, and improve modern life with local identity through metaphorically blending of TCPs and modern lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7171
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2020


  • Cultural design
  • Cultural sustainability
  • Design method
  • Product metaphor
  • Sustainable design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this