The Aesthetic Dimension of Design

Navn på bevillingshaver

Mads Folkmann


University of Southern Denmark


DKK 749,000




Monograph Fellowships


The project is to write a monograph on the aesthetic dimension of design as an entry to investigate how design affects us and what design means for us as a part of the modern world. The monograph will reach beyond the traditional approach to the aesthetics of design as primarily related to beauty. Instead, it will conceptualize the aesthetics of design in its sensual, conceptual and contextual aspects. The aim is to examine which roles aesthetics plays for the creation, circulation and consumption of the artificial world of design where designers, for instance, make new technologies appeal to consumers. In the end, the ambition is the write the authoritative work on the topic aimed at universities, design schools and design practitioners.


The monograph will be a contribution to understanding the role and impact of design today. In the form of, among other things, products, graphics, digital interfaces, service solutions and systems, design is now more than ever shaping the modern world and setting the frame for human experience. 30 years ago, only few specialists dealt with “design”. Now the term comprehends virtually all aspects of human creation and planning. At the same time, how design sets the scene for human experience remains undertheorized. The basic claim is that aesthetics provides a central entry to understanding what design is, how design works and how design frames and conditions human experience and behaviour.


The monograph will in part be a theoretical conceptualization of the aesthetic dimension of design and in part investigate practical implications, e.g. among design practitioners. In combining insights from philosophical, practice-oriented and consumer-related research, the monograph will present a novel approach to conceptualizing and investigating aesthetics as a part of design and, as an implication, to understand design as a central means today for creating meaning and being in the world.

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