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Decoding craft: communicating identity through a system of design

Directed by Stoel Burrowes, 99 pp.


The review of literature of semiotics developed by Ferdinand de Saussure, Christopher Alexander's work on the concepts of hierarchy and abstract organizational structures, and the definition of systems and its properties by Michael Pidwirny provided a foundation for further understanding of the development of a system of design that is a tool to communicate identity to products. To develop this understanding, the system of design was expressed through a Graphic Matrix. The purpose of the Graphic Matrix is to decompose the elements of craft examples from El Salvador to create vessels and light fixtures using digital fabrication technology. The Graphic Matrix grouped information by elements, attributes, and relationships. The hierarchy of information helped to organize and visualize efficiently all the phases of decomposition. The craft examples from El Salvador go through all the phases in order to extract characteristics to be incorporated in the new product. The process of design starts parallel to the research because it combines all the concepts of the theories presented in the review of literature with the information presented in the Graphic Matrix. The use of the computer aided design, CAD, software, such as Rhinoceros, helped facilitate the production of the vessels and light fixtures. It provided files that were used with computer aided manufacturing, CAM, technology. Without the use of CAD and CAM the reproduction of the shape units to cut would not have been fast and precise. The goal of combining both, old and new, manufacturing technologies was reached by the use of the Graphic Matrix.

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College of Arts and Sciences
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