Monday, 17 March 2008

Retrieval: Cultural Lost & Found

As I read my brother's very interesting post on the history of the leather jacket in modern culture, it reminded me of the importance of 'retrival' both in user-centric strategy and design.

Dave's take on the importance of the "hide":

"Why is a hide important as a concept? Hide implies and imbues all the earliest conceptions of what leather is. Leather is a skin; the skin of an animal. We are hairless, clawless, toothless beings who took the hair, claws and teeth of the animals we feared and revered most and through creativity, invention and respect fashioned our own hair, claw and tooth. Protection from the elements, animals and each other were fundamental to the fashioning of leather jackets. That paradigm stretches far into the 1970s, where North American made leather jackets arguably reach the pinnacles of the representation of those instincts. Where jackets run a perfect gamut of utility meets fashion."

If we look at one of the core quadrants to Marshall Mcluhan's tetrad of media effects it the notion of retrieval. What does the medium bring back that was previously lost? In David's case as he begins to create this new couture vintage leather business, he is deeply rooted in what drives our basic desires and needs to own leather.

One doesn't have to look further than this as a concept to understand why traditional market research fails to uncover deep insights and rarely predicts accurately change. The sum of the parts rarely becomes a meaningful whole. Instead, we must look to things such a figure and ground to understand not only what is visible but what lies culturally and socially below even our own daily conscious to provide a foundation for strategy and design lost and found.


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