The Culture-Centered-Design-Process is focuses on creation with the explicit intention of improving the experience and functional performance inside a defined culture.
Culture sets the overall framework of our identity. It is the most defining influence on human interaction. Humans learn to organize their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in relation to their cultural context. A culture sphere doesn’t have any borders. It’s more like a fluid organism that growths and shrinks, depending on different intern and extern factors. Inside the Culture Centered Design Process the context is defined as a fluid sign system.
„My language is the sum total of myself.“
Everything is a derrivation of its culture context. Whatever we take, we can’t analyze it without contextualize it first.
A defined culture helps to explain it and find a solution that really matter and match the individual culture needs.
Culture is a special sign system. Every single sign is a bearer that influences the system. Semiotic, the science of signs guides us to understand the dynamics of a culture. Only if we get the big picture of the contextualized culture image, we can implement an improvement. With the approach of semiotics we get a scientific analysis tool to structure the culture we design for on an ethnomethodology level.
The science of signs helps us to understand the challenges and its context. The problem-solving answer is always inside the system and probably an re/-arrangement of existing signs or an evolution.
“Semiotics is important for designers as it allows us to understand the relationships between signs, what they stand for, and the people who must interpret them — the people we design for.”
As an expert of people, a designer should read the culture like a semiotician to become aware of the sign system, called culture. The challenge is to master all signs to get the true power of design. This is why semiotic is the key of creation.
The devision of culture into three traits assists to describe the current (static) state of a culture:
1) Sociofacts are all individuals or institutions that live within the sphere
2) Mentifacts outline the non-material culture, including values, beliefs, symbols, and language for example.
3) Artifacts are the material culture, including physical objects, such as its tools and technology, clothing, eating utensils and so on…
All members of a Society are a set of Sign User. Semioticians define Society as culture carrier. Society outlines a fluid culture sphere that outlines all institutions, collectives, and locations. It is the environment your product/ service will be used in. In an institution all members are able to communicate, their relation and interactions are defined by the Mentality of the Society.
Every Society develops its own Civilization and Mentality.
Every Society is defined by its Mentality. Mentifacts are conventions and codes, which represent their culture, an idea of how they interpret themself and their reality. This includes notions, values and beliefs, which form a mental picture of the society. The mentifacts define how to interact, communicate and how they use their artifacts. Some artifacts are absolutely useless for other cultures without the knowledge of how to use them.
The Mental Culture defines the way your design solutions is perceive and how it is going to be used.
Every society comes up with individual problem solving artifact as a carrier of their culture. These artifacts are influenced by their Mentality, including the skills of producing and using them. As culture carrier they have a very specific appearance with unique characteristics, which are a perfect inspiration for your product/service requirements. You can take their aesthetic elements, which are most familiar for the user.
An artifact could be everything but always a result of intentional behavior: instruments, tools and objects.
A Society is definable as a set of sign users, a Civilization as set of texts, and a Mentality as set of conventional codes. In a Society Sign Users are dependent on Codes to understand Texts. As an expert of people, a designer read the culture like a semiotician and become aware of the sign system, called culture. The challenge is to master all signs to get the true power of design. This is why semiotic is the key of creation.
Culture is always in progress of transformation. There is a dynamic cultural change of development and discovering new elements in interactions with other cultures. On one hand, culture is shaped by its society, and on the other hand its society is shaped by the culture. This graphic shows the mechanism of culture exchange during a clash between two different cultures. Inside the center of a culture there is the identity, The dynamic mechanic are very static and dominant, where the culture doesn't change much over time. It gets more dynamic and fluid towards the borders.
Moving torwards the „border“ of a culture the dominant gravity is geeting loose. The society is defined by the mainstream, where dominant elements resist, improve and even get transfered to other cultures. (Semiotisation) But unfortunetaly more rezessive elements tend to disappear and get replaced by counter culture traits, when they are more efficient or just trendy. (Desemiotisation).
If you want to make a culture more resistant to other cultures, you may think of a sustainable match inside your culture image.