Thursday, June 3, 2010


What is an Archetype? How is it related to design?

A good place to start is always the dictionary:

ar·che·type  –noun
1. the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
2. (in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.

Here is an interesting product that can illustrate the concept and it carries over into design and architecture. 'wekker' which is the dutch word for alarm clock, is an iconic form triggering concepts: of loudness, bells ringing and getting up. likewise, the common round, dome shape of a loudspeaker evokes a similar type of idea: of volume. by combining these two archetypes, a new form was created while still sustaining a level of familiarity for users about its function.
I also like their Giraffe lamp!

I can think of a modern archetype which represents our fascination with technology and community connection - the iPhone or iPod. I conjur an image of one even when I am looking at a generic MP3 player.

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