The designed object that we know and see
This paper discusses perception of the designed object and how our knowledge impacts on our visual perception of that designed object. It is however challenging to describe what this entails because what is being said at a technical level about perception of the designed object has an everyday counterpart. This means that the point that is being made here can be at times lost in the commonplace understanding that knowledge impacts on perception. It is common to think, and indeed to say, that an Alessi teapot seems shinier to us because of our belief that Alessi is good. However it is not common to think that our belief that Alessi is good could make us actually see a shinier finish on that teapot. This paper describes how what we know of an object will impact not only on our intellectual perception or cognition of that object but also on our visual perception of that object. This phenomenon has been studied in the psychology of perception but its impact in design and material culture has not hitherto been studied. The contribution of this paper is to bring concepts for the psychology of perception into material culture so as to problematize the role of visual appearance in the formation of our understanding of designed objects.