The concept of metaphors, originated from linguistics and rhetoric, has often been employed as a method by which designers express their emotional inspirations and intangible design concepts. As Lakoff and Johnson (1980) defined metaphor as “understanding and experiencing one kind of things in terms of another”, metaphor can be used to help designers to express the abstract and intangible substance of a design concept (something) through a metaphoric expression (something else). Since a figurative comparison is a part of our cognitive process to make sense of our world, designers tend to use a metaphoric comparison between a design offering and a design concept they want to connote to. The original rhetoric structure of metaphor, “X is Y”, however, is sometimes improperly employed and used in limitation by designers, especially for students or novice designers. As a result, they sometimes produce a clichéd design outcome (e.g. kitsch) that is just a visual mimicry of a proposed metaphor. The visual resemblance of a metaphoric expression, however, is a limited way of using metaphor in a design process, which is closer to “similes”, whose rhetoric structure is “A is like (as) B”. Given the confusion above, this paper attempts to investigate the fundamentals of metaphors and proposes the syllogistic configuration, “X is to T what T is to Y”, where T refers to the attributes of the metaphor and the concept of new design. Furthermore, a diagram to compare the attributes of both target and source is proposed to emphasize the association of the metaphoric design rather than taking its visual appearance only. Potentially, I hope this study helps designers to see metaphor not just as a complete and static image but as a way to create a manifold relationship so that they embellish their new design concepts and emphasize distinctive product properties.

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Keywords Emotional design, Literal design, Metaphoric design, Syllogistic equation
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Journal Procedia Manufacturing
Chung, W. (2015). Theoretical Structure of Metaphors in Emotional Design. Procedia Manufacturing, 3, 2231–2237. doi:10.1016/j.promfg.2015.07.366