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Productdesign and Resource Scarcity

Influenced by environmental factors, culture and the ever-changing needs brought by the ongoing technological development. Productdesign is a discipline in constant change.

With the goal to channel our future work towards a sustainable direction, Raphael Jung and I aimed in our Bachelor thesis at understanding and providing one possible solution for a major problem of Productdesign in the twenty-first century regarding the necessity of a sustaibile transition: Resource scarcity in the production of consumer electronics.

This project was developed in collaboration with Punkt.

Book and Guidelines GER/EN 
Three exemplary products  


The body of our thesis is the collected research we conducted on the topic of resource scarcity, that culminates in seventeen design guidelines, each of which is subject to specific design implications. In the research section, three fields are explored:

⁎ Resource scarcity
⁎ Consumption behaviour
⁎ Interventions and methods

The resulting guidelines are structured in the three areas of:

⁎ Materials and physical properties
⁎ Behaviour and awareness
⁎ Communication and market positioning

The book is conceded as a reference work, which serves to explain the established guidelines in depth.


In order to verify the guidelines resulting from the research, we used them to redesign three electronic consumer products. The products selected are a docking station for the workplace, a time switch, and a hard drive case that can be equipped. Each of these products represents one of the three main points of the research and is intended to illustrate the values or methods identified under this point.

Despite the increased focus on one field, the other fields should not be neglected; the different weighting merely made it possible to comprehensibly demonstrate the versatile aspects and possibilities of how resource efficiency can be designed. 


A docking station is a consistent connector of changing input and display devices. This consistency motivated us to design a docking station that can be used for the longest possible time.
Which, instead of being replaced, can be updated, repaired and optimised.

The docking station represents the topic of ‚Materiality and physical properties‘. Design implications considered here were for example:

⁎ Usage of recycled materials
⁎ Upgratability
⁎ Easy disassembly


Focuses on the category ‚Behavior and awareness‘ of the design guide, the user's behavior patterns influenced by this product were the main target in the design process of the time switch. We separated the behavior patterns into two groups. The behaviors directly linked to the active use of the product; the behavior the timer influences which is present when not directly using the product.

The goal was to create a product that changes the user's behavior towards more considerate, aware, and efficient resource use.

Out of this goal, the idea of a time switch emerged, enabling users to take control over their electronics, energy consumption, and product use.

When the timer is active, the orange ring on the rotary button serves as a signal and is intended to remind the user frequently of the question of whether he or she really still needs electricity at the moment. Pressing the button interrupts the power supply and the timer fades into the background.

Design implications considered here were for example:

⁎ Considering the frequency of use
⁎ Make ideals and values visible
⁎ Change consumption


The Hard Drive Case was designed with the goal of showcasing the third category of the design guide ‚Communication and market positioning‘. This category focuses on possible ways to enter and establish resource-oriented products in the market.
So we aimed at creating a product diffe- rent from current standards but still able to theoretically be

established in the market while strictly following the guidelines towards an improved impact on resource scarcity.
A central aspect was the preservation of existing products that would otherwise end up in drawers or be disposed and then need to be re-produced.

Aware that products like this already exist, our result aims at entering a more mainstream market by using a company like Punkt. to reach a more aware clientele.

Design implications considered here were for example:

⁎ Offer Counter-designs to negative product trends
⁎ Market ,aesthetics of sustainability‘


For this project we cooperated with Punkt. a Swiss company that produces electronic consumer goods with high-quality standards, aiming to influence the everyday life of the users in a postive way.

For further information about the collaboration, read the article published on their website.︎︎︎

The strong ideals and belief that the right products can influence consumer behavior made it the ideal partner for this project. We held in-depth discussions with experts from various fields at all stages of the project to maintain a realistic approach at all times.

Hochschule für Gestaltung
Schwäbisch Gmünd