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Skin deep. Perceptions of human and material ageing and opportunities for design

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ben BridgensORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


In Western society there is an obsession, fuelled by pervasive advertising, with hiding the effects of ageing and maintaining skin that exudes ‘youthful perfection’. Rapid unsustainable purchasing and disposal of mass-produced objects is, in part, driven by ‘cosmetic obsolescence’ - changes to the pristine material surface which are perceived as damage and degradation. We consider the parallels between these attitudes to changes in material surfaces and human ageing, and propose that actively considering future material change in product design could increase product longevity with both environmental and social benefits.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bridgens B, Lilley D, Zeilig H, Searing C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Design Journal

Year: 2019

Volume: 22

Issue: sup1

Pages: 2251-2255

Print publication date: 31/05/2019

Online publication date: 31/05/2019

Acceptance date: 30/03/2019

Date deposited: 04/06/2019

ISSN (print): 1460-6925

ISSN (electronic): 1756-3062

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14606925.2019.1595022


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