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Perspective: The Emergence of Product Design as a Field of Marketing Inquiry


  • *A prior version of this research was presented at the 2009 Young Scholars Conference on Product Design at the College of William & Mary. We offer special thanks to Abbie Griffin and Anthony Di Benedetto. We gratefully acknowledge Abbie Griffin's helpful comments and suggestions throughout the development of this article. We also thank Mariëlle Creusen for her helpful review of an earlier draft. Finally, we are grateful for the financial assistance from The College of William and Mary's Mason School of Business, Associate Dean Jon Krapfl's support, and Maria Zarate's able aid with the Young Scholars Conference.

Address correspondence to: Michael Luchs, The College of William & Mary, School of Business Administration, Williamsburg, VA 23187. E-mail: Tel: (757) 221-2906. Fax: (757) 221-2884.


The authors present findings from an analysis of articles related to product design published in eight leading journals important to marketing thought. Based on this analysis, which covers the fourteen-year period 1995–2008, the authors propose a conceptual model of product design and offer definitions for (a) product design and (b) the product design process. In addition, the authors provide insights into the nature of product design research during this time period, including analyses of publication trends and the relationship of product design research to related marketing topics. The essay concludes with suggestions for future research on product design.