Gender Coding and Identity-Its semiotic influences on Design.

Gender and identity within design is a key factor in influencing various semiotics within design, from clean passive bone lines and neutral colours relating to Females, to Aggressive techno lines and more active and exiting colours of products based around males. These related Gender codes are all around us, and often clearly relate to the Genders role in society.

de walt

As seen from the Image this is a good example of where male roes in society effect the design and the semiotics, in this instance it is know that the Construction industry is dominated by males. From a design point of view there can be seen sharp bone lines, very sleek forms making the product almost look fast to a degree. The use of colours within this product also represents the male user, blacks with accented yellow is a bold and aggressive tone therefore relating to the active lifestyles that the male often used to possess. However it could be argued that in this instance the colour scheme relating to this product is based on its functional culture, colours such as this have always been ingrained within DIY and Construction with many market leading brands such as JCB, Stanley and DeWalt all following a similar colour scheme.



Comparing this to the De Walt Power tools concept sketches, the ideology of gender reflection and their roles in society relating to this product is highly based on Female qualities. The role of females in society has previously been to raise the family and manage the household, a role that is largely passive and harmless, this has been reflected in the forms that design can hold, in this case the hand mixers form holds a large amount of inter flowing radius’s with large clean flowing forms without any sharp aggressive features throughout the whole body. This clearly adds a sense of femininity to the style. With the compliment of neutral pastel tones it can be seen to add to the design in order to gain a more feminine identity. Similar to the previous example it could also be said that the design is also influenced by a certain style in order to fit into a well designed kitchen with the design of the mixer bringing inspiration from the post war era where Bakelite was prominent within the design.

Despite the ongoing influence gender identity has had on Design within society for centuries, There is a new trend that is shaping the way we Design for new identified genders and sexualities.


The LGBT has grown tenfold within the past 40 years with a current estimated Community of 3.6 million within the UK, this clearly has created a gap for design that suits specific gender needs,  with further influence on generalised unisex could also be suggested that it has opened a market for gender coded design designed functionally for the opposite gender, this has be iterated across the fashion world with the influence that high heels designed for males  has had on the LGBT community.


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