The article explores the ways in which geography and place-based images and meaning are incorporated into products and business models. Such incorporation may be the result of a conscious process of image and identity construction in which designers deliberately exploit local, regional, urban/rural, and national constructions of place and nation. The article examines the consequences of incorporating place-based labels into products, and how geography is expressed in design services as a way of affecting consumer perceptions of products. Place through product and product through place relationships are used by firms to create place-based identities for their products that provide competitive advantage in the global marketplace. This protects niche producers from foreign competition as the identities and value of their products are related to place and quality rather than price advantages. The article distinguishes between placeless products that are targeted at all markets and those that deliberately exploit place-based associations and identities. Firms exploiting place-based associations connect themselves and their products to the traditions/histories/cultures of a particular place. The article is based on detailed in-depth interviews with Norwegian manufacturing companies and designers.
- spatial symbols