We talked of the 3 spheres of needs here. From the point of view of the consumer/customer/user the artifact will affect him or her depending on the context. A phone for material needs will be incredibly basic perhaps with only one button "phone home". If we are looking at social needs than an easy to compile and use address book is essential; For personal growth we are wanting to give ourselves a boost and to say something about us as well.
Creative Man talks about material needs relating to mass production in the industrial age which was superceded by the Dream Society in which stories about the artifacts ascended to give meaning to them. The Creative Age is about self-actualisation and the rise of user-configurable items made from kits of parts... embracing activities from configuring, stencilling and assembling IKEA furniture through kits of precut objects for greetings cards, to kit cars etc. Of course in our new model of reality all stses exist together and the context of our situation determines what sphere is ascendant. It is fascinating to see the mismatch between the advertisements for new phones and the world phone users live in. For instance, this weekend Vodafone present their new Samsung exclusive:
"Imagine style you can measure
Competing at an ultra-slim 12.1mm, the Samsung U700 boasts enhanced 3G capabilities with HDSPA, for a superfast internet experience. Plus a 3.2 Megapixel camera, music player and Bluetooth in a premium chrome finish."
Contrast that with iPhone:
Picture uploaded on by Ri©K™. Used with thanks under CC.
which convey a very different message addressing the spheres with aplomb.