The basic of design for emotion

Date of publication: June 15, 2006

Author: Pieter Desmet


Although emotional responses to product design are subjective and therefore intangible, the process underlying these emotions is lawful. There are universal principles in how emotions are elicited, and these principles also apply to emotions experienced in the realm of consumer experiences. This paper provides an introduction in how to structure emotional responses elicited by product design, how to measure them, and how to generate a language of emotion that enables designers to communicate and manage the emotional impact of new product development processes. Four types of product emotions are discussed in terms of key-parameters in the process of emotion. These four types can be used to explain the complex and often personal nature of product emotions, and support designers in their efforts to design for emotion. A non-verbal self-report instrument is reported that was designed specifically to measure the subtle and often mixed emotional response typically elicited by product design. This instrument and insights in the process of emotions should interest product designers and those involved in developing and marketing consumer products and services.

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