Emotional Design

I think the vacuum analogy from o’fied is a good one.

I was thinking about this topic more and I also thought there can be emotive object that serve a function and functional objects that are emotive.

For example, my router is his swoopy glossy thing with a spoiler. Very emotive and evokative form but I just need it to work. I only interact with it when it doesn’t work. Otherwise it sits under my desk.

On the other hand, these guys www.icon4x4.com make highly functional objects. They are all business, but they end up being wonderfully emotive evoking toughness, independendence, individuality and status. An emotional buying decision.

I’m still not sure about interfaces. I feel there are so few that are really good still. Think of the average ATM interface. They seem dominated by marketing rather than by function or design. Lots of pictures of people doing bills and what not when I’m trying to navigate screens to get to my money and not forget to ge my card back.

Ha! No kidding… just got a notice of class action suit against Audi regarding leaky windows/sunroofs on certain A4’s. I loved every inch of my Audi, and only got rid of it because I couldn’t afford the work anymore.

I think you could say the same thing about diehard MG fans, too. The most time you spend with the car is spent under the hood diagnosing problems, rather than driving. But people love those things.

there’s a lot of research showing the connection of purchase behavior to self-image (Ideal and Social self images)
and you may want to look up the Pleasure Principle, also in psychology.

in terms of non-positive emotions in design, there are no examples I can think of where that’s intentional. Plenty in advertising, but not in design.

That’s an interesting way to think about objects.

I understand what you mean about interfaces. I think interaction design means different things to different people in different cultures. I don’t really think of it too much as interfaces but as interactive physical objects. I’ve been doing a lot with arduino and processing this year. Perhaps flat screen interfaces are not so emotive but i think other interactive interfaces can be. Gestural and physical interfaces are pretty emotive i’d say. Teague’s radioball is an good example of a physical interface. Same with MIT’s sixth sense gestural devices.


I dontblike using anything but the magic mouse, I’ve gotten so accustomed to the gestural inputs. It has become second nature, not sure if that is emotional connection but it is some kind of learned behavior

Can you send me the advertising examples prehaps? I’ll look up the pleasure principle as well, thanks for the suggestion.

Perhaps not emotional connection but i think it can be more emotive than clicking a button say?

crude negative ads are all over politics (and the recent Toyota gas pedal recall).

more sophisticated ways to manipulate negative emotions are used in beauty products. deodorants, toothpaste, hair color etc…

sub culture products will portray the mainstream negatively by having “ugly” as their theme. but these are more likely to be lifestyle products (arts/entertainment)

Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t thought of how beauty products elicit negative emotions.

Thanks for the responses as well everyone great help

Hi Everyone.

Back again with some more points i’d like to discuss. I’ve been thinking about negative emotions in design and what no_spec mentions about how beauty products manipulate negative emotions in ourselves. Was interested to see if people think that design has this capability? Has anyone been jealous of someone’s attachment/relationship with objects?

Hi everyone.

I’m still interested in peoples opinion on negative emotions and design and was wondering what people thought of this?

I’m looking to discuss peoples thoughts regarding guilt and envy with emotional design? for example has their been an object that you’ve ever felt guilty for buying? or does an object that someone else owns make you envious?

Any responses are fantastic

thank you

Im curious about this as well.

I hear the term “emotional design” being toss around all the time lately. But my question is this,
What exactly is emotional design?

Emotional design is design that appeals to us on many levels, I find it hard to define but this is how much of the literature out there define it. Where i find it interesting i feel it doesn’t involve the complete range of emotions. So i’m interested in negative emotions and people. Do you have any opinion on it? I posted a couple of questions above if you could possibly answer them?

Tasers run a wide range for me in terms of negative emotions. Selling fear. Bumble bee pain coloring. Power tripping. Weird designer shells.

I think the guiltiest I ever felt when purchasing a product was either my flat-panel TV or Xbox 360. I had strong emotional feedback from both objects in the sense that, although I would derive pleasure while using the devices, my peripheral conscious knew I could be doing more productive activities.

Interesting that something objects that product that provides a pleasurable experience can evoke guilt at other levels. Do you still feel guilty playing x box or is it something that comes and goes depending on other activities?

I think any gamer who also happens to be a hardworking academic or professional suffers from this delusional state of pleasure. For me, it boiled down to a misalignment of my beliefs and goals, which eventually compelled me to sell my xbox.

To go back to the emotional pov, I remember watching a TED of Norman talking about emotional processing and how different levels of your emotions can contradict each other, even if it’s in your subconscious. So I think in my case, the behavioral aspect of playing the xbox - to seek joy and pleasure - was corrupted by my reflective aspect, which was the guilt I felt afterward, and appearing to be anti-social to my friends.

I’m sure you have run across this already… but don’t forget about Don Norman’s behavioral, reflective and visceral points of view on the emotional comprehension of design. Really fascinating stuff!

I have been thinking about donald normans levels and how they relate to these emotions. i think negative emotions lie mainly in the reflective level. My research into areas such as critical design all reflect on the process of emotion.

I find it interesting that different levels can contradict each other. Whilst trying to analyze some objects and their emotional value i felt there were good arguments for either positive or negative emotional attachment. Will look out for that TED Talk thanks

I posted an article in the Branding forum about P&G’s handling of negative emotions with Pantene. P&G's Pantene update

It’s a good read, my favorite quote from the article - "Pantene, P&G figured, could do more than wash your hair: It could erase your negative feelings about having unattractive hair. "

thanks for posting that. It is a good read, particularly how they measure the memorability of the adverts. I agree with your favorite quote as well but it gets me thinking about how long the feeling towards bad hair lasts? if bad hair day can happen any time really then do how does this affect our emotional response to such products? I think cosmetic products are interesting because self image is something that we’re all conscious about and cosmetic companies aim to make us feel better about ourselves in the hope we buy their products.