Introducing the student designer to the role of emotion in design

Products satisfy needs beyond the functional. These needs may include aspirations, emotions, cultural and social needs. It is crucial that designers are equipped to deal with the emotional domain of products and users. Carlson (1997) considered emotion to be short term waves of feeling arising without conscious effort, whereas mood, is defined as a longer termed state with less intensity. The authors’ working definition of the ‘emotional domain’ is the range of states of mind (which may influence the body) and which are influenced by internal and external stimuli. These effects tend to be transient although an individual will have a tendency towards a particular state, such as melancholy, happiness, calmness and so on. But even here various stimuli can cause a significant swing in state of mind. But this is a highly individual effect for example, one person may find the new iMac computer delightful and cheerful, where as others, may find it irritating and repulsive.