Chapter Two – The Multiple Faces Of Emotion And Design

When you see something from your past, the most basic visceral level responds. This visceral response is immediate and positive, triggering the reflective system to think back about the past. The more you reflect on the past, the more you remember about the actual negative experiences you had with it. Herein lies the conflict with the initial visceral reaction.
Because the power of emotion fades with time, the negative affect generated by the memories doesn’t overcome the positive affect generated by the sight of the actual thing from your past itself.
This conflict among different levels of emotion is common in design. A person interprets an experience of a product at many levels, and what appears at one may not at another.

The design requirements for each level differ widely. The visceral level is pre-consciousness, pre-thought à Appearance, touch, feel matters and first impressions are formed.
The behavioral level is about use and experience with a product. And the experience itself has many facets à function, performance, usability. When inadequate, the product is of little value (à negative affect).
Function: what it is meant to do
Performance: how well does the product do those desired functions
Usability: the ease with which the user the product can understand

At the reflective level only, consciousness and feeling, emotions and cognitions reside. Here is the full impact of both thought and emotions à interpretation, understanding, reasoning.

Of the three levels, the reflective is the most vulnerable to variability through: culture, experience, education, individual differences. This level can override the others.
One distinction among the levels: TIME. Visceral and behavioral are about ‘now’, reflective about past and/or future à long term relations, a person’s self-identity is located within this level à in pride or shame of ownership?


Product characteristics (simplified): (the three levels of design):
Visceral design à appearance
Behavioral design à the pleasure and effectiveness of use
Reflective design à self-image, personal satisfaction, memories

How does each of the three levels compare in importance with the others? Should a product bee primarily visceral, behavioral or reflective?
è No single product can hope to satisfy everyone. The designer must know his audience, and any real experience involves all three levels. (a single level is rare in practice, when it exists at all is it most likely to come from the reflective level)
A designer must know that no single design will satisfy everyone. People have individual differences (that make each of us unique).
Some products áre marketed to everyone across the world, but they can succeed only if there are no real alternatives, or if they do manage to reposition their appeal to different people through the adroit (bedreven, geoefende) use of marketing and advertising (Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, PC’s, ).

The only way of satisfying a wide variety of needs and preferences, is having a wide variety of products (like magazines).

Marketing segmentation: à Products which are manufactured and distributed differently across the world, with a wide variety of styles and form, depending upon the needs and preferences of the market segment for whom they are targeted.

Another important dimension for a product: à its appropriateness to setting (when is it inappropriate and rejected?) (clothes, language, computers)

Needs ßà Wants:
- The difference between what is truly necessary for a person’s activities (needs) versus what a person asks for (wants).
- Needs are determined by the task (pail to carry water)
- Wants are determined by culture, advertising, one’s self-image and emotions
Product designers and marketing executives know that wants can often be more powerful than needs in determining the success of a product. (XBOX gaming example).

Example video game market:
To break out of the traditional video game market, the industry needs to project a different kind of appeal. The three levels come into play here:
At the visceral level: physical appearances of the consoles and controllers need to be changed. Different markets à different designs: warm & feminine design; serious & professional; reflective & educational.


True and long-lasting emotional feelings about a product take time to develop; they come from sustained interaction. In this, surface appearances and behavioral utility play relatively minor roles. à what matters is the history of interaction, the association people have with the objects and the memories they evoke.

Not all products are attractive because of their design, some products are beautiful to a person because of the reflective design they experience. A good example is a souvenir from Paris. People who go there often buy a souvenir in of the Eifel tower. They find it attractive because it represents their trip to Pairs, it has memorial value. These “beautiful” artifacts are often look upon as if there where art. In the world of art and design they were called kitsch. Cheap and sentimental.
(Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia:this term of derision for the cheap and vulgar has been applied since the early 20th century, to works considered pretentious and tasteless. (…) Works that claim artistic value but are weak, cheap, or sentimental.”)
American Heritage Dictionary: “sentimental means ‘resulting from or colored by emotion rather than reason or realism.’”

Yogi Berra: Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded à nobody likes kitsch, it’s too popular.
That popularity is telling us something: we should stop consider why it is popular, and find out what basic needs it satisfies.
Those souvenir objects may be cheap and sentimental, but that is the point. They are important as a symbol, a source of memory, of associations (souvenir: ‘a token of remembrance, a memento’). It’s its strength and popularity. They don’t pretend to be art.

We tend to associate emotion with beauty. à we like attractive things because of the way they make us feel.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Eugene Rochberg-Halton:
Studied what makes things special. They went into homes and interviewed the owners, trying to understand their relationship to the things about them. They asked each person to show things that were special to them and explored what factors made them so.
The special objects turned out to be the objects with special memories or associations, those that evoke a special feeling. Seldom was the focus upon the object itself.

We become attached to things and places of they have a significant personal association à our attachment is not to the thing, it is to the relationship, the meanings and feelings they represent.
Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton identify ‘psychic energy’ as the key:
- Psychic energy: mental energy, mental attention
Example Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow (p. 48):
- In the flow state, you become so engrossed and captured by the activity being performed, that it is as if you and the activity were one. à in state of trnace, time stops, you are only aware of the activity itself. à motivating, captivating, addictive state.

San Francisco Airport (p. 49):
- Exhibits on display, exhibition ‘Miniature Monuments’ (the role of souvenirs evoking memory)
- Hundreds of miniature monuments, buildings and other souvenirs
- They were on display to applaud their sentimental value, the memories and their emotional impact upon their owners.

Photographs have the power and the ability to transport the viewer back in time to some socially relevant event. à they are mementos, reminders, memories to be shared across time, place and people.
Although pictures are loved, the technologies of picture transmission, printing, sharing are sufficiently complex and time-consuming à it defeats many people. Not all the film gets developed, or it will never be looked at (à ‘shoe boxes’).
Digital cameras change the emphasis, but not the principle. à easy to take, easy to share, not easy to print. Paper prints or photographs are easier to take care of and display.
We like to look at photographs, but we don’t like to take the tie to do the work required to maintain them and keep them accessible.
è Design challenge: make it easier to store, send and share.
Portraits of family or friends are different. à they are stored at many desks, bookcases, walls. ß this is culture-sensitive! (à not all cultures display such personal symbols).
All together, photographs serve a powerful emotional role:
- Their comforting presence maintains family bonds even when separated;
- They assure permanence of the memories;

BUT, photographs can only bring back sights, not SOUNDS.
David Frohlich:
- Research scientist at Hewlett Packard Laboratories in Bristol, England
- Has been developing a system he calls ‘audiophotography’: photographs that combine an audio track, capturing the sounds on the scene surrounding when the picture was taken.
- Today’s technology allow us both to capture the sounds occurring and also to play those sounds back while showing.
- The sounds capture the emotional setting in a far richer way than can the image itself.
- the sounds can help you remember the original event better; it can evoke more feelings and memories, and it can help other to interpret the meaning of a photo better.(p. 52)”

Amy Cowen:
- Wrote about the importance of Frohlich’s work:
o with every photo there is a story, a moment, a memory. As time passes, however, the user’s ability to recall the details needed to evoke the moment the picture records fades. Adding sound to a photo can help keep the memories intact. (p.53)”


Memories reflect our life experiences; they serve to reinforce how we view ourselves. Our self-image plays a more important role in our lives than we like to admit.
è This concept of self appears to be a fundamental human attribute à the concept is deeply rooted in the reflective level of the brain, and highly dependent upon cultural norms.
Therefore, it is difficult to deal with in design.

Eastern people place more emphasis on the group, Western people place more emphasis on the individual. Though people behave very similarly, when put it the same situation. It is culture that presents us with different situations.
Some aspects of self seem universal: such as the desire to be well-thought-of by others. This desire and the importance of other people’s opinions is well known to the advertising industry. à tries to promote products though association. à show products alongside happy people, show people doing things a purchaser fantasizes about, show famous people/role models.

Products can be designed to enhance (verrijken) these aspects. Clothes can induce a different image of self, logos imprinted on clothes or bags speak to others about your sense of values, the styles of objects you buy often reflect public opinion; your choice of products are often powerful statements of self, reflect your self-image, as well as the images others have of you.

A more powerful way of inducing a positive sense of self is through a personal sense of accomplishment.
- The 1940s: Heathkit Company, sold electric kits for the home handyperson; build your own. The people who did felt pride in their accomplishments. The less skilled the builder, the more that special feeling.
- The 1950s: Betty Crocker Company, introduced a cake mix for at home: add water, mix and bake.
à the product FAILED: à the cake mix was too simple; consumers felt no sense of accomplishment, no involvement, they felt useless.
Problem solving: Betty Crocker required consumers to add an egg to the mix
à putting pride back into the activity. (p. 55)
Bonnie Goebert and Herma Rosenthal:
- Market researchers, discovered the reason of failure of the cake mix;
- The real problem had nothing to do with the product’s intrinsic value, but instead represented the emotional connection that links a product to its user. (p. 55)”



Products, companies and brands can have a personality.
One product can have more manifestations, wherein the product’s personality would change (appearance, behavior, interaction). But like human personality, all aspects of a design must support the intended personality structure.
Personality is a complex topic in its own right:
- It must reflect the many decisions about how it looks, behaves and is positioned
- All three levels op design play a role
- It must be matched to market segment
- It must be consistent (know what to expect)
When behavior is inconsistent and erratic, it’s difficult to know what to expect, people get frustrated and irritated.
The personalities of products, brands and companies need as much tending to as the product itself!

Fashion, style, mode and vogue à refer to a preferred manner of dress, adornment, behavior or way of life.
The existence of these terms demonstrates the fragility of the reflective side of design. What is liked today may not be tomorrow. The reason for change is the very fact that something was once liked: too much. à difference is needed to have a leader or rebellions.

How does a designer cope with popular taste if it has little to do with substance(inhoud)?
It depends on the product’s nature and the intentions of its company, but it always has to strive for balance among the three levels of design. It must be attractive, pleasurable but effective and understandable as well.
è In the long way, simple style with quality construction and effective performance still wins.
è The task dictates the design: make the design fit the task.
The number of different products is determined by the nature of particular tasks and the economics.

There is a set of products whose goals are entertainment/style/a person’s image enhancement; here the fashion comes into play; here is where the individual differences in people and cultures are important.
è The person and market segmentation dictate the design
è Make the design appropriate to the market segment that forms the target audience
Designing for the whims of fashion is tricky.
The division often breaks between the large and small companies:
- The continual changes in people’s fashion are huge challenges to the market leaders, how can they ever keep up, how do they track all the changes and anticipate (voorzien) them?
- For the competitive companies, these issues are opportunities à small companies can be nimble, moving rapidly, and using approached that the larger companies hesitate to try. They can be outrageous and experimental.
This all is the ever-changing battleground of the consumer marketplace, where fashion can be as important as substance.
A brand is an identifying mark, that represents a company and its products. They carry with them an emotional response that guides us towards a product or away from it.
è Emotional branding: involves the entire relationship of the product to the individual.

Sergio Zyman:
- Former chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola;
- emotional branding is about building relationships; it is about giving a brand and a product a long-term value.”(p. 60);
- Emotional branding is based on that unique trust that is established with an audience. It elevates purchases based on need to the realm of desire. The commitment to a product or an institution, the pride we feel upon receiving a wonderful gift of a brand we love or having a positive shopping experience in an inspiring environment where someone knows our name or brings an unexpected gift of coffee- these feelings are at the core of Emotional Design.”(p. 60).

The brand name is a symbol that represents one’s entire experience with a product and the company that produces it. Brands are all about emotions à emotions are all about judgment à brands are signifiers of our emotional responses.