Great responses coming through that also help me with a paper I am
working on at the moment that deals with object affects ("On Making the
Affects of Things"), especially in relation to packaging (boxes, boxing
My approach follows up my PhD work ("Kenosis, Katharsis, Kairosis: A
Theory of Literary Affects")
Basically my thesis argues that there are three identity affects that
can be related to the three traditional genres: Lyric, Dramatic, Epic
(novel) and they are Kenosis (Lyric), Katharsis (Dramatic) and Kairosis
In terms of our relationships with objects, we are mostly connected
through the identity affect of the Lyric. That is, our identities are
constructed as constellations of sensations that form a whole (think of
a sensorium - all fives senses). This is a relatively unstable identity
though it can be sustained. You can think of most love songs in this
From this basis of an identity affect you can start to build models of
how value and meaning are formed. Without the primary bonding (cathexis)
there is no affect; without the affect there is no value arising from
the immediate experience; without the value there is no significant
meaning to be associated with the experience. That is, we can always
construct meaning in the absence of any object-originated affect (a
conscious experience of emotion) and derive value from this constructed
meaning which is probably what a management committee might do when
confronted with a prototype.
Hope this helps
>>> francesca zampollo <[log in to unmask]> 05/07/12 9:05 PM
I am reflecting on the difference (if any) between designing for
for values or for meanings. I would really appreciate your view on
Briefly: Emotional design says that designers should understand how
products/services are experienced in order to understand the importance
emotions. Designers should therefore design in order to elicit certain
There is also research on the importance of a product*s value. For
there is who thinks that the producer adds value to the product through
different stages of the design process, manufacturing and distribution
1985). Boztepe (2007) argues that relating value to design one should
consider the use of the product because, as Heskett (2002) notes, it
difficult to consider utility/use and significance/meaning of an
separately. An experientialist approach in fact considers value as
created at the interface of the product and the user (Frondizi,
1971)because *value resides not in the product purchased, not in the
chosen, not in the object possessed but rather in the consumption
experience derived therefrom* (from Boztepe, 2007; Holbrook, 1999, p.
And finally Verganti shows how radical innovation is driven by meaning
change (Verganti, 2009). (This is for me the core of Verganti*s
contribution, so I won*t expand on this third point, hoping the
be familiar with it)
(note: I have not included designing for experiences because I consider
experience the process that transforms interactions into an outcome:
emotions, knowledge, memories)
What I*m trying to understand, and what I would like your opinion on,
this: do these three *design goals* actually exist? Or are we
the same thing (designing *beyond the object* (Redstorm, 2006))?
Is there a difference between designing for (focusing the design on)
or meanings? Or are these two different words for the same concept?
Also: considering Norman*s (Norman, 2004; Ortony, Norman, & Revelle,
2005)analysis of the affective system (divided into reactive (or
level, routine (or behavioural) level, and reflective level), where
emotions are the final outcome of the human-product interaction, when
meanings attributed to the product? When are meanings created? Just
emotions have been elicited, or simultaneously?
If designing for meanings is the contemporary design *trend*, why
is it so?
I understand why a radical change in meaning can produce radical
innovation, so I do understand why one should choose to pursue that.
question is related to the way we experience a product that presents a
radical change in meaning. What happens in the affective system? When
the radical meaning *affect* the experience of the product? Is
psychological/cognitive reason why designers should design for
(as there was for designing for emotions?)
I really hope the extensive knowledge and expertise of many you could
me tackle this point.
Boztepe, S. (2007). User Value: Competing Theories and Models.
Journal of Design, 1*(2), 55-63.
Frondizi, R. (1971). *What is value?* LaSelle, IL: Open Court.
Heskett, J. (2002). *Toothpicks and Logos: Design in Everyday Life.*
York: Oxford University Press.
Holbrook, M. B. (Ed.). (1999). *Consumer Value: A Framework for
and Research.* New York Routledge.
Norman, D. A. (2004). *Emotional Design. Why We Love (or Hate)
Things*. New York: Basic Books.
Ortony, A., Norman, D. A., & Revelle, W. (2005). The role of affect
proto-affect in effective functioning. In J. M. Fellous & M. A. Arbib
(Eds.), *Who needs emotions? The brain meets the machine.* New York:
Porter, M. E. (1985). *Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining
Superior Performance.* New York: Free Press.
Redstorm, J. (2006). Towards user design? On the shift from object to
as the subject of design. *Design Studies, 27*(2), 123-137.
Verganti, R. (2009). *Design-Driven Innovation. Changing the rules of
competition by radically innovating what things mean.* Boston,
Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press.
PhD Student * London Metropolitan University
Organizer and Chair of International Conference on Designing Food and
Designing for Food.