You may be interested in analysing the difference between the appraisal theory of emotions in design as portrayed by Desmet with the approach for designing for values as suggested by Philip Ross (references below). I addressed both in my PhD and found that I was often wondering whether I was addressing emotions or values in my research, but there is a difference.
Emotions refer to affective physiological and cognitive responses we experience towards specific stimuli. The appraisal theory of emotions suggests that we appraise stimuli according to how they fulfil our concerns (attitudes, standards, goals) and expectations. If the stimulus, in this case the design, fulfils our concerns, then we can expect the elicitation of pleasant emotions such as joy, pleasant surprise, fascination, admiration, satisfaction. If the stimulus doesn't fulfil our concerns, then we are likely to experience unpleasant emotions such as indignation, disappointment, disgust.
Values refer to the ethical principles through which we see the world. The theory of values according to Ross says that we can design to address specific values in people, such as achievement, self-direction, security, conformity, tradition, benevolence. Ross suggests that designs can elicit those values. He has for example designs of lamps that intend to make people feel helpful.
Values and emotions are different terms and refer to different phenomena. What I find would be interesting to analyse is whether values can be seen as concerns from an appraisal theory point of view. In that case, it would be worth it to investigate how designs can elicit specific emotions by addressing specific values in people.
I hope that helps.
Desmet, P. M. A. (2002). Designing emotions (Doctoral dissertation). Technical University of Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, Delft.
Demir, E., Desmet, P. M. A., & Hekkert, P. (2009). Appraisal patterns of emotions in human-product interaction. International Journal of Design, 3(2), 41-51.
Rodríguez Ramírez, E. R. (2011). Elements of surprise: Industrial designers' strategies for eliciting surprise through interaction (Doctoral dissertation). Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington.
Ross, P. (2008). Ethics and aesthetics in intelligent product and system design (Doctoral dissertation). Technical University of Eindhoven, Industrial Design, Eindhoven.
Dr Edgar Rodriguez Ramirez
Senior Lecturer | Postgraduate Research Coordinator
School of Design
Victoria University of Wellington
Aotearoa - New Zealand
+64 4 4636245
From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of francesca zampollo
Sent: Monday, 7 May 2012 11:05 p.m.
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: designing for emotions, for values or for meanings?
I am reflecting on the difference (if any) between designing for emotions,
for values or for meanings. I would really appreciate your view on this
Briefly: Emotional design says that designers should understand how
products/services are experienced in order to understand the importance of
emotions. Designers should therefore design in order to elicit certain
There is also research on the importance of a product's value. For example
there is who thinks that the producer adds value to the product through the
different stages of the design process, manufacturing and distribution (Porter,
1985). Boztepe (2007) argues that relating value to design one should
consider the use of the product because, as Heskett (2002) notes, it is
difficult to consider utility/use and significance/meaning of an object
separately. An experientialist approach in fact considers value as being
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. 8).
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 reader will
be familiar with it)
(note: I have not included designing for experiences because I consider the
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, is
this: do these three 'design goals' actually exist? Or are we talking about
the same thing (designing 'beyond the object' (Redstorm, 2006))?
Is there a difference between designing for (focusing the design on) values
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 are
meanings attributed to the product? When are meanings created? Just after
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. But my
question is related to the way we experience a product that presents a
radical change in meaning. What happens in the affective system? When does
the radical meaning 'affect' the experience of the product? Is there a
psychological/cognitive reason why designers should design for meanings?
(as there was for designing for emotions?)
I really hope the extensive knowledge and expertise of many you could help
me tackle this point.
Boztepe, S. (2007). User Value: Competing Theories and Models. *International
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.* New
York: Oxford University Press.
Holbrook, M. B. (Ed.). (1999). *Consumer Value: A Framework for Analysis
and Research.* New York Routledge.
Norman, D. A. (2004). *Emotional Design. Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday
Things*. New York: Basic Books.
Ortony, A., Norman, D. A., & Revelle, W. (2005). The role of affect and
proto-affect in effective functioning. In J. M. Fellous & M. A. Arbib
(Eds.), *Who needs emotions? The brain meets the machine.* New York: Oxford
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 user
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.