Let's get emotional: introducing undergraduate Product Design students to the concept of emotional design
In today's highly competitive consumer market it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish products on the basis of their price, quality and technology. Organisations are therefore challenging designers to design products, which have significance beyond their functionality and differentiate themselves in the marketplace by emotionally connecting with the user. Furthermore, new design for sustainability methodologies suggest that, rather than adopting symptom focused strategies, such as design for recycling, designers should be designing products that users can maintain emotional relationships with and that users are reluctant to throw away. It is important that design students are exposed to the challenge of designing for emotion and understand its relevance in today's society. This paper describes two workshops, which were developed to introduce undergraduate product design students to the area of emotional design and sustainability with particular emphasis on product attachment and products with personality. The first workshop introduced the concept of product attachment by encouraging the students to become more aware of their own emotions by investigating how they felt about three personal products: Favourite childhood product, favourite product that they currently own and the product they most desire to own. The second workshop focused on the theory of product personality and the idea that designing products with personalities, which are congruent to the target user group, could positively influence purchasing decisions and encourage stronger product attachment.