Can Folding a Product Foster Emotional Attachment?
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: David Morgan
Institution: Brigham Young University, Utah, USA
Section: Ethics and Emotions
People become attached (and unattached) to products for various reasons. Researchers who study “emotion in design” have discussed the nature of such emotional bonds and the mechanisms by which they operate. Through theory, study and observation, scholars have been able to clarify what product factors foster emotional attachment and what human motivations drive attachment to products.
Products requiring the end user to complete the product to make it whole offer a promising interactive space that could foster affecting connections. The DIY approach has potential for developing a unique product/user attachment during the “assembly required” phase of the relationship. But in order to do so, design students must carefully consider and appropriately anticipate the difficulty, duration and nature of the assembling. We argue that the activity of folding a product into its final form provides a pleasurable and fruitful setting for emotional attachment to occur. Folding, in this initial morphogenic stage, provides an interaction that not only forms the product itself but also can be formative in the development of an emotional connection. We discuss design attachment and valuation theory as it relates to product folding then analyze two examples of a folded product in order to examine the value of the approach in a design studio setting.