What Is Emotional Design

Emotional design is everywhere around us. It’s all around us. When emotional design is done well it’s invisible. Invisible design? It sounds counterintuitive, we know. Trust us, it sounds counterintuitive. The most successful designs tap into your emotional subconscious. They make you feel good even if you don’t know why these designs make you feel so good. You might not be aware that these products and their design make you feel good. But you keep coming back for more because it’s a positive experience every time you interact with them.

Emotional design can be one of the most powerful tools a brand has in its toolbox. You can’t appeal to the emotions of users if you don’t appeal to them. It’s that easy, and it’s that complicated. This is what you should keep in mind when creating your brand’s engaging and successful brand.

Defining emotional design

Emotional design doesn’t refer to a particular style such as Memphis Design, Brutalism. It’s more of a concept. The idea that design can or should cause viewers to feel certain emotions. Two designs can look completely different, but they both still count as emotional design. Emotional design refers to any design that evokes an emotion in the viewer. It doesn’t tell viewers how to feel; it creates emotions in them through carefully chosen design choices. Consider the many online job applications portals that so many companies use. You’re likely feeling frustrated and stressed just by thinking about them, if you’re anything like many people who have dealt with them. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the large blocks of text, the autofill features that sometimes, sometimes work, the redundant information they ask you for, and the endings that leave an ambiguous tone.

Imagine an online application for a job that isn’t cluttered. A progress bar shows you how close you are from the end for each field that you fill in. One that not only makes it clear when you’re finished , but also tells you what next to expect, whether it’s an email in the next month, a call within 14 days, or something else. This sounds much less stressful, doesn’t it? This is how we imagine a job application that includes emotional design. It makes applying for a job easy and responsive.

Don Norman’s three levels in design

Donald Norman, Director of The Design Lab at University of California San Diego and author of numerous books on design including “The Design of Everyday Things”, has conducted extensive research into the concept of emotional designing. Norman’s research revealed the three types cognitive reactions people have to product designs.

Emotional design is about creating positive associations

Emotional design is a way to make certain associations and take particular actions. To achieve this, designers use a variety of strategies such as color psychology or gamification. Green, according to color psychology, communicates health and all things natural. Web page design by DSKY It is important to establish a positive association with your product. This could be done by evoking positive emotions, such as joy or power. Or it could be by first evoking negative emotions, like fear and disgust, and then promising that the product would alleviate those feelings.

Referring to the job application portal example, it is possible for job applicants to get frustrated by the ad and click away, leaving incomplete applications. Employers who are looking for a quality application program face the fear that talented candidates won’t bother applying if it is slow and tedious. They purchase a streamlined, responsive application program to alleviate that fear. Neon doodle design for a cryptocurrency lander distinguishes the brand from competitors. You can see how emotions are used at different points along this journey. The employer first saw the emotional design in the ads and decided to purchase the software. The software created a positive association between the employer and the job applicant. This resulted in more applicants and applicants with a positive outlook on the company applying for jobs.

What can I do to “do” emotion design?

Your target consumers’ wallets are only accessible through their hearts and the brain. When creating your brand identity, bear in mind Norman’s three levels. You want your designs to elicit an immediate emotional response from the user and communicate that they will benefit them. This will ensure that their brain doesn’t doubt their assessment of the product’s value when it catches up with their hearts.

Six steps to emotional design

1. Learn to understand the base needs of your users

Listing your product’s benefits directly can tap into your audience’s base desires, like the desire to be healthy. Design by Agi Amri
A person might think, “I would like to start investing” when they see an advertisement for an investment platform. But this thought is far deeper than just wanting to download an app. Security is something we all desire. Money can buy security. An investment app ad must appeal to that emotional need for stability and security in order to be effective. Think about the real value you are providing when you design marketing materials and other brand assets. Restaurants are more than just offering a great menu at a trendy location. They also offer food and drink.

The reptile brain is a concept that helps us understand our basic desires. This theory posits that our brains still have the primitive brain structure of our evolutionary ancestors. This basic brain is still found in reptiles, and it’s responsible for survival and self-preservation functions. The luxury car advertisement taps into the reptile brain’s desire to be a part of a social group. Visitors are assured that their products will protect them and their families by visiting a website about a home security system. We will always have prehistoric, primitive structures in our brains, which respond to emotions, no matter how many years pass and how far we advance.

2. Make a character, and then engage in the character’s activities

While this doesn’t mean that you should have a mascot for your brand, it does suggest that people should interact with the brand like they would with a human. Engaging as a character gives your audience someone to care about, and somebody they feel cares about. You can also create a mascot for your brand identity at the centerfold. Cross the Lime Logo design
Engaging with customers as a character requires that you remain true to your character at all times. This means that your website, email, and other copy should be written in a voice that sounds like the character. Your brand should be playful and youthful. Your copy should use fun, positive, and engaging words and phrases.

3. Give users a sense that they are part of the ownership

People are attached to the things that they feel they have a small share of. When they interact with your brand, make sure they feel part of it. Here are some ways to do this:

Give them a unique deonym to identify them as “in crowd” or create a rewards program called “coffee connoisseurs.”
We offer branded, responsive customer service. Consider the difference between having your computer repaired or bringing it to the Genius Bar. The first option is open to everyone. The second is only available to members of the Apple community.
Your audience should be able to identify with you brand easily. People will value a brand more if they see themselves in it. Consider how car enthusiasts identify with the brands of their cars.

4. Tell stories

Create a retro mood and make your audience succumb to nostalgia. One brand that has integrated storytelling into their business is Airbnb. Airbnb is a brand that has integrated storytelling into everything they do, from their Belong Anywhere campaign which raised more than $1million for refugees to their collection stories from the global Airbnb community. This allows them to capitalize on one of their most valuable assets: unique experiences and stories you will tell for the rest your life.


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