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7 Elements of Emotional Design

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Emotional design is the process of creating things that people will feel empathy towards. It is associated with sustainability as a means of encouraging use and reuse over disposing things. Emotional design also has value as a product development and branding technique. Designing products and services that people feel good about is a sure way to earn loyal customers and a reputation for quality. The following are common elements of emotional design.


The appeal of an item to the senses of vision, taste, touch and sound. Design can essentially be appreciated as art.

Functional Value

Items that fulfill customer needs.


Products and services that endure time and real world conditions. In some cases, a product becomes more valuable to the owner with time such as tea cups that wear in a charming way.


Products and services that are available and always perform as expected. For example, a dish at a restaurant that always tastes much the same.


User interfaces that are pleasing to use.

Repairability & Extensibility

Things that are designed to be repaired or extended with interchangeable parts. For example, a mobile device with upgradable components.


The end-to-end intangible elements of a product or service such as a restaurant with friendly and diligent staff.
Overview: Emotional Design
The process of creating things that people will feel empathy towards.
Also Known As
Emotionally Durable Design
The feeling that surrounds an old book.
Attachment to a reliable bicycle.
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Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy (book), Jonathan Chapman, 2005.
Emotional Design: Why We Love Everyday Things (book), Don Norman, 2005.