What is emotional design and why it is important?

What is emotional design?

What is emotional design?

What is emotional design: Emotional Design is the real driver for change.

What is emotional design
Credit: Mercedes Benz

Why are we so attracted to certain objects? What sensations, atmospheres and memories do they trigger? What do they communicate to us besides their beauty? What is the relationship between their shape, colour, material, size, function and our daily needs? The answer to all these questions is invisible to the eye because emotions have always been our internal compass able to guide our moods, behaviours and purchasing choices.

Designing emotions is the main purpose of emotional design, a methodology that is gradually spreading in many fields of application, from architecture to furniture, from web design to retail, up to the automotive sector.

Don norman


A term popularized by Donald Norman in 2004, the emotional design was created to respond to a vital need for every human being, namely “to make us feel better”. As Donald writes in his famous essay (“Emotional Design”), “pleasant objects make people happy, who in turn tend to think more creatively”.

Come to think of it, that’s the way it is for all of us. There are objects or products to which we are linked regardless of the use we make of them. I jealously kept my first red Bianchi bicycle in my father’s garage for over twenty years and, every time I went to see him, I would also drop by the garage, just to look at it, making me happy and lighthearted!

emotional design sketches
2019 Pininfarina Battista

The extraordinary power to excite that design has is indisputable, especially when it comes to mobility. Its value goes beyond the form and function of the product because the design of emotions is not simply about aesthetics or form, but the soul contained within a specific vehicle and its ability to communicate, excite and reinforce relationships with people. Yet too often, especially in marketing, this term is used to express exclusively the aesthetic character of a car, without talking about its soul and the project that brought that particular model to life.

Importance of Design

This is Design. It is the moment when it all begins. It is that spark that sets the idea in motion and that ignites the project of emotionality, beauty, harmony and innovation. The most famous Italian Car Designers, such as Sergio Pininfarina, Giugiaro and Scaglione have managed to find that perfect balance between emotion and function, beauty and technology, tradition and modernity. Their greatness is contained in the ability to be, before being designers, true car sculptors, able to immerse themselves in colours, geometries, materials and new technologies, shaping authentic masterpieces of automotive design. Timeless icons, capable of making the hearts of entire generations travel with emotion.

emotional design sketches
Credit: Giugiaro

What is emotional design for the future: A Challenge

The design of emotions today represents the fundamental means to imagine and plan the mobility of the future, to revolutionize the user experience and above all to enrich it with value and uniqueness. A huge challenge that runs through the entire automotive sector which in recent years has found itself having to respond in an innovative way to the strong push for renewal that is taking place in all the main sectors of the industry. In a market that is often dominated by very similar products, for technical characteristics, technologies and aesthetics, the design of emotions will perhaps save the world.

Credit: Polestar

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