Design for Affect: A Core Competency for the 21st Century

Open access


Consumers purchase products with the objective of reducing pain, increasing pleasure or both. Product aesthetics primarily contribute to enhancing consumer pleasure, and utilitarian attributes, such as product functionality, primarily help reduce consumer pain. So the question is how consumers choose between the goals of reducing pain and enhancing pleasure. In the case of functional dominance, consumers attach greater importance to fulfilling their minimum utilitarian needs over their minimum hedonic ones. By contrast, if consumers have to choose between two products, and one product meets their minimum functional requirement but exceeds their minimum aesthetic expectations, while the other meets their minimum aesthetic expectations but exceeds their minimum functional requirement, they select the product with superior aesthetics. A balanced design with an optimal combination of attributes and emotional experiences will reach a greater price on the market and insure higher profits.