Design for Emotion

1st Edition

Authors: Trevor van Gorp Edie Adams
Print ISBN: 9780123865311
eBook ISBN: 9780123865328
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 22nd June 2012
Page Count: 256
27.95 + applicable tax
21.99 + applicable tax
34.95 + applicable tax
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Design for Emotion introduces you to the why, what, when, where and how of designing for emotion. Improve user connection, satisfaction and loyalty by incorporating emotion and personality into your design process. The conscious and unconscious origins of emotions are explained, while real-world examples show how the design you create affects the emotions of your users.


This isn’t just another design theory book – it’s imminently practical. Design for Emotion introduces the A.C.T. Model (Attract/Converse/Transact) a tool for helping designers create designs that intentionally trigger emotional responses. This book offers a way to harness emotions for improving the design of products, interfaces and applications while also enhancing learning and information processing. Design for Emotion will help your designs grab attention and communicate your message more powerfully, to more people.

Key Features

  • Explains the relationship between emotions and product personalities
  • Details the most important dimensions of a product's personality
  • Examines models for understanding users' relationships with products
  • Explores how to intentionally design product personalities 
  • Provides extensive examples from the worlds of product, web and application design
  • Includes a simple and effective model for creating more emotional designs


Professionals in interactive design, info architecture as well as industrial and product design, graphic design, and marketing professionals

Table of Contents





Chapter 1. Why Design for Emotion?

Useful, Usable and Desirable

Emotion, Personality and Meaning



Chapter 2. What is Emotion?

Understanding Emotion

The Anatomy and Influence of Emotion



Chapter 3. When Do We Design for Emotion?

Measuring Success through Flow

Attention and Flow

The Senses and Attention

Emotion, Attention and Behavior

Emotion and Flow



Chapter 4. Where Do We Design for Emotion?

Product Personalities

Aesthetics and Interaction

Responses, Experiences and Relationships

Personality Traits and Design

Gender and Stereotypes

The Evolution of Emotion and Personality



Chapter 5. How Do We Design for Emotion?

Designing Relationships

Cutting Through the Jargon

The A.C.T. Model

Using the A.C.T. Model

Understanding the Dimensions of Emotion

What Personality Do I Design?

A.C.T. Guidelines



Chapter 6. Interviews and Case Studies


Case Studies





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© Morgan Kaufmann 2012
Morgan Kaufmann
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About the Author

Trevor van Gorp

Trevor van Gorp has been working in design and visual communication since 1994. He holds a M.E.Des. in Industrial Design and a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. His master’s thesis focused on developing an understanding of how emotion affects and is affected by design. Formerly a user experience consultant at nForm User Experience, a leading Canadian User Experience firm, Trevor created information architecture, performed interaction design and conducted user research and usability evaluations for clients like the City of Edmonton, Comcast,, and the Government of Alberta. Presently, he helps his clients develop more usable, useful and pleasurable websites, applications and products as the principal of Affective Design Inc., a user experience consultancy. Trevor is the author and editor of, a popular blog on the intersection of design and emotion. Other recent works include contributions to Deconstructing Product Design by William Lidwell and articles for Boxes and Arrows, a noted industry web magazine. Trevor has given presentations on the topic of designing for emotion at conferences both in North America and internationally.

Affiliations and Expertise

BFA, ME Des, IAI, Principal, Affective Design, Inc., Canada

Edie Adams

Edie Adams is the Principal User Experience Manager for the Mac Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft Corporation. Prior to joining MacBU, she was developing an understanding of the premium mobile consumer market for the Platform and Core Innovation team in Windows COSD. Edie is trained in occupational ergonomics, product design and design research. She is a CPE (Certified Professional Ergonomist), and holds a M.E.Des. in Industrial Design and a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Calgary, where she has been an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design. To begin her career at Microsoft, Edie led a team in the research of physical, cognitive and emotional interactions of people and products for Microsoft Hardware and Strategic Business Divisions. Her innovations have been recognized with over 50 US patents. She has held numerous research and design manager positions in Windows, including Windows Mobile and Tailored Products, the Windows Hardware Innovation Group, and the Windows Hardware and Emerging Markets Group.

Affiliations and Expertise

Principal User Experience Manager, Mac Business Unit, Microsoft


"I would recommend Design for Emotion to technical communicators who have an active role in product design and want to learn more about the emotional psychology of consumers. The authors’ A.C.T. model could prove useful to anyone who shares responsibility for the information architecture and visual design of a Web site, software, or promotional materials." --Technical Communication, February 2014

"Like good journalists, the authors produce chapters that seek to answer why, what, when, where, and how one designs for emotion…This results in a nicely produced package of theory and practice… Both novices and experts need to read this book. I highly recommend it…", April 2013

"Intended for creative professionals, Van Gorp and Adams have teamed up to present a practical guide for creating effective designs that succeed in emotion and personality to appeal to consumer's needs." --Reference and Research Book News, December 2012