Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things

Donald Norman

Basic Books, 2004

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

Did you ever wonder why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses? Why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple introduced the colorful iMac? New research on emotion and cognition has shown that attractive things really do work better, a fact fans of Don Norman's classic The Design of Everyday Things cannot afford to ignore.In recent years, the design community has focused on making products easier to use. But as Norman amply demonstrates in this fascinating and important new book, design experts have vastly underestimated the role of emotion on our experience of everyday objects.Emotional Design analyzes the profound influence of this deceptively simple idea, from our willingness to spend thousands of dollars on Gucci bags and Rolex watches to the impact of emotion on the everyday objects of tomorrow. In the future, will inanimate objects respond to human emotions? Is it possible to create emotional robots?Norman addresses these provocative questions--drawing on a wealth of examples and the latest scientific insights--in this bold exploration of the objects in our everyday world.


“The book pops with fresh paradigms, applying scientific rigor to our romance with the inanimate. You’ll never see housewares the same way again.”



“Design is good for you. This much we suspect. Now, thanks to Norman, we realize that good design is really good for you.”
I.D. Magazine


“Norman’s analysis of people’s emotional reactions to material objects is a delightful process…. His readers will take away insights galore about why shoppers say, ‘I want that.’”


“Norman’s analysis of the design elements in products such as automobiles, watches and computers will pique the interest of many readers, not just those in the design or technology fields.”
Publishers Weekly


“Amazing…. Norman does a wonderful job making these ideas come alive.”
Daniel Bobrow, Research Fellow, Palo Alto Research Center


“Donald Norman’s relentless and exacting exploration of the universe of everyday objects has brought him to the final frontier of design: emotions. His exquisite psychological analysis provides a solid and reliable reference and a most valuable tool.”
Paola Antonelli, Curator of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art


“Don Norman does it again! He asks the important questions and gives the right answers. I wish this insightful book had been available forty years ago so that I could have done a much better job as a designer.”
Dr. Robert Blaich, former Senior Vice President of Corporate Design, Royal Philips Electronics


“This is a valuable book…. It will help the design world to do great work.”
Patrick Whitney, Director, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology


“The major challenge to applying these findings, Norman explains in this well-illustrated survey of the emotional drivers in product design, is that customer’s responses vary so greatly. Product designer need to tailor their work carefully in order to push the right buttons with the right customers.”
Harvard Business Review


“‘Why is the telephone keypad different from a computer or calculator keypad?’ ‘This is a question that has troubled assistants and accountants for ages. It’s all about ego, says computer and design guru Don Norman. The calculator format (with 7,8, and 9 on the top row) existed first. Before phones switched to push buttons in the 1960s, Bell Labs studied several number layouts, and two worked best: the calculator format and one other. Naturally, the designers chose the other one (with 1,2 and 3 on top) to distinguish themselves (and make life more difficult). The world has suffered ever since, says Norman.”