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Why Product Design Should be Driven by Emotion

Think about the products in your life that you love. Maybe it’s a certain pair of shoes, or your smartphone, or your car. Maybe you love how they work, but you also probably love how they make you feel. It’s probably no surprise to you that these products were meticulously designed paying special attention to every little detail to ensure maximum pleasure, comfort, and performance.

Now, think about the products you use in your everyday life. Your toothbrush. Your dishwasher. Your salt and pepper shakers. Your TV remote.

What might surprise you that even the most mundane items in our lives are designed in much the same way that, say an iPhone is designed. But perhaps you don’t feel as connected these items as you do about other products in your life. Why is that?

Part of the reason is that these products don’t have the same level of integration with your life as your car or smartphone. But that doesn’t mean that the same design principles weren’t applied.

For example, think about your toothbrush. Perhaps it has a certain curve in the handle that makes it fit perfectly into your hand. And perhaps that handle is covered in a soft silicone that makes it feels comfortable when you hold it.

Even if you don’t think about it
consciously it is the details of the design that create
an emotional connection to the product.

At Pininfarina, we believe that emotional connections are sparked from memorable and enjoyable experiences. At the core of our design practice is a sense of sensuality and enjoyment that was born from automotive design that has naturally flooded our other verticals including transportation design, industrial design, and architecture . Our goal for any design project is to evoke emotion in the end-user.

But, with customers spending more time than ever online, researching, and making purchasing decisions through a screen, how exactly can we generate an emotion that will connect users to your products in a short time?

With seconds to make a decision
on a e-commerce platform, product aesthetics
on a picture/video are crucial.

A product needs to be beautiful, elegant, and photogenic. But design isn’t only about making beautiful products as beauty alone doesn’t conjure emotion. It is key to focus on developing emotions through active shapes, sounds, and user-interface (UI) to deliver a variety of sensations and tell a story around the brand that communicates its values.

We emphasize the physical feeling of the materials used and the intangible feelings a shape elicits. Ultimately, we seek to use design to magnify the soul of the product or service.

One key part of this approach is to create a long-lasting experience that surpasses consumer trends. Decades from now, most people won’t know what the fidget spinner is (unless maybe they owned one), but they’ll certainly know what an iPhone is.

Developing a product that delivers both
a sense and ability of timelessness
is a challenge we embrace,
but it’s not just a catchphrase, it’s a philosophy.

We want the products we design for our customer to exceed sustainability standards and avoid the throw-away consumer culture. We want them to last a lifetime, maybe more.

What’s more, we believe this philosophy can be applied anywhere in both B2C and B2B contexts. For example, by making a tool used in a factory durable yet ergonomic, we seek to make it fundamental to that factory’s ability to function and produce.

Whatever the product, the final design should be precise and make people proud and confident because of its general sensorial perception, which then builds a long-lasting relationship between the product and its end-user.

We work to create icons and product heroes
that embody the brand vision of our customer
and be a guide for future product or service lines.

We seek to bring this vision to life and reflect social conceptions of beauty. That’s why we say that Beauty is our science, Design is our mindset and Pininfarina is our philosophy.

Pininfarina designed more than 600 projects with more than 50 design awards on the last 10 years.

Written by David Carvalho SVP Experience Design & Industrial Design PininfarinaNicola Girotti Head of Design and UX Pininfarina worldwidePaolo Trevisan Head of Design Pininfarina of America and Antony Margiasso Head of Design Pininfarina China.

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