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Moving Design: To Design Emotion Through Movement

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An emotion reveals itself with dynamic bodily expressions. These expressions are not only manifestations of the emotion but also influence the emotional experience: a feeling can be an experienced emotional expression. This paper discusses the case study Learning to Talk with Your Body, which was designed to explore the possibility of using expressive movement for creating products that elicit predefined emotional responses. Six objects were designed, each expressing a distinct emotion: anger, fear, sadness, joy, pleasant surprise or attraction. The aim was to develop an educational product that can be used to teach children, aged between four and six, how to emotionally express themselves with their bodies. The objects were designed to express the given emotions in their static appearances and (interactive) dynamic movements. An evaluation study with prototypes of the objects confirmed that the quality or character of a movement that is required to interact with a product influences the user's emotional responses to the product. This paper reports the design and evaluation of the objects, and discusses the implications of the concept of 'design for movement' for designing products that have an intended emotional impact.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2005

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  • Established in 1998, The Design Journal is an international, refereed journal covering all aspects of design. The journal welcomes articles on design in both cultural and commercial contexts. The journal is published four times a year and provides a forum for design scholars, professionals, educators, and managers worldwide. It publishes thought-provoking work that will have a direct impact on design knowledge and that challenges assumptions and methods, while being open-minded about the evolving role of design.

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