Kansei Design and the Evocation of Emotion in Advertising
The late Dennis Hopper¶s compelling portrayal of depraved psychopath Frank Booth, inDavid Lynch¶s 1985 film
, is the stuff of nightmares. Drunken rampages, obscuresexual peccadilloes and Italian nightclub singers aside, what¶s most tellingly complex aboutthis character is his silenced, understated weeping when certain buttons are pressed. For example, upon hearing a rendition of Roy Orbison¶s
, he becomes a weakenedbowl of emotional mush.What is it that can provoke such an intense display of emotion? While individually we¶re pre-disposed to responses based on our own life experiences, conditioning and opinions, thereare more subliminal, universal responses we all react to.We¶re all subject to having our emotional responses manipulated to some degree ± Disneyhas a lot to answer for ± but how could brands do this? Is there a formula at work?To some extent, yes there is ± Kansei Design ± a Japanese concept that seeks to forgeemotional connections between people and brands. On a basic level, the Kansei concept of blending sensitivity and oneness with nature, is very clear cut, but on a technical level ± it¶shighly complex.Kansei engineering, popular in automotive design, refers to the translation of consumers'psychological feelings about a product into perceptual design elements. Sometimes referredto as "sensory engineering" or "emotional usability" this technique involves determiningwhich sensory attributes elicit particular subjective responses from people, and thendesigning a product using the attributes which elicit the desired responses.