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Remarks on the Difficulty of Encoding Feelings

Rainer Funke

The methodological crux of emotional design lies in the taxonomic variability arising from the complexity of the occasions at which we produce emotions.

Designers normally produce the forms in which things appear, sign systems or images, which, since it is necessary that these can be fitted into a variety of contexts, are therefore more or less abstract. Maybe design shifts from being a generalizing discipline to an individualizing discipline where, as with a bespoke tailor, work is done for small groups or for individual consumers.

A semiotization of the world means, alongside the reductionist visualization of practical life, looking through and beyond the things we see: behind the goods, we see a value; behind the products or spaces, we see functions; behind the letters, we see concepts, etc.

The three main rationalizing forces of development -- Euclidean space, money and semiotics -- also have their roots, though, in the social control of emotions.

A social fabric is also characterized by the fact that its members take pains to achieve justice in the interactive exchange of feelings. The relationships that thus come into being can be described as conventions, as stabilizing systems of mutual emotional expectations on the part of the partners involved.


Design methodology, Semiotics, Experience Society