Library > Search > Understanding Context: The Influence of Graphics on the Emotions of Surface Textures

Article options

    Login is required to download this article. You can register via the register page.

Understanding Context: The Influence of Graphics on the Emotions of Surface Textures

Brian Henson , Donald Choo , Cathy Barnes

Designers are increasingly aware of the influences that affect the way people emotionally engage with products. These include previous experiences, society and culture, and the situation in which the product will be used. Whilst recently developed generative techniques usefully provide insight into consumers' contexts, it remains useful to determine the interaction of product features at a more fundamental level. If one cannot examine the influence of a product feature separately from its broader context, then can one determine the extent to which any particular sensation contributes to the consumers' emotional engagement? The experiment described in this paper explores the influence of graphic design on peoples' emotional engagement with surface textures. The semantic differential technique was used to identify adjectives to describe touching transparent surface textures that had been screen printed onto clear acetate and shown against a plain, white background. Then, the same technique was used to characterise peoples' emotional engagement when looking at 'smileys', small graphical representations of faces, or emoticons, depicting various emotions. The first experiment with the surface textures was repeated but with the smileys behind and showing through the surfaces and finally by asking respondents to look at, but not touch, the smileys. Comparison of the principal components of the semantic differential experiments gave an objective evaluation of the influence of the graphics on peoples' engagement with the surfaces. Whilst the results of the experiment are themselves to some extent context dependent, the experiment demonstrates a process for making decisions about product packaging at a product type or brand level.


surface texture, Kansei engineering, affective design