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Adding Value to Packaging Materials Using Affective Design

Brian Henson , Cathy Barnes

This paper qualitatively examines how affective design and kansei engineering is being used to make product packaging materials distinctive and design processes more effective. New product development processes are often characterised by the generation of proposals by product designers based on their experience and insight, which are then consumer tested. This subjective process is not always reliable: as many as eighty five percent of new supermarket products fail. Kansei engineering techniques offer the ability to quantify the relationships between product features and emotional engagement. It provides a rational, objective basis for making design decisions and can be used to establish design rules, within particular product contexts. For packaging companies, such as coatings, paper and textured injection moulding manufacturers, for whom the basis of competition is principally cost, the power of the technique goes beyond being able to make better final products. Affective design allows these companies to engage with product designers in a new way. Manufacturers can use affective design techniques to determine the likely emotional response of consumers to their packaging materials and actively promote their products for specific uses. In this way they can contribute to the design process, rather than merely passively providing samples from which product designers make a choice. Affective design has the potential to change the basis of competition for some packaging materials, and allow some suppliers to provide a distinctive service with high added value. The advantage to product designers is that packaging manufacturers could provide well-informed evidence to underpin choice of materials.


Kansei engineering, packaging, affective design