The Form of Emotive Design

Mothersill, P. "The Form of Emotive Design"


We have an unconscious understanding of the meaning of different physical objects through our extensive interactions with them. Designers can extend and adapt pre-existing symbolic meanings through the design of these objects, adding a layer of emotive expression by manipulating their forms. Novice designers can express the "character' of the objects they want to design using familiar vocabulary, but may not be able to draw on expert design skills to transform this meaning into the medium of form. This thesis explores the physical design language encoded into objects and asks: can a CAD tool that uses descriptive adjectives as an input aid designers in creating objects that can communicate emotive character? In this thesis I explore the underlying emotive design "grammar' of the form of objects, and through this present an emotive semantically-driven a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tool that uses expressive words to design forms with emotive character. A quantitative framework for emotive form design is proposed and integrated into the EmotiveModeler CAD tool. Using this CAD tool, I investigated the variables of this emotive form design framework and tested the resulting designs and the software itself with both novice and experienced designers to evaluate if the tool can help these users more easily create inspirational and emotive forms using the expressive vocabulary we are all familiar with.

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