Design is Logical and Emotional

When I think of the word “Design” one of the many things that comes to my mind is look around and start looking for patterns or look hard objects because although they seem very common sight (because they are already part of our day to day) some were once part of a process to be designed precisely for that to become as normal and natural that become part of the environment.

I look around and stop at the dining table, let’s start analyzing something as simple as a dining table, which is the conventional layout of a table? We could say a table with four legs where we can support different objects, nothing out of the ordinary but if we add something more like “Competing in the market”, “Meeting the needs of the customer” and be a “practical solutions” the result could be different, as the table that I have at home:

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A dining table that not only fulfills its conventional function, but also has an added functionality, size can be adjusted. It becomes a small to medium table, one could say that this table went through a creative process in which not only meets customer needs, but has an added value, adjust its size, is a good design but in the end it remains a table.

I have always believed that a good product comes with more than just a “Good Design”; there is something else behind the “Good Design of a product”?

So, I started researching whether there is something else, finally I found it, Don Norman, author of “The Design of Everyday Things”, has another book called Emotional Design” and I started to look for videos from him about “Emotional Design” and I found as a TED Talk “3 ways good design makes you happy” and in one of his interviews with CNN “Why emotion is an important part of design”. He mentioned that:

If you want to understand the real need of the people, you don’t ask, you watch. And we must consider that “We are not logical, we are emotional” and emotional can assign a big value to the things. The Design is about feeding the need of the people, and these needs are variety, we need a balance between:


Also describes that there are 3 levels of emotions that are important when a well-designed product, such as:

  • The visceral level.  Amazing amount of stuff that’s built into the brain, we like sweet flavor or not.
  • The behavioral level. Feeling in control, which includes usability, understanding but also the feel and heft.
  • Reflective.  It’s that little voice in your head that’s the seat of consciousness, we like it, we don’t.

The visceral and behavioral levels are subconscious, but the reflective is the conscious.

Now I have other concepts in my mind, and I continue my search.

I’m still walking around and observed a PlayStation 4, I observe has a good design but does not call my attention. Until, someone invites me to play a football game with FIFA 16.FIFA 16

The match kicks “Barcelona vs Real Madrid”. But still I have in mind the thought of a “Good Design” have also the 3 elements mentioned by Don Norman.

Barcelona vs Real_Madrid

I’m not a good player of FIFA, but I will defend very well. And my mind kept thinking about “A design that makes you happy”.

And in the middle game when “Barcelona” gets me a goal, because I was playing with the “Real Madrid”, I observed that the opposing player is happy, exultant and powerful; he seems to have won a big prize (It’s only a game? No!) And then Messi “look at me” and above my head an enlightened focus literally appears and my mind says “BINGO”.


I’m at a program that not only has a “good design” because I must point out that the game FIFA has a good design, the players are very you like real players, the movements of the players, have the environment, a stadium, the narrator have all the elements to make it as real football game, also has the 3 elements mentioned by Don Norman, FIFA 16 :

  • Visceral. Your brain starts to generate a series of emotions, happiness, fear, a mixture of both, etc.
  • Behavioral. You can feel in control, you can manage the game and create your opportunities to win the game.
  • Reflective. You know you like to be the winner and play as if it were your last chance to do so. You don’t want to be a loser.

It is a game in your favor, not only has all the work of designers, game tactics, but also generates a emotional part in people who play it and the excitement of football, playing a game of football, feel thrill of winning victory against your competitor, disappointment and frustration of losing, the thrill of feeling for a few minutes a football star.


FIFA 16 is not only logical is also emotional.

In conclusion, when creating/designing a product must combine “Logical” part and the “Emotional” for competing in the market, meeting the needs of the customer and be a practical solutions; should cause emotions in our customers, customers do not just want the product because it’s a good product but also they want it, because“The product makes them feel happy”.

And what happened to the match “Barcelona vs Real Madrid”, Barcelona won with the score 1-0, I told them I knew defense. But at the end I gained much more.


Don Norman: Designing for People
“3 ways good design makes you happy” Ted Talk, 2003
“Why emotion is an important part of design” CNN Interview, 2015


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