Are You Emotional Enough?

By Alison Fulton
Observe this photograph of two sweetly sleeping doggies….ahhh, how adorable. This image hopefully evokes an emotional response from you. (Full disclosure: they’re my dogs, Beau and Angel so I am totally prejudiced but I still think they’re cute.)

I am interested in the recent discussions I am seeing on emotional design as I have always strived to evoke a emotional response with my designs. An example of when I succeeded in this aim was when my editor said my choice of photo made her teary. (See if it touches you the same way.)

These recent discussions reference emotion in a slightly different aspect than I am talking about perhaps, yet I feel the essential point is the same; if you have passion for your work, it will show in your designs and work and people will respond to that emotion. I am not saying that you shouldn’t still analyze, evaluate and seek other opinions when you need them. But as I recently read here, “Just do what you love with people who love to do the same things.” Those are words to live by … if you’re lucky.

Related resources
Net Magazine
The Industry
Redesign details

At present, I am working on a redesign of four publications based on our dvm360 for iPad app which I am proud to say amongst other awards won a silver Ozzie award for outstanding design. It has been a real labour of love creating the original design and now the subsequent related offspring designs. If I didn’t feel passionately about it, I don’t think I could have done it. We “creative types” are lucky like that; we’re allowed to pour ourselves into our creations.

Another facet of emotional design is that people are extraordinarily attached to their mobile devices now, their smart phones, iPads. Imagine that you had to hand your phone to a stranger as suggested in this article.

How would you feel? Like you had just handed the most intimate details of your life to a complete stranger!? I would hate this (I don’t even like giving my phone to my husband! Sorry, honey!) and I think this is a critical point. If you design a rotten app/website/epub/publication that is miserable to use or read and makes someone’s phone or tablet appear dysfunctional, the customer/client is going to take it personally. That’s an emotion you want to avoid.

Photo of Alison Fulton
Alison Fulton


Alison Fulton recently moved into emedia as a senior content specialist at Advanstar Communications following 20+ years as an art director there.

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