Exploring the Reflective and Utilitarian Benefits of Product Attachment

DS 58-10: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 10, Design Education and Lifelong Learning, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Maclachlan, Mary; Harrison, David; Wood, Bruce
Series: ICED
Section: Design Education and Lifelong Learning
Page(s): 13-22


With heightened environmental concern and the recent global economic crisis a new challenge has emerged for design; to take a more responsible role and tackle sustainability more innovatively. Not only do designers of the future need to be aware of common sustainable design thinking they should also be aware of more innovative approaches, such as, how to emotionally connect with the consumer and design products that consumers want to take care of, cherish, and repair instead of replace. This paper describes a workshop, which was developed to introduce undergraduate product design students to the area of emotional design and sustainability with particular emphasis on product attachment. The concept of product attachment was introduced by encouraging the students to become more aware of their emotions by discussing how they felt about three personal products: Favourite childhood product, favourite product that they currently own and the product they most desire to own. These products and the benefits that they offered were then discussed in order to identify how design can encourage product attachment.

Keywords: Product attachment, sustainability, emotional design, utilitarian benefits, reflective benefits.


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