Summary of Emotional Design

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Emotional Design book summary


8 Overall

6 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Understanding the emotions consumers feel about the objects you sell can help your business make the most of its product designs. Expert Donald Norman explains how being attractive, fun and enjoyable makes a product better. He explains that the emotions which affect purchase decisions are based on three aspects of design: "visceral" (appearance), "behavioral" (performance) and "reflective" (memories and experiences). He provides interesting case studies to show how objects evoke emotions. Norman’s central theme is that "attractive things work better." And, the book works best when he hews to that theme; the last section, where he veers into a discussion of robots, doesn’t seem as pertinent or as strong. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone who wants to understand how design affects emotions, and how emotions affect purchasing decisions.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How emotion affects consumers’ product purchases; and
  • How product design evokes emotional reactions that influence buying behavior.

About the Author

Donald A. Norman, a cognitive scientist, has written many books including the popular The Design of Everyday Things. He is a consultant, a professor of computer science at Northwestern University and a frequent public speaker.



Little Teapots
Author Donald Norman loves his three nearly unusable teapots. Each one has an odd feature or design that draws him to it like a piece of art. He loves to show the teapots to guests and tell their stories. They are his leading examples of how objects evoke emotions and become...

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