The role of emotion in design reflection

D.K. Hammer, I.M.M.J. Reymen

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    Reflection on design processes performed by designers is called design reflection. In our view, this kind of reflection aims at answering essential questions like “Is my design answering the stakeholder concerns?”, “Am I solving the essential problems or am I wasting time on irrelevant aspects?”, “Does the result feel satisfactory or are further iterations necessary?”, “Does my design obey the rules of conceptual integrity and aesthetics?”, and “Is my design process appropriate for the problem?”. Design reflection is important since it can improve the design process and the product being designed (Reymen, 2001). It can also help the designers to learn from their experiences, i.e. their thoughts and feelings, and to improve their professional capabilities. Recent design research recognised the need for stimulating reflection, including the development of supporting methods (Badke-Schaub et al., 1999; Reymen, 2001; Schön, 1983; and Valkenburg, 2000). Reflection is, however, often interpreted as evaluating the design rationally, giving no explicit place for emotions. For answering the questions mentioned above, we state that both feelings and thoughts are important. We advocate a balanced approach in which both rationality and emotions play a role. The underlying idea is that we hope that balanced answers to essential questions lead to balanced design decisions and to a balanced design process. The goal of this paper is to explore the possibilities of letting emotions play a role in design related reflection processes. The exploration is partially based on our experiences with a method that supports reflection on design processes; a description and discussion of the method can be found in (Reymen, 2001). This paper introduces the concepts emotion, reflection, and design reflection and with exploring their relations. Based on these insights, the paper continues with describing a prescriptive model of a reflection process in which emotions of designers and stakeholders play an important role.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDesign and emotion: The Experience of Everyday Things
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd international conference on design and emotion. July 1-3 2002, Loughborough, UK
    EditorsDeana Mcdonagh, Paul Hekkert, Jeroen Van Erp, Diane Gyi
    Place of PublicationLondon, UK
    PublisherTaylor & Francis
    Number of pages456
    ISBN (Print)0-415-30363-X
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003
    Event3rd International Conference on Design & Emotion 2002 - Loughborough, United Kingdom
    Duration: 1 Jul 20023 Jul 2002
    Conference number: 3


    Conference3rd International Conference on Design & Emotion 2002
    CountryUnited Kingdom


    • IR-58076
    • METIS-206390


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