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Visceral design in our bathroom May 21, 2009

Posted by Levi in Observing.

I bet you can guess what of these shavers and toothbrushes belong to me or my wife just by observing their size, color, and appearance.

Visceral design

Don Norman says in his famous book Emotional Design (p. 69):

[…] Visceral design is all about immediate emotional impact. It has to feel good, look good. Sensuality and sexuality play roles. This is a major role of “point of presence” displays in stores, in brochures, in advertisements, and in other enticements that emphasize appearance. These may be a store’s only chance of getting the customer, for many a product is purchased on looks alone. Similarly, otherwise highly rated products may be turned down if they do not appeal to the aesthetic sense of the potential buyer.



1. Incognito Ainur - May 22, 2009

Just happened to pass by your blog…I can certainly tell which is yours and your wife’s…but why is that? I mean, why is pink stereotypically associated with women and not men? hmmmm…

Levi - May 22, 2009

Hi Carmellia, thanks for visiting my blog!

Regarding your question, all I can tell you for sure is that there’s a strong cultural influence here. Another example is the color associated with death: in western cultures it is often black, while in some asian cultures it is white.

Don Norman defines those cultural conventions as occurring at the reflective level of our mind. He says (Emotional Design, p. 87):

These questions are all cultural. There is nothing practical, nothing biological, about the answers. The answers are conventions, learned in whatever society you inhabit. For some of you, the answers will be obvious; for others, the questions will not even make sense. That is the essence of reflective design: it is all in the mind of the beholder.

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