Don Norman’s Emotional Design And How You Can Use Them

Team Pepper
Posted on 12/07/226 min read
Don Norman’s Emotional Design And How You Can Use Them
Emotional design is changing the game for several brands. Read on to know how designers can make the most of the concept and establish a strong customer relationship using Don Norman’s Emotional Design Levels.

Table of Contents

● The Brand Perspective

● The Designer Perspective

● Composition of Emotional Design

● How Designs Can Appeal to Customers’ Emotions

Have you ever wondered how consumers have a positive experience with one design and a negative experience with another? According to experts, emotional design as a concept is intended to evoke expressions in users by creating a visceral, behavioral, and reflective design. Brands use emotional designs to develop positive relations with their customers. This article focuses on Don Norman’s emotional design levels.


The Brand Perspective

Emotional branding lays a good foundation for brands. It helps create brand reliability by conceptualizing a strong, long-running, committed, and influential organization formulated to strengthen its bonds with consumers. Increased loyalty is driven by emotional branding thus, leads to more customers and higher sales.


For instance, more TVs (mid-segment products) and cars (high-segment products) are sold because of an emotional reaction to the branding than an advertisement.

The Designer Perspective

As a designer, you center your creatives around clients’ relationships with your products or services. Through your design, your client should be able to meet their objectives as proficiently and effectively as possible.

You additionally should zero in on their reactions, which are normally emotional. As practical as we might think we are, feelings are at the core of how we decipher reality. Positive encounters drive interest. They assist with inspiring us to develop as people. Negative encounters keep us from making the same mistakes.

Similarly, clients associate sentiments with what they experience. The truth is that the emotional branding of an item or service influences its popularity — and that is our main goal.

Composition of Emotional Design

To make a successful product marketing plan, a design needs to function admirably on the three levels: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. This hypothesis was first cited in Don Norman’s Emotional Design-Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things. We elaborate further.

1. Visceral

The visceral or instinctive design evokes a psyche level of response when clients first witness a product. For the most part, it exudes magnificence and showcases quality just by its look and feel during the viewer’s tangible association with the product.


Customers have prompt and solid responses to visceral design. The great visceral design causes customers to feel enchanted and energized.

These emotions do the following for a brand:

● Set a positive setting for each resulting association.

● Allow customers to excuse shortcomings down the line if the underlying experience was predominantly positive.

● Support positive marketing of the product.

2. Behavioral

Behavioral design relates to the convenience of the item, customers’ impressions of how well it facilitates, and how easy it is to understand. An item’s feel and execution make the most significant difference in a behavioral design.

At this level, customers build a firm assessment of the product. You can create a decent behavioral design when you truly know your customers’ requirements.


These emotions do the following for a brand:

● Permit clients to feel strengthened.

● Develop trust and reliability by building a close relationship between a client’s activities and anticipated value.

● Support repeat responses, as individuals are more inclined to experience something again if they liked it the first time.

3. Reflective

This is the last degree of Don Norman’s emotional design, which is concerned with the human capacity to foresee the effect of a product on life after utilizing it. At the reflective level of designing for emotion, customers decipher and comprehend things; they find reason in everything and question themselves.



At this level, designers must build the customer’s need to purchase the item into a design. The reflective design depicts the total impression of an item since customers analyze a product from multiple viewpoints such as utility, inclusion, the importance of the item, etc.

These emotions do the following for a brand:

● Urge clients to share their encounters with other people.

● Inspire a deep satisfaction from utilizing a more satisfactory product than the actual product.

Delight = Visceral + Behavioral + Reflective

Delight (persevering, enduring joy) is at the crossing point of visceral, behavioral, and reflective designs. Designers must comprehend that these emotional responses are not unintentional—they can be developed and made with a human-first design approach that conveys the persevering and receptive worth of the product. This has been widely discussed in Don Norman’s Emotional Design-Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things.


How Designs Can Appeal to Customers’ Emotions

● Design intentionally

A useful design can impact the five senses and bring clients delight, joy, and pleasure. UX/UI thoughts and procedures should be consolidated according to the blend of pleasurable experiences you believe your design should drive.

● Design for the senses

Our instinctive brains have emotional reactions based on the look and feel of an item. Here’s where the brain research of visual language, including symmetry, designs, extent, size, surface, variety, and construction, becomes an integral factor.

Ideas in general, like moderation, essentialism, maximalism, or styles like rare, retro, pop, etc., can create various mindsets relying upon the client segment, orientation, and ages. At last, creators need to investigate these tasteful components and discover that they produce the ideal sensations at first look.

● Add value and functionality

A site that looks great but doesn’t perform well in analytics or runs as expected and neglects to bring any fulfillment, coherence, and repeats customers after the experience, inspires negative feelings and criticism.

These are behavioral and reflective degrees of emotional reactions resulting from UX/UI. Clients feel fulfilled when the design and emotions are visceral, for example, auto-fill, speedy website, menu options, and the technological advancements that make navigation easy.

● Make it personalized

Certain significant touchpoints can leave the client feeling secure if your design establishes a safe climate. This incorporates comfortable navigation, welcoming content, client testimonials, virtual assistants, GIFs, quizzes, emojis, miniature animations, voice help, and everything else that includes a positive certification from the clients. The thought of having harmonious design and emotion is to create a feeling of transparency, community, and solace all at the same time.

● Use technology

Use surveys to check customers’ emotional reactions to the site’s visual appeal, ease of use, and design usability, particularly related to site visit analytics/numbers. Likewise, you can utilize cutting-edge innovations like motion tech/sensors to construct adaptive user interfaces for emotional reaction acknowledgment.

Feeling recognition permits AI to perceive, copy or answer human feelings and achieve assignments, create input, anticipate conduct, or give an assortment of customized services/products in chatbots, Voice Assistants, and others. The further developed the AI, the better will be the UX.

Progressed AI can likewise be applied to assemble information on skip rates, site hits, meeting time/length, and so forth to make a more intuitive and easier to use design that touches all the emotional borders of end customers.

Parting Words

Feelings are how people sort out the world around them. Intuitively, we will try to recreate good memories and stay away from negative ones. Our brains are wired to gain from negative encounters to prevent us from making those mistakes again.

Don Norman’s emotional design levels show us how vital the three types of design are to elicit an emotional reaction from customers and convert them into a loyal following.

Designing for emotion is how a specific advanced product lets clients feel something. It can radically affect the outcome of a web application or a website, and subsequently, impact an organization’s bottom line.

Key Takeaways

● The visceral design incorporates the client’s pre-conscious emotions, the product’s underlying engaging quality, and the client’s general sentiments.

● The behavioral design incorporates ease of use, item capacity, execution, and viability of Reflective design catches the importance of the item, the effect of considerations, the share-ability of the experience, and the social effect.

● Even the cleverest Don Norman emotional design level won’t stay with clients if your establishment is frail.

● To create a positive emotional response, you should have a well-disposed presence in your design to show clients that you know them and understand them.


1. How are emotions and designs related?

Appealing designs that oblige consumers’ needs and sentiments give the impression that they work better. Any feelings your design invokes in clients will influence their buying behavior. And even a minor oversight can set off some unacceptable results.

2. What are the seven elements of design?

● Shape
● Variety
● Space
● Structure
● Line
● Worth
● Surface