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What is Emotional Design? Discover How It Helps Engage Your Audience

by Alice Jackson Tweet - in Graphic Design

Emotional Design

Last updated on January 24th, 2024

Have you ever encountered a design that instantly drew you in? I bet you must have. This is how powerful an emotional design can be. This design concept has been around for years, but its importance has recently been recognized by businesses to draw the eyeballs of their audience instantly. Such designs are created keeping in mind the people’s emotions. In simple terms, they feature emotional design tactic that works as an ultimate marketing arsenal for brands to attract and engage audiences immediately.

This article will discuss emotional design and how to use it to engage prospects or customers.

Are you a designer, marketer, or business owner tired of creating great designs but failing to leave a lasting impression on your target audience?

If it’s so, you must consider creating emotional designs. Such designs will help you tap into your audience’s emotions, fostering emotional intimacy.

So let’s discover what emotional design is all about and it helps engage the audience.

Understanding Emotional Design: An Overview

Emotional design is a design strategy that seeks to create experiences or products to trigger a positive psychological response in consumers. This helps brands build a relationship between the two — the product and its consumer. The visual elements that are used in such products work as a catalyst.

As and when consumers encounter such products, their mind starts responding to certain emotions like calmness, happiness, etc. Once the feelings have been triggered, it starts influencing the buying decisions.

Primarily, an emotional design creates an experience beyond functionality. And this experience is what resonates deeply with the user. Simply put, it refers to laying emphasis not only on the design aesthetics but also on the sensory elements, including motion, sound, and texture.

Understanding Emotional Design

As a designer, you can apply emotional design techniques to various contexts, including websites, applications, products, custom clothings, and beyond.

The main objective of such a design is to encourage positive emotional responses, triggering a sense of satisfaction. And when there is satisfaction, there is brand loyalty and engagement.

The emotional design also helps differentiate products/experiences from others. It can significantly impact user behavior, like retention, conversion rates, and word-of-mouth endorsements.

Significance of Emotional Design In Customer Engagement

Because it builds an emotional bond between the user and the product or experience, emotive design is essential for engaging audiences.

Researches show that when users feel more connected to a product/ experience, they’re more likely to interact with it, remember it, and even share it with colleagues and friends. It is because emotions play a crucial role in shaping human behavior and decision-making. Emotions often encourage consumers to repeatedly use a particular product or return to a specific brand.

Customer Engagement

Also, it works as a differentiator in competitive markets where more than the functionality of a product is needed to engage the target audience. But with intelligent design elements like shape, color, sound, and texture, it can create a memorable experience. This experience renders a positive feeling which compels the audience to take a desired action, such as signing up, purchasing a product, or sharing with others.

We Can Sum It Up In Three-Pointers:

  • Boosts User Experience
  • Helps to Create User Loyalty
  • Helps to Increase Conversion Rates

Here Are The Key Elements of Emotional Design:

  1. Color: Color invokes various emotions and moods. Thus, it has a significant role to play in emotional design. Each color carries a specific meaning; for example, blue represents reliability and trust. You can use the psychological associations of colors to trigger different emotional responses in your target audience.
  2. Shape: Shapes can also trigger emotional responses. For example, seeing angular shapes can make us uncomfortable, causing a sense of stress, while curved shapes generate a sense of relaxation and comfort.
  3. Texture: It can cause a tactual sensation. You can use texture to invoke feelings of comfort as well as luxury. And for distinction and visual interest, you can use different textures.
  4. Sound: Sound evokes moods, associations, and memories. Soulful music, melodic tunes, etc., can be used for an enhanced user experience. Pleasurable sounds create a more immersive experience.
  5. Motion: Motion is perfect for creating excitement. Using animations and transitions helps users know more about a product, making it more enjoyable and engaging for them.
  6. Typography: Like any other element, typography conveys various emotions and moods. It does it by applying font sizes, styles, and spacing. Emotions vary according to the font style, such as a subtle script exhibiting a sense of elegance, while a bold font creates a sense of strength.

Emotional Design Case Studies of Famous Brands

There are many famous brands out there known for using emotional design. They have created products and experiences to connect with the target audience on a higher level.

Here Are Some Examples and Case Studies of Brands Leveraging Emotional Design

01. Apple

What emotions trigger when you look at Apple’s logo design? Apple is the best example of capturing the essence of emotional design. Whenever you buy an Apple product, you feel exhilarated.

Apple logo

02. Nike

Nike is yet another example of brands leveraging emotional design to attract the audience. Their core messaging conveys the idea of empowering sports personnel to excel in their respective fields. The brand’s visual design strengthens this messaging with bold colors, encouraging imagery, and dynamic shapes.


The products and its emotive design tactic also feature in its promotional campaigns. The brand uses emotional storytelling to resonate with its customers.

03. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is worth mentioning if you need a classic example of such a design practice. Its logo design, along with other materials, showcases the color scheme — red and white.


As far as its marketing strategy is concerned, it exhibits a feeling of happiness, closeness, and joy. The emotional design practice of this brand has helped it become a global brand.

04. Airbnb

Airbnb is a worldwide name that has disrupted the whole travel industry. Its visual design portrays a feeling of ‘belongingness .’Often, its visual design features various images showcasing people enjoying their stay (experience) and warm colors.


Its design strategy is reflected through its user interface as well. It evokes a feeling of comfort and trust. Engaging with users on a sentimental level has helped Airbnb to form a loyal audience base.

How You Can Implement Emotional Design:

A. Understand Your Audience

Knowing your consumers’ expectations, values, and intentions is vital to developing an emotional connection with them. Utilizing user research tools to precisely understand your target audience’s demographics, behavioral patterns, and preferences becomes an invaluable asset. Carrying out thorough user research gives you actionable insights that enable you to tailor your approach and offerings to meet their specific needs.

Understand Your Audience

Then, use the gained insight to tailor your emotional design strategy to your target audience’s specific needs.

B. Consistency is Key

Maintaining a balance across all various touch points is critical for developing a lasting emotional connection with your target market. Visual design, communications, voice style, and user experience are all part of this. In addition, uniformity encourages a sense of trust and familiarity, which can boost the emotional bond between your company and its target audience.

Consistency is Key

C. Use Suitable Elements For Emotional Design

Select sentimental design elements that relate to your company’s values and the emotional responses you want to induce in your audience. Use vibrant colors, interactive shapes, and striking typography to evoke thrill and excitement. Use color-blocking, soft textures, and realistic graphics to create a feeling of peace and serenity.

Suitable Elements For Emotional Design

D. Keep It Simple

The core objective of a brand’s product or experience should be kept untouched by emotional design. Avoid visual chaos that might deviate people from the sentimental connection you’re trying to make. Regarding emotional design, remember that minimalism is the best practice.

Keep It Simple

E. Test and Iterate

Like any other design strategy, testing and iteration are required in emotional design. It ensures effectiveness that you can tap into with ease. One of the best ways to test its efficacy is by implementing A/B testing.

Test and Iterate

Using this method, you can parallelly compare various design elements. It will help you see which suits your audience and purpose the best. Then, refine your strategy using feedback and analytics. Once done, optimize it for greater engagement and impact.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1-855-699-2851 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation


Emotional design is an effective tool for creating products and services that connect powerfully with customers. As a designer, you can engage emotionally with people by combining various design elements like color, form, texture, sound, movement, and typography. This improves user experience and stimulates positive emotional responses. It also helps build strong brand identities, loyalty, and trust. The impactful emotional concept involves understanding the psychological connections and affective responses pertaining to different design aspects. You can create more meaningful and successful user experiences by using emotional design.

Alice Jackson is a business consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer and an avid author at Designhill. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, startup strategies and e-commerce. When she’s not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels, Connect with her on Twitter: @jackson_alice1



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