Warm Gun: Designing for Emotion

by Luke Wroblewski December 2, 2011

In his Designing for Emotion: Sex, Love, & Violence presentation at the Warm Gun Design Conference in San Francisco, CA Dave McClure walked through several ways to create emotion in people that can be applied to product design.

  • Be different, take risk: when you are small, you have nothing to loose so try new things. Don’t be afraid to piss people off. Hate or love is ok. No reaction is not. You can’t build around indifference. Love and hate both provide signal –you can test from that. Without a reaction, you can’t learn.
  • Stand for something: if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing. Represent a single word or emotion. Aim for the moon, land on the roof.
  • Tap into humanity: fear, sex, power, family, anger. Check out Geoffrey Miller’s books on natural selection and why people invest time in making themselves look good. Signal theory can be applied to consumer marketing to take advantage of carnal motivators that influence how we behave.
  • Be a hero or a villain: who do you admire and want to be, who do you despise? Being a hero is fun but being a villain can be more fun.
  • Pictures, text, music say more: say 1,000 words with an awesome picture, three powerful words or a few sentences, 30 sec. meaningful movie or video.
  • When it works double down: once you get signal, try iteration and repetition. Once you get repetition, try variation.
  • Be yourself: your super-self. What can you be authentic about and comfortable with? Find an essence that you think is you and amplify it. Find a feeling or emotion that you can sustain.
  • We are in a renaissance for design, start-ups, and tech. There has been a huge resurgence in design for products and in company founders.
  • If we tap into emotion, we can impact behavior. There are risks with that. People can react in ways that you can’t control. If competitors copy your brand/emotion –can you out iterate them?