TBP’s 20th anniversary: the design research diaries 1993-2013 (Entry 4)


Entry four of fifteen, and today we are discussing the importance of harnessing the power of emotional ergonomics.

It’s now only 15 days until our 20th anniversary. To mark the occasion we’ve opened up our vaults to share our insights and musings on design and design research. Here’s our fourth instalment – enjoy.

Entry 4 of 15: Harness the power of emotional ergonomics



There we were, sitting in a woman’s kitchen, talking to her about her love for Marmite. She was holding her jar, and as she talked about how she eats her favourite spread – she was stroking the pot.

In this era of digital marketing, of ‘Liking’ brands, downloading their apps, conversing with them on Twitter – have we forgotten the power of the humble pack?

Imagine you’re holding a bottle of Coca-Cola. The shape arcs to your palm. A texture bobbles under your fingertips. Now you’re unscrewing the rigid-feeling cap, and you hear the ‘fizz!’ as it opens.

This is the power of emotional ergonomics – sensations, textures, and sounds that unlock engagement. Indeed this kind of engagement connects in a deep, fundamentally human way. In a world where most marketing is intangible ephemera, the pack is often the only place that consumers can physically touch your brand – building value and ownability into the brand experience.

Used right, it’ll mean consumers get close enough to your brand to really engage with it. It builds an affinity that goes beyond ‘Like’ – it’s love.

By Stuart Chapman