Exploring the reflective and utilitarian benefits of product attachment

Mary Maclachlan, David K. Harrison, Bruce Wood

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


With heightened environmental concern and the recent global economic crisis a new challenge has emerged for design; to take a more responsible role and tackle sustainability more innovatively. Not only do designers of the future need to be aware of common sustainable design thinking they should also be aware of more innovative approaches, such as, how to emotionally connect with the consumer and design products that consumers want to take care of, cherish, and repair instead of replace. This paper describes a workshop, which was developed to introduce undergraduate product design students to the area of emotional design and sustainability with particular emphasis on product attachment. The concept of product attachment was introduced by encouraging the students to become more aware of their emotions by discussing how they felt about three personal products: Favourite childhood product, favourite product that they currently own and the product they most desire to own. These products and the benefits that they offered were then discussed in order to identify how design can encourage product attachment.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Event17th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 09) - Palo Alto, United States
Duration: 24 Aug 200927 Aug 2009


Conference17th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 09)
Abbreviated titleICED 09
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPalo Alto


  • utilitarian benefits
  • sustainability
  • emotional design
  • product attachment
  • reflective benefits


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