Usually, companies are trying to evoke positive emotions with their product and packaging design. However, when it concerns health issues and government could have a (opposed) hand in the design, sometimes designing for negative emotions is required. This British design student case for cigarette packaging shows just how to do that.
This new packaging concept for cigarettes from recent UK design graduates Jennifer Noon and Sarah Shaw is in response to the British government’s controversial proposal for plain packaging, which purports that bland and generic cigarette packages devoid of company logos or art would make health warnings more prominent. (Which is not to say that labels wouldn’t work.) (Source: Core 77)
BRIEF Australia has attracted a lot of press attention in recent months on cigarette packaging. The British government are considering introducing plain packaging to the UK. Here is the response.
RESPONSE The main aim was to change the structure of the pack making it less ergonomic. The pack was developed to be difficult to use and carry. For the warning imagery focusing on aspects which would appeal to the users vanity
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If you like to turn things around and learn a bit more about how you can use negative emotions to design for more pleasurable and richer experiences, you should check out Steven Fokkinga’s research. He states that:
…in life people have many experiences that involve negative emotions, but which are nonetheless engaging and even enjoyable. Furthermore, these experiences are not enjoyable despite the involvement of negative emotions, but rather because of them.
His paper ‘The Dark Side of Enjoyment’ was a real hit at the last Design and Emotion Conference in Chicago, as it shows an interesting, uncommon yet practical approach. He proposesÂ four basic benefits of negative emotions: negative emotions (A) empower for action, (B) signify intriguing boundaries, (C) intensify achievement, and (D) enable contemplation. His paper will soon be available in the online library of the Design & Emotion Society website (launch September 1st).