How images make you feel matters. Aesthetic qualities like color palette and line texture arouse responses in us all. They do not convey any particular message content, yet sometimes they excite more meaning than a detailed body of text. A striking flash attracts attention, certainly. But the emotion of great work can also help us transcend the everyday by causing us to reconsider what the experience of life itself can be.

Some disparage ornamental qualities as frivolous. To them, style is merely superficial. The arts are called soft in contrast to science and technology; those are hard. We do not analyze and decompose aesthetics in the same way as we do the world of machines, and that somehow makes emotional design less intellectual. How artists accomplish their effect eludes us, and so their effort is trivialized.

Emotions are real. Chemical hormones excite and calm us. Like a step function or phase change, an emotional impulse that lasts for only moments can permanently alter how we feel and see the world.

Yet we cannot program a computer to spit out perfect emotional design as we can automatically lay out a scatter plot. As I mature as a creator, I have understood that this is cause for celebration. Emotional communication is a fascinating frontier because we humans are the ones uniquely equipped to explore it.

I find myself thinking about emotional perspective shifts more and more. To be honest, they cannot be cataloged in a neat framework, like other ...

Get Info We Trust now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.