Call to action

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”. – A quote by Anna Lappe, author, and educator. She is known as an expert on food systems and sustainable food production. [1]

So thinking about “The call to action” for my campaign, I had to define what each consumer can do to support people in digital labor employments. How can consumers be a part of a change in the system? Money for sure is an option, but the idea that we as a society have to jump in financially is just not vindicated and would support the corrupt manner those companies live by.  Nothing less than a change in the system is needed, so companies have to follow certain standards, nevertheless they are selling a service online or offline. 

So telling people not to order from companies like Amazon or food delivery services might be a solution, but people also want to support their favorite restaurants during the pandemic or are forced to order stuff online because of lockdowns. Also, real people depend on the jobs, so stop consuming these services might not be the solution. 

So for the call to action, I came up with the idea of an online petition, people can sign and participate. In exchange for taking part and supporting full standards for digital labor, participants receive a sticker that they can put on their doors. As the “door” itself is a metaphor for closed opportunities, the sicker is a sign of opening up and supporting the delivery drivers. 

With the claim – I am open for change (+QR Code) – the sicker shows that people are aware of the worker’s situation and support them. 


My own emotional branding case – Part 2

For my own emotional branding case, I decided to create an idea of a campaign for bringing the often harsh working conditions for employees of digital labor into the spotlight.

There are different kinds of digital labor, but I decided to focus on the often tough working conditions for delivery drivers. During the pandemic, people all over the world depended on their service, but still, they have not received the appreciation they deserve for their commitment especially in times like this. 

Due to the fact that the concept of digital labor is still new, a lot of companies that operate in the field try to find loopholes to save money on the costs of employing somebody. Therefore a lot of these workers aren’t fully ensured and often have to take care of their working gadgets, like transportation on their own.  

As a symbol of opportunity, the door is in the spotlight of my campaign. Delivery guys run the whole day from door to door, hand over packages or food deliveries. But those doors just open up just for a short moment to transfer goods. The same metaphor is used for the “door” to fair working conditions, and to receive a salary so people are able to make a living out of it. 

Pictures from

Joyful Design

Speaking of an extended product life cycle through joyful design in my last blogposts, we come to another important aspect that can enhance a products life: designing for prolonged pleasure.

The research paper “Enjoying Joy: A Process-Based Approach to Design for Prolonged Pleasure” by Anna E. Pohlmeyer deals on how to sustain and optimize positive emotions derived from a positive experience.

It is a fact that initial emotions fade over time because people eventually adapt to changes. This phenomenon of reduced affective intensity is called hedonic adaptation. Hedonic adaption can lead people to constantly desire something new without reaching lasting satisfaction—which is a huge problem of our “throw-away-society”. 

Design for savoring
According to Pohlmeyer there is an approach of designing joyful experiences called “design for savoring”. Design for savoring is not only about providing pleasurable experiences, but it is also about optimizing these by appreciating the enjoyment. As a result, positive emotions of a given positive event can be increased in intensity and duration. Pohlmeyer also stated that savoring positive experiences can be understood as the counterpart of coping with negative experiences. However, design for savoring is less a matter of how experiences are designed, but rather of how a person deals with the resulting emotional experience. Savoring up-regulates positive emotions in order to extract an optimum level of positive emotions from an event and has been shown to counteract hedonic adaptation—the tendency of us mere humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness—and contribute to people’s well-being. Therefore, design for savoring, especially is a promising concept to consider in UX. [1]

Intensifying and Prolonging Positive Emotional Experiences through Design
Speaking of design for savoring, the question on what can be done to intensify positive emotional experiences raises. According to Nélies [2] there are four broad categories of savoring strategies:

a) behavioral display of positive emotions
b) focusing attention on the present moment
c) capitalizing, i.e. sharing with others,
d) positive mental time travel, i.e. vividly anticipating or remembering positive events.

These thoughts and behaviors have been shown to favorably affect the intensity and duration of positive feelings, which means that they can serve as valuable guides in design.

“Similarly, reliving an experience and the associated emotions in memory – be it a nostalgic recollection of the good old days or realizing what a loyal companion one’s laptop has been – reinforces pleasure efficiently and effectively. In this vein, it is also noteworthy to mention that positive emotional experiences can be enhanced not only in the moment but also in prospect and retrospect, e.g. by sharing with others. Hence, by looking into the underlying processes of experiencing pleasure, opportunities arise to proactively design for longer-term and enhanced positive experiences.” —Pohlmeyer

It is obvious that how we look at and interpret our world, hence, what we devote our attention to, affects our experiences and our well-being. When designing for joyful experiences it is therefore crucial to direct attention to the positive and to consider how positive emotions can be prolonged by increasing the intensity and duration of pleasure derived from positive experiences, rather than striving for a fast-paced consumption behavior of constant novelty seeking. [3]


[1] Nélis, D., Quoidbach, J., Hansenne, M., and Mikolajczak, M. Measuring individual differences in emotion regulation: The Emotion Regulation Profile- Revised (ERP-R). Psychologica Belgica, 51 (2011)49- 91.

[2] Pohlmeyer, Anna E.: Enjoying Joy. A Process-Based Approach to Design for Prolonged Pleasure. Helsinki. 2014

[3] ebda.

My own emotional branding case – Part 1

After researching the different aspects of emotion in design and branding, I take the next step and decide to create my own fictional case. For that, I took some time and started to look for a brand or organization that could take the role of the client for my campaign. Because of my interest in politics and social issues, I decided to inform myself about digital labour and new ways of work. Through the United Nations website, I found out about the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which understands itself as an intersection between governments, employers and workers. It consists out of 187 member states and promotes new standards for labour and respectable working conditions.

The ILO uses its platform to raise awareness for a diverse field of different problems, like digital labor platforms and how workers are treated. Digital apps like Uber or Liferando seem to have failed when it comes to worker’s rights and protection. The delivery drivers are treated as independent contractors, with no social benefits like pension coverage, health, or insurance plans. Due to the pandemic, the problems of those delivery drivers became even worse. Especially the situation in emerging countries continues to be tough and no safety measures to prevent a covid infection are taken. I think it is important to raise awareness of this topic and to support the IOL in their strive for better working conditions.


A new generation of consumers

While emotional branding and the “tribe” that comes with it worked for previous generations, the GenZ seems to be different. Generation Z is born between 1997-2015 and is the first fully grown digital generation. Therefore their personal expression differs from previous generations. The digital self comes to the fore. Regarding consumption habits, GenZ tends to be more aware of environmental and social issues. Second-hand shopping and renting mobility devices are more common than the desire of calling certain products their own. Studies show that a majority of this generation thinks that companies have a social and environmental responsibility, so they are more likely to choose brands that are aware of these issues and set actions. GenZ also searches for individuality, when it comes to consumption. Their own individual identity is at the center of their decisions. So they reach for brands that underline that individual expression. 

In the future, it will be much more important that brands get active and become aware of their actions and responsibilities, and do their part. Through the possibility of access to information it will get easier for consumers to recognized inauthenticity in a brand’s behavior and actions, so to stay or become relevant brands need to deal with these topics. 



What is emotional branding?

Brands use emotional branding to create a connection between the brand and the consumer by using emotions in a specific way. Advertisers try to generate content that can be triggered by a consumer’s personality, needs, goals, or experiences. It also describes a supportive tool in marketing that is used to strengthen a brand’s perception. It helps to support the brand’s identity and public image. In a world, with global competitors, it’s important for brands to deliver an individual language and gain the trust of the consumer. Emotional branding gives the brand a character and makes it possible to pull clear from competitors. The goal is to create full brand loyalty towards the consumer. 

BBC-story-works did research on the topic of emotional branding. In “The science of memory” the researchers describe how brands can create big moments in advertising that can manifest themselves in the consumer’s long-term memory. The study proves that if very personal stories or experiences of a protagonist in advertisements are promoted, the consumer connects these emotions to the brand. Especially if the issues portrayed are somehow relevant for the individual consumer. 

Emotional branding is an important tool not only for the brand’s image itself but also for a new generation of consumers, that tend to be more interested in a brand’s social and environmental attitude than generations before. 


Next Step: Building an Emotional Connection?

More and more waste is created all over the world from products that are replaced in shorter time periods. People tend to use certain products only for a minimum time, even though they still work perfectly fine. Some of the things land right in the garbage can others are placed in boxes or drawers. In these things lies a huge potential. The user is committed to the product but lost the emotional connection to it. This means that the product can still gain the attention of the owner/user back. Designers can help to support building this emotional relation from a product to the user. The goal is that people keep their products to extend the time of active usage. We know how to create and construct things that last for many years but how can we activate people to use their products longer and therefore extend the lifetime of a product? As designers, we can help to create emotions and boost the relationship between the consumer and the product/service. For the field of communication design, it’s important to detect the upcoming problems the world is facing and to find creatives ways to communicate them. 

Climate Crisis Foto: (Jonathan Nackstrand) / AFP
Child Poverty (
Global Pandemic (Picture alliance/ZUMA Press)
Organization: Moms Demand Action (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Emotion in advertising

When it comes to emotion in advertising many people tend to think that this is all about making an unspectacular product more interesting or trying to sell a certain feeling connected to a product. But on a scientific level, it is more complex, than most people are aware of. In a world of globalized mass production, consumer decisions are more and more based on various criteria. Measuring emotional design and how it creates awareness for a certain topic is much harder to capture. 

When we think of emotions in advertising, we mostly associate good feelings and moods. But emotions in design are not always positive. The strongest emotions humans can detect are negative feelings like disgust, anger, fear, or sadness. If this information is not helpful to advertise a brand’s product it can help to raise awareness for issues like climate change, poverty, gender equality, or health issues. Most advertisers are following this approach because the institute of practitioners in advertising found out that when an ad is successful on an emotional level it is likely to double results on sales. Furthermore, depending on the topic, it can also lead to a wide discourse on social, environmental, or ethical problems and create awareness. The specific use of emotions in ads is also studied by scientific researchers. Ads based on emotions can lead to a more deeper and durable indentation on the memory center of the brain. For this research, marketers are using methods like facial coding, implicit response testing, eye tracking, and MRI. 

Charitywater Campaign
 New Ark Mission of India
Colin Kaepernick for Nike
Moms demand action

Emotional Sustainability

Emotional sustainability deals with the emotionally triggered part of a product/service or campaign, while physical sustainability describes the durability, functionality, and material usage of a certain product or service. As humans act individually it’s important for creators to generate products and services that assemble both aspects of design. Emotional sustainability describes the “human-centered component of design”. This difference is crucial when it comes to recycling a product. It’s not only about the material that is used, but also about the emotional component of the product or service. If a product or service can combine both aspects, emotional and physical sustainability it is more steady in it is design proposal and result. Emotional sustainability is also connected to a “supra-functional” approach. That means that a product/service is also emotional, cultural, and socially conscious. Emotional sustainability creates a more meaningful design approach that is crucial in a time where user awareness and sustainability are mandatory.

Nudging / Persuasive Design

The principles of persuasive design are grounded in psychology and sociology. This way of influence works not only in user interface designs or commercials but also in ethical questions. Persuasive design is based on human habits and actions, offering a guide to the way in which people act. This guidance is applied in many different design disciplines, to bring users to a certain goal, which has to always indicate goodwill, not making them do something they won’t do. Examples of positive nudging are the reduction of animal-based food, engaging people to do sports, or guiding people to reduce or stop smoking. The nudging theory is based on cognitive biases, motivation, and a positive drive. Nudges are generally described as cost-efficient actions, that still leave the user to their freedom of choice but indicates an influenced push into a certain direction. 

Next to all the positive effects nudging and persuasive design can achieve, it’s also easily possible to turn the principle around and influence consumers in a negative and unethical way. This is the case if the nudge won’t give the user/consumer the freedom of choice or influence to do something that’s negative. An example of a negative nudge is the candy bar near the cash register in every supermarket. It influences people to buy unhealthy snacks last minute, so most of the time they can’t rethink their choice and make an unplanned purchase. In this case, the nudge is negative for the consumer, but positive for the providing company. 

To avoid misuse it’s important that the indicator of the nudge keeps a transparent role. As nudging or persuasive design has positive and negative effects it’s always important as a designer to reflect on who the nudge will target and what the outcome will be.

Example of a positive nudge – Piano Staircase, an initiative of Volkswagen (2011)