The emotive power of car design

car designWhat is the influence of car design for the value of a car brand? How do human beings respond to ‘beautiful’ design? And even more important: how do we messure this influence? Volvo decided to research these questions. Turns out: Car design can tangibly evoke a powerful emotional reaction in humans, particularly men.

The experiment was conducted to coincide with the launch of the Volvo Concept Coupé. This car is the first of Volvo’s expressive interpretation of a new design strategy aimed at building a more emotive connection with the brand. Participants were asked to rate a series of images whilst wearing an EEG headset that measured brainwave activity. The images included the Volvo Concept Coupé, older car designs, pictures of happy and crying babies as well as male and female models.

car designAccording to Volvo, data from the experiment proved that humans react emotionally to the shape of a car, with men in particular. Especially a sleek design with beautiful lines. Besides, the heatmap indicates most men’s belief that the car’s front is the most attractive feature.

Other findings among the study:

  • Men experienced more emotion whilst looking at images of beautiful car design than they did whilst looking at an image of a crying child
  • Women displayed an emotional intensity to the picture of a crying baby which almost doubled that of male participants
  • 74 percent of men claimed that good design made them feel positive
  • Only 33 percent of women rated images of car design higher than an image of an attractive man
  • 60 percent of men claimed that driving a beautiful car makes them feel confident and empowered

Volvo Cars senior vice president of design Thomas Ingenlath said the survey proves what has been long suspected.“Beautiful car design can elicit strong emotional responses ranging from a positive frame of mind to a sense of empowerment,” Ingenlath said.

What do you think? Is an EEG scan enough and reliable to make such statements? Or, what kind of research can we add to accomplish even more valuable facts about the influence of car design?

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