Aspiration and dreams

“ANTONELLA is an attractive 28-year old woman who lives in Rome. Her life is focused on friends and fun, clubbing and parties.

She is also completely imaginary.

But her influence is definitely real. It is evident in the design of the Ford Fiesta, on sale in Europe now and arriving in the United States next summer as a 2011 model.

Antonella was the guiding personality for the Ford Verve, a design study that served as the basis for the latest-generation Fiesta. A character invented by Ford designers to help them imagine cars better tailored to their intended customers, she embodies a philosophy that guides the company’s design studios these days: to design the car, first design the driver.

[snip]

Using psychological archetypes and patterns is more important when designing for younger people, Mr. Callum said. Some younger buyers invest less emotion in their vehicles than their elders did. “This can be hard for us to understand.”

Ford’s involvement with the technique can be traced to 2002, said Mr. Yalman, when Daniel Kahneman, a cognitive psychologist and behavioral economist who taught at Princeton and other universities, shared the Nobel in economic science.

“What this thinking suggested to us is that emotion played a much larger role than we thought,” Mr. Yalman said.

[snip]

“We had done lots of models based on rationality, but now we are recognizing that emotions play a much more dominant role than we ever admitted,” Mr. Yalman said. “In buying a car, you have to fall in love.”

He added: “We now focus quite a bit on aspirations and dreams.”

These can be embodied in products. “Think of someone who has a really high-end parka in which you could climb Mount Everest. But the person only wears it on the train to work.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/automobiles/19design.html

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