In design research perceptual features of a design such as unity-in-variety as well as conceptual properties (whether the design is a good instantiation of designer's intentions) have been found to affect the aesthetic experience independently. In the course of a research design using systematic manipulations of USB stick designs in three subsequent phases, we have been able to formally relate these distinct dimensions, after having assessed optimal levels for them separately. We have found that both conceptual and perceptual features impact on aesthetic liking, but the perceptual dimension is more decisive. We also encountered a positive interaction, indicating that effects of dimensions are interdependent to an extent.

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Delft University of Technology

Berghman, M., Cila, N., & Hekkert, P. (2014). The combined effect of perceptual and conceptual dimensions on product design aesthetics. In Proceedings of the 23rd biennial congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (pp. 89–94). Retrieved from