Design aesthetics: Principles of pleasure in design

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In this paper I propose that only part of our experience of events, and products in particular, should be coined aesthetic. This part, the aesthetic experience, is restricted to the (dis)pleasure that results from sensory perception. The main part of the paper is devoted to explaining why we experience certain things as gratifying to our senses. Following thinking in evolutionary psychology, it is argued that we aesthetically prefer environmental patterns and features that are beneficial for the development of the senses’ functioning and our survival in general. Four general principles of aesthetic pleasure, operating across the senses, can be explained on the basis of such argumentation: (1) maximum effect for minimum means, (2) unity in variety, (3) most advanced, yet acceptable, and (4) optimal match.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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