Experiential characterization of materials in product design: A literature review

Lore Veelaert*, Els Du Bois, Ingrid Moons, Elvin Karana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


Driven by the competitive market that product designers face today, a growing interest emerges in exploring experiential material qualities to enhance product experience. The maturing of the research area calls for standardization to evolve to more streamlined and systematic approaches to conduct characterization experiments. To this aim, we conducted a literature review on 64 cases of experiential characterization studies in the materials and design domain. In this paper, we summarize the current state of the art, formulate an overview to facilitate systematic studies to explore experiential qualities of materials, and identify gaps or opportunities for further research. The presented learnings shed light on the following aspects used in materials experience studies: (i) variables, (ii) stimuli, (iii) interaction modalities, (iv) experimental set-up, (v) methods employed in the conducted studies, and (vi) respondents. Two important gaps were identified with regard to the physical material representations in an abstract form as a critical element for multimodal material characterization experiments, and to an integration of extensive user aspects beyond demographic variables to facilitate consumer segmentation. Additional future research suggestions were formulated, concerning within-material-class comparisons, complementary methods and experimental set-up, and the temporality of materials experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108543
Pages (from-to)16
JournalMaterials and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Experiential characterization
  • Materials and design
  • Materials experience
  • Product design


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