Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Our individual experiences, tastes and even personalities can affect the way in which we perceive art and design. But are there any commonalities in the meaning that we perceive in man-made objects?

The DesignData project is a collection of tools and methodologies that can help us explore this question and understand and quantify these more abstract communicative aspects of the design properties of objects.


We are starting with understanding ourselves. We all have different ontologies for how we perceive the world. One of our first experiments is to understand how our different personality traits may affect our preferences for graphic design styles. Help us explore this research question by participating in our online survey (coming soon...).


Another experiment is looking into how we can collect data on our physical perceptions of objects at a larger scale. Traditional design user studies are very time intensive, for both the participants and the researchers, and while this method can give us great in-depth qualitative feedback on the design stimuli being tested, it is hard to gather the large amount of data needed to form any generalisable conclusions in this very subjective field of design perception.

The DesignData machine is a tool that we can use to automate this design perception user study process. Building on research carried out in the EmotiveModeler project that looked into how we could ‘decode’ our emotive perception of forms, the DesignData tool allows researchers to automatically present study participants with comparisons of design samples and quickly collect large sets of data about their perception of different design attributes.