There are many studies which prove particular design strategies are useful in creating emotional attachment to products.
Product personalisation is one way to effect emotional bonding and attachment. Mugge et al., (2009, p.468) explain that “integrating the consumer in the design process” through creativity is a pleasurable and useful way to elicit emotional attachment, because consumers invest time and mental effort to express their individuality and attach value to that investment. Not only can consumers “communicate a personal [and visible] identity” to others, but they can also feel “a sense of accomplishment” (Mugge et al., 2009, p.469-472). The conclusion from the study on personalised bicycles shows that creative mental effort produces more attachment than physical or functional effort.
Another way that consumers emotionally bond to products is explored by Hung and Chen’s extensive study of chairs. The “results indicate that…trendiness…has the greatest influence on novelty” (Hung et al., 2012, p.89) and that “chairs perceived to be most beautiful were those with a moderate level of novelty” (Hung et al., 2012, p.81), establishing that a visceral connection is derived from combining a familiarity of form with some perceived stylishness (fashion and popularity).
Both of these studies illustrate profound design strategies that can be used to increase emotional attachment to, and enjoyment of, products.
Hung, W.K., & Chen, L.L. (2012). Effects of novelty and its dimensions on aesthetic preference in product design. International Journal of Design, 6(2), 81-90. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=46&sid=a060edc6-fd77-45d0-af9a-ed94049947bd%40sessionmgr4007
Mugge, R., Schoormans, J. & Schifferstein, H. (2009). Emotional bonding with personalized products. Journal of Engineering Design, 20(5), 467-476. doi10.1080/09544820802698550