Design Framework: Attachment Theory to Psychological Based Design Principle to Enhance Product Life Extension in Circular Fashion

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Jirapan Wongtongsanguan
Supavee Sirinkraporn


In the era of excessive consumption, many products are produced, used, and discarded prematurely. The product attachment concept was built on a psychological theory, Attachment Theory which is applied by design scholars to create an emotional attachment between user and thing. Strong emotional attachment intertwines people to their thing. When the attachment is bonding, the person tends to use, maintain, repair, and manage to dispose properly at an appropriate time. From a sustainability point of view, the concept of product attachment applies to lengthen product lifespan and postpone product replacement prematurely.  

This article presents a psychological-based design principle to enhance product life extension, the meaningful upcycling design principle: Keep Change. Firstly, in a literature review of an emotional attachment to a product concept and the attachment determinant exposes the nature of attachment that increases and decreases throughout the product lifecycle according to changes. Meanwhile, there are some key findings comprehend. “Cherish Unused State” refer to the situation in which a beloved thing fails to perform a physical function, but the psychological value remains. A significant emotionally bonded person and thing in this stage. The framework constructs from the stage where the elements of Attachment and Detachment Factors were manipulated by design to reform a new life.

The essence of the new design framework, the “Keep Change,” is the value of attachment to a person. When strong attachment bonding, the thing becomes meaningful. People and things change over time while emotional value remains. The design strategy focuses on manipulating design elements to “Keep” by means of defining and enriching attachment and “Change” by eliminating the detachment factor for circularity.

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