Emotions and the Service Designer: A Relationship Uncovered

Main Article Content

Mariluz Soto
Enni Mikkonen
Satu Miettinen


Emotions are present throughout the service design process for each participant, yet the own emotional experience of designers has rarely been addressed in design research. This paper is focused on the role and meaning of the emotions identified by service designers in their own experiences conducting or participating in projects, and as workshop facilitators. It builds empirically on a qualitative questionnaire examining their experiences of ‒ and reflections on ‒ the emotions they identified throughout their practices. The findings indicate a significant variety of emotions and confusion in determining their connection to the overall process. A clear understanding of the emotions associated with this process could strengthen service designers’ specific skills, enhancing confidence in decision-making, and adding value to their work. This, in turn, could help service designers to improve their professional performance in order to create a more inclusive and user-centered design practice in the context of changing scenarios, variable environments, and human interactions.

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How to Cite
Soto, M. ., Mikkonen, E., & Miettinen, S. (2020). Emotions and the Service Designer: A Relationship Uncovered. Diseña, (17), 84–105. https://doi.org/10.7764/disena.17.84-105
Original articles
Author Biographies

Mariluz Soto, University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design

Visual Communication Designer, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana. MA in Strategic Design, Universidad de Valparaíso. She is a Junior Researcher at University of Lapland’s Faculty of Arts and Design. Some of her latest publications include, ‘The Emotions that Emerge in the Collective Creation in a Marginal Context: Experience in a Chilean Prison’ (with M. Kaplún; Cumulus Conference Proceedings Series 2019) and ‘From Citizens to Community. The Complexity in the Context and the Transformation and the Challenges of Modernising Chilean Services’ (with K. Mollenhauer; in S. Miettinen and M. Sarantou, eds.; Managing Complexity and Creating Innovation Through Design, Routledge, 2019).

Enni Mikkonen, University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design


MSSc, University of Lapland. D.SSc, University of Lapland. She is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Social Work and Service Design at the University of Lapland’s Faculty of Arts and Design. Her research is focused on art-based methods in social work; migration and social integration; decolonizing and feminist social work; critical whiteness and racialization studies; ethnography; and research ethics. Some of her latest publications include, ‘My Stage: Participatory Theatre with Immigrant Women as a Decolonizing Method in Art-based Research’ (with M. Hiltunen and M. Laitinen; Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 5, N° 1) and ‘Decolonial and Transnational Feminist Solidarity: Promoting Ethically Sustainable Social Change with Women in Rural Nepalese Communities’ (The International Journal of Community and Social Development, Vol. 2, N° 1).

Satu Miettinen, University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design


Master, University of Industrial Arts (Aalto University). D.Arts University of Industrial Arts (Aalto University). She is a Professor of Service Design at the University of Lapland’s Faculty of Arts and Design. Her research interests are in the areas of service design, including the areas of social and public service development, citizen engagement, and digital service development. She is an active artist and designer in the areas of socially engaged art and eco-feminist photography. She is the editor of An Introduction to Industrial Service Design (Routledge, 2016) and co-editor of Managing Complexity and Creating Innovation through Design (with M. Sarantou; Routledge, 2019).


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