Workshop by Andrew Shea: Designing for the Senses

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Part 1 (2 October 2019)

Andrew introducing how we can design with our senses

Andrew mentioned that body-numbing visuals have saturated design culture and designers need to learn to consider our other senses besides sight. We can use environmental data to translate into experiences that people can sense. Below are some of his points during his introduction to the workshop. 

Sensory Design

  • Rebels against the tyranny of the eye
  • Slows space down
  • Focuses on the experience, not a message
  • Enhances health and well-being
  • Is inclusive by addressing multiple sense and the diversity of the human condition
  • Considers not just the shape of things but how things shape us
  • Honours the pulse of living, breathing spaces
  • Celebrates the qualities of place move us through space

The Senses

  • Mix with memory
  • Move us through space
  • Merge and mingle
  • unique to every person
  • Trigger and amplify other senses
  • Chatter constantly with one another
  • Have long been dominated by vision

Keep in Mind

  • Put yourself in the situation
  • How can experiences be more enjoyable?
  • How can experience by surprising? What would make a magical moment? How could it be more memorable?
  • How can physical objects become more engaging to you and others?
  • How can sensory objects help services be more efficient?
  • What is happening when time is elapsing? Is there an opportunity to improve that experiences?
  • Can one obvious kind of sensory experience be improved by adding more than one additional sensory dimension?


  1. Choose 10+ sensory items and follow these steps as a group
  2. Look at the touchpoints to understand the scenario
  3. Describe the emotional state or experience you want to have during this scenerio
  4. Study your 10+ sensory items. How do they help you think about each touchpoint throughout your scenario? Use them to inspire new design intervention(s) that help you to create your desired emotional state. 
  5. Draw a dramatic arc of the scenario (a journey map). Depict or show how the senses will be engaged during this experience to create the emotional state that you want to have. 
Example of completed worksheet
Our scenario

I worked with Phat and Joseph, a BA Design student, together on our scenario. It was really fun to see how everyone used the objects to link to certain feelings and emotions. Some of these sensory experiences also led to narratives and past memories we had. Perhaps, this could be something I could explore for my design briefs as well. 

Part 2 (3 October 2019)

We went back the next day for part 2 of the workshop. The activity was exactly the same as part 1, but this time round, we were given the opportunity to create our own unique scenario. Abi, Ace, Dana and I teamed up together. We created a space exploration scenario in the year of 3142. We were trying to be as experimentative as we could. 

Our objects
Creating our scenario
Presentation by the Antwerp group
Our final result