Paul Hekkert conducts research on the ways products impact human experience and behavior. In 2011 he received a VICI grant from the Dutch Science foundation (NWO) to develop a Unified Model of Aesthetics (UMA). The UMA project is likely the largest research program on aesthetics ever conducted; it involves close collaboration with Swinburne University (Melbourne) in addition to a number of international partners.

Paul has published articles dealing with product experience and aesthetics in major international journals, and is co-editor of Design and Emotion: The experience of everyday things (2004) and Product experience (2008). Together with Matthijs van Dijk, he published Vision in Design: A guidebook for innovators (2011), a book that describes an approach to design and innovation that has been widely applied in both education and industry. He regularly lectures on the above topics at (inter)national events, and serves as a member of the editorial boards of The Design Journal, Empirical Studies of the Arts, and the International Journal of Design.

Paul is co-founder and chairman of the Design and Emotion society and chairman of the executive board of CRISP, a national collaborative research initiative for and with the Dutch creative industries.

research interest

Product experience, general.
Aesthetics, visual and cross-sensory.
Figurative meaning; product expression.
Design methods; vision in design; design for social change.

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Full professor of form theory, and head of the Industrial Design department, faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.


PhD in Artful Judgements, Delft University of Technology
Drs. in Human Movement Science, Free University, Amsterdam


Industrial Design Engineering


Recent publications:

  • Cila, N, Hekkert, PPM & Visch, VT (2014). "Digging for meaning": The effect of a designer's expertise and intention on depth of product metaphors. Metaphor and Symbol, 29(4), 257-277. (TUD)
  • Hekkert, PPM, Snelders, HMJJ & Wieringen, PCW van (2003). "Most advanced, yet acceptable": typicality and novelty as joint predictors of aesthetic preference in industrial design. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 111-124. (TUD)
  • Russo Rodriques, B., Boess, SU & Hekkert, PPM (2011). 'What's love got to do with it?' The experience of love in person-product relationships. The Design Journal, 14(1), 8-27. (TUD)
  • Tromp, N & Hekkert, PPM (2010). A clash of concerns for society - Applying design thinking to social dilemmas. In K Dorst, S Stewart, I Staudinger, B Paton & A Dong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th Design Thinking Research Symposium (DTRS8) (pp. 393-404). Sydney: DAB documents. (TUD)
  • Post, RAG, Saakes, D & Hekkert, PPM (2015). A design research methodology using 3D-printed modular designs to study the aesthetic appreciation of form and material. In LL Chen, T Djajadiningrat, L Feijs, J Hu, S Kyffin, L Rampino, E Rodriguez & D Steffen (Eds.), Design and semantics of form and movement - Aesthetics of interaction: Dynamic, multisensory (pp. 347-350). s.l.: s.n.. (TUD)

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