Designer Orlagh O’Brien gave a simple emotion-specific quiz to a group of 250 people. Asking respondents to describe five emotions – anger, joy, fear, sadness, and love – in drawings, colors, and words, O’Brien ended up with a set of media she used to create Emotionally}Vague, an online graphic interpretation of the project’s results.
How do other people feel? It’s a simple question, but for graphic designer Orlagh O’Brien, an important one.
“At first, the question seemed flaky,” she said from the conference stage Friday. “But I had this sense that people feel emotions in their bodies, and I wanted to see what would happen if I asked such a really open-ended question.”
O’Brien gave a simple test to a group of 250 people over the course of a month. Asking respondents to describe five emotions – anger, joy, fear, sadness, and love – in drawings, colors, and words, O’Brien ended up with a set of media she used to create Emotionally}Vague, an online graphic interpretation of the project’s results.
“This project was really interesting because I opened up this question to people and then used the tools I had in my regular work,” O’Brien said. “Since I’ve put this up online, I’ve had some very interesting people talk to me about it. I named the project Emotionally Vague in honor of the people who don’t know how they feel – sometimes love feels like fear but it just depends on your point of view.”
Emotionally}Vague is not meant to represent anyone other than the few hundred souls O’Brien recruited, but the emergence of certain patterns is undeniable. In a particular part of the test, respondents were asked to draw lines on a simple human silhouette in response to one of the emotional cue words.
“What I find amazing is how people are drawing emotions outside of their bodies – the more pleasurable it is, the more outside of our bodies it is,” she said. “The more painful it is, the more the lines contract inside the body.