Sparks of Beauty

Interaction design thesis

I have always been fascinated by the connections and interactions between people, beauty and light. The psychology of our emotions and the reactions of the senses & transference to behavior.


For my Masters Thesis I investigated the emotional bonds created between people and light, looking at the physiological and psychological reactions of a user to understand peoples lighting needs on a deeper level and in real time. I used biometric testing to read brainwave activity, skin temperature and heart rate while viewing the users under certain lighting conditions.


I tried to ascertain what is the link between the beauty of a light and the reactive emotions of awe and love, with a view to improving the aesthetics of modern low energy lighting technologies to create a beautiful experience for the user and to better inform industry and promote the use of more sustainable lighting solutions.

Thinking Through Design

Industrial design thesis

My Thesis was an exploration into how the mind works in relation to design. I aimed to bring a new level of meaning to the reader in relation to design and the design process. I aimed to show how the creative process, the initial spark of an idea is carried through the design of the product and is transferred to the user who in turn has emotional bonds and reactions with the product; and that this is what we call design essence.


This is what design is all about to me, what the product as a whole means to the user and also to the designer, it is about how we react to our everyday objects that has a major influence on our lives. It relates to the whole nature nurture argument in human psychology. Are we born knowing how to perceive an object and how to react to it, or do we have an inherent preference for certain colours and forms. How do products speak to us in our infant state when we are free of societal pressures and conceptions?


This thesis was an exploration into thinking in relation to design, and how thoughts can carry through a product from the initial design idea and spark to the end users reactions and responses. Design is powerful; it has the ability to incite strong emotions in us and to inspire us.  

‘Aesthetics as a Mathematical Emotion’

Industrial Design Dissertation

My dissertation was based on the idea that beauty is result of some core mathematical values and is therefore definable and that we can determine a person’s emotional reaction to a product by studying the mathematical proportions of it.


I researched the link between simple geometry and the powerful emotions a product can stir up in us which leads us to develop an attachment or a trust in a product. In looking at the psychology of aesthetics I began to see how the brain picks up and interprets data through the senses and then processes it and converts it into emotional responses.


In doing this dissertation I strove to show mathematics in a new light and on a new level. It is not the difficult number crunching subject thought in schools, it is the study of patterns and relationships. It searches for simplicity and definable truth and in doing so it finds beauty. Beauty is something all designers want to create as it creates an indefinable bond to a product.

© 2020 by Eva McSweeney.