Holistic Typology of 20 Human Moods

Pieter Desmet, Haian Xue & Steven Fokkinga

Designers have been long fascinated and inspired by the phenomenon of human mood. Nevertheless, a barrier that has been preventing them from adequately leveraging relevant opportunities is the current low-granular understanding of the mood phenomenon. Compared to emotion, mood is more difficult to capture and communicate because of its pervasive and elusive nature. Consequently, moods are often communicated with general descriptions, such as ‘I feel good today’, or ‘I am not in the mood’. Real-life moods are much more differentiated than what the inexplicit ‘good or bad’ accounts represent.

The booklet, ‘Twenty moods: Holistic typology of human mood states’ is a mood-focused design tool that offers design professionals with a fine-grained overview, a rich vocabulary, and pictorial descriptions of user mood states. Design researchers may use the typology as a resource for their user mood-related research explorations. Designers may use this typology to enhance their mood granularity, and take it as a source of inspirations for unique mood-focused design innovations.


By Pieter Desmet, Haian Xue & Steven Fokkinga

The Twenty Moods booklet is published under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This means that you are free to share the booklet for non-commercial purposes as long as you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and do not modify the original material. For licence details, see: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.


Desmet, P.M.A., Xue, H., & Fokkinga, S.F. (2020). Twenty moods: Holistic typology of human mood states (first edition). Delft: Delft University of Technology. ISBN: 978-94-6384-013-2