Prof. dr. ir. Mugge, R.

Professor of Design for Sustainable Consumer Behavior
Head of Product Innovation Management Department
Department Product Innovation Management

Her main research interests are (sustainable) consumer behaviour, product perception, design for behaviour change, and design for the circular economy.

Academic Background

After completing her PhD on the topic of product attachment in 2007, Ruth Mugge continued her research on understanding consumers’ acceptance and behaviour towards (sustainable) products with the intention to provide designers with guidelines on how to design products that trigger the desired inferences and behavioural responses. She has received both European and national (NWO) funding for her research.

Specific research questions that she is currently working on are:

  • How can designers stimulate consumers to prolong the lifetime of products?
  • How can designers stimulate consumers to take better care of products?
  • How can designers stimulate consumers’ acceptance of circular products?
  • How can designers stimulate consumers’ acceptance of radical innovations.

Ruth Mugge has published on these topics in journals, such as International Journal of Design, Design Studies, Journal of Cleaner Production, and the Journal of Product Innovation Management. Furthermore, she serves as an editorial board member for Journal of Product Innovation Management, Applied Ergonomics, and Journal of Design Research.

View the episode 'There Are Good Looking Crappy Things' in the IDE 'Out of the Blue' podcast series


  • 2001 - 2007
    PhD in Industrial Design Engineering (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands), on “Product attachment”
  • 1995 - 2001
    M.Sc. (cum laude) in Industrial Design Engineering (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)
  • 1996
    Propaedeutics (cum laude) in Industrial Design Engineering (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)


  • 2013 - present
    Associate Professor (Delft University of Technology)  
  • 2005 - 2013
    Assistant Professor (Delft University of Technology)
  • 2003 - 2005
    Teaching assistant (Delft University of Technology) for Design courses and Statistics

Specialisation/field of research

Product perception and product appearance

  • How do consumers use the product appearance to draw inferences about functional attributes (e.g., quality, ease of use)?
  • How can product appearance affect the perceived meanings of products?
  • Why do consumers aesthetically appreciate certain products more than others?

Product attachment

  • Why do consumers become attached to certain products?
  • (How) can designers influence the experience of an emotional bond to products?

Product-service systems

  • What is the role of congruity in consumers’ evaluation of product-service systems?

Lectures and/or coaches students on:

  • IO1080 Research and Design
  • IO5135 Consumer Behaviour elective
  • Graduation projects on consumer research, product innovation, marketing, and product personalization.

Some examples of graduation projects that I supervised are:

  • Thomas Massink: What is premium? Developing a tool to determine premium branding in packaging design (Cartils)
  • Felipe Giraldo: Strategic development for a Philips’ lifestyle product that enhances mental wellness through sensory stimulation (Philips Research)
  • Anne Jochems: Research 2.0. The development of an online tool for qualitative consumer research, using web 2.0 (for Ruigrok/Netpanel)