PrEmo (Emotion Measurement Instrument)

Pieter Desmet (concept & production); Peter Wassink (cartoons); Emotion Studio (software)

Being human is being emotional. Emotions are central to our existence because they influence and enrich all of our thoughts and activities. But how can they be measured? Even though we experience many emotions every day, it is often difficult to find the right words to communicate them. Filling out emotion questionnaires can therefore be quite a challenge.

At the same time, we are experts in recognizing the emotional expressions of other people. What if you could just point out emotions to communicate how you feel? This is the idea that inspired PrEmo: A pictorial emotion scale.

The heart of PrEmo is a cartoon character that uses his face, body and voice to express fourteen different emotions.  Half of these are positive, like pride and joy. And the other half are negative, like fear and sadness. Together, these 14 emotions represent a solid cross-section of the human repertoire.

With PrEmo, people can report their feelings in any situation by simply pointing out one or more cartoons. You can measure the emotions people have towards new designs, medical procedures, during a music festival, when tasting wine, or in any other situation you are interested in. With PrEmo, measuring both strong and subtle feelings is both simple and reliable. Because it does not rely on words, PrEmo supports cross-cultural research, and the cartoons have been validated in many countries across the world (see Laurans and Desmet, 2017).

You can use the online version for large-scale (quantitative) studies, or the card-set for (qualitative) interview sessions.

Measuring emotions with PrEmo

For academic research, the offline PrEmo version (including the app) is available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This means that you are free to use the tool for non-commercial purposes as long as you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and do not modify the original material.

PrEmo Card Set

For non-academic (commercial) use of PrEmo (including the online version), please refer to the PrEmo page of Emotion Studio: or contact Emotion Studio <>.


PrEmo was conceptualized and  developed by Pieter Desmet (TU Delft). Animated cartoons were created by Peter Wassink (Wassink animaties). The PrEmo app was developed by Yancheng Du (TU Delft), and the online PrEmo version was developed by Steven Fokkinga and Willem van der Maden (Emotion Studio). Validation studies by Pieter Desmet and Gael Laurans (TU Delft).

In communication, please refer to PrEmo as follows: Desmet, P.M.A. (2019). PrEmo card set: Male version. Delft, Delft University of Technology. ISBN: 978-94-6384-076-7.

Desmet, P.M.A. (2018). Measuring emotion: Development and application of an instrument to measure emotional responses to products. In: M.A. Blythe & A.F. Monk (Eds.), Funology 2: from usability to enjoyment (pp. 391-404). Springer Publishing.

Laurans, G., & Desmet, P.M.A. (2017). Developing 14 animated characters for non-verbal self-report of categorical emotions. Journal of Design Research, 15(3/4), 214-233.

Publication date
Various versions between 2002 and 2019