Exploring the design of mousetraps


Publication date



The Design Society

Document type


Based on a case study of a collection of a couple of hundred mousetraps this paper presents a systematic categorisation of their principles of technical construction, material consistence and principles of function. This study of mousetraps introduces decision making involving ethical dilemmas, the discussion of intrinsic value of animals of this kind, and finally the user’s need to be comfortable with the process of use. The principle of its technical construction among a large diversity of possible solutions must be chosen on the basis of a set of criteria. Equal for all traps is the demand for inclusive usability and low cost results. This criterion promotes low-tech constructions with high visual transparency. The presentation of the mousetrap study introduces in a way the general connections between material and technical constructions and moral consequences of ethical perspectives. Ethical values are guidelines in the decision making. Together with a categorisation and presentation of technical principles of mousetraps, the graphical design illustrations and text information on the belonging packaging shows in a pedagogical way how it is possible to contribute to complex issues with simple everyday objects


Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • http://hdl.handle.net/10642/1698