Creative design is both cognitively and emotionally demanding. While some work has explored the value of emotional arousal in the design process, we know little about how designers’ awareness and self-regulation of arousal impact early design stages. This paper describes the design and evaluation of VibeRate, an affective wearable system integrating haptic vibrations for signaling increase of arousal levels. We employed an experimental study with 27 designers to explore the value of haptic feedback, expertise and constraints of the design tasks on the number of selected design exemplars. Findings show that approximately 40% of the images novice and expert designers select during the design process elicit high arousal and novice designers select more inspiring images based on the increase of arousal levels when haptic feedback is activated. These findings have implications for design tools supporting arousal-based capturing of design exemplars, and for design training.