Studio Matrix

Designing for Happiness!

Designing for Happiness!

Design and happiness go together like chocolate and peanut butter. People love things that make them happy and Designers love creating things that make people happy.

Designers are always trying to create little things that make an experience more enjoyable. Whenever you type anything into Google for example, you get a list of pages where you get as many “0’s” in the logo as there are pages. We see it and never notice it, but it is pleasant and clever.

So how do we design for more pleasurable experiences? The secret is to tap into fundamental instincts that are imbedded into human biology. Donald Norman, Director of The Design Lab, breaks these ways of design thinking into 3 categories:

Visceral design

This refers to that gut feeling we all have. This subconscious reaction is embedded in our biology and is all about the immediate emotional impact we feel when we experience something.

Through nature, we have adapted to like and dislike certain things. We like bright colours because they remind us of ripe fruit, we like symmetry and symmetrical faces because they remind us of beauty, and we dislike things that make us uncomfortable, such as loud noises and extreme temperatures. These emotional reactions are common in everybody and can be communicated easily through colour, type and imagery.

By designing to please these basic instincts we are able to effect people on a global scale!

Behavioural design

It is all about usability of a product and feeling like the user is in control. Behavioural design is all about function first and the design should evoke a pleasant experience for the user. For example, a digital watch may be ugly but is highly functional and easy to use or a sports car that feels great to drive and allows the driver freedom on a winding road.

Creating highly functional experiences of user freedom is one of the key ways to evoke positive reactions through design. If people have a pleasant experience with a product they are likely to be happier!

Reflective design

Also known as the “super ego” of the design experience. It is all about the meaning of the product and how it reflects on us.

We all worry about the image we present to others, so we make “reflective” decisions that highlight things we value or make us happy. For example, people buy Hummers because they like the way they get noticed whilst driving, or people who buy very expensive watches may not use it to tell the time, but instead use it for the feeling they get when wearing it or when people notice them wearing it.

Being able to fill people’s emotional needs is key to provoking happiness through design! Design is a way of bettering people’s lives. By fulfilling these 3 levels of design thinking, we are able to create more pleasing experiences for our audience!

Want to learn more about the 3 ways that good design makes you happy?

Check out this Don Norman TED Talk or read this simple guide to the three levels of design.

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