Designing for Human Instincts

As I continued to read the book “Designing for Emotion,” by Aaron Walter this week in my Public Relations Publications class, I studied the ideas presented in chapter 2 a little more in-depth.

This chapter helped me to realize that emotion is the universal form of communication, because even before we learn how to orally communicate we instinctually know how to show our emotions and read others’ through acts such as raising our voice, crying or smiling. I completely agree with this, because when I have been around people that I do not speak the same language as I have been able to somewhat communicate with them through facial expressions and voice tone. He also went into a concept called the “baby-face bias.” This belief is that humans naturally filter out the negatives that come with being around babies, because we instinctually love the appearance of “Large eyes, small noses and pronounced foreheads. To back up his theory he referred to the ideas of Charles Darwin and other scientists about evolution to explain to the reader that we evolved to love baby faces so that we would not kill them and that cuteness is a baby’s first line of defense. I do not necessarily agree with the idea of evolution due to religious beliefs and I also think that parents love their babies for deeper reasons. Regardless of my beliefs, he suggested that many websites such as Twitter have used this tactic to emotionally appeal to human instincts. Walter also stated that when humans look at textures and patterns (ex. clouds and trees) they self-consciously see a human face to relate to them.

The next thing I thought was interesting was how he wrote about using aesthetics. I feel like it is pretty common knowledge that color, font, layout, etc. have a lot to do with the way people perceive a design; however, Walter painted a great picture for me about when people are at a party trying to have a conversation and if the music is too loud it is hard to concentrate and be fully engaged. This allowed me to think a little deeper about the importance of the collaboration of all the aesthetics in the design not being too “loud.”

The final thing I enjoyed from the chapter was how he related the concepts to Apple. It made his thoughts about how people want to see themselves and feel a connection to a design make perfect see to me. His examples reminded me of this past summer when I worked as an intern for my fraternity’s international headquarters in Indianapolis. While there I went through numerous trainings that the leadership consultants went through so when I went back to OU in the fall I could make a difference in my chapter and the Greek community. During one of the trainings we watched a TED talk called “Start with why.” The speaker says instead of saying how or what you do before you start ask yourself why you do it. The staff member who led the discussion began by asking everyone in the room to go around and say “Why they thought we expand on new campuses each year.” Everyone in the room had different answers; however, each was a what/result or a how. My answer was, “so more men could join our brotherhood and become better men through our values and principles.” I thought my answer was great, so when the leader of the discussion told me it was a “what” instead of a “why” I was confused. We then proceeded to watch a video and afterwards the room was inspired. Everyone had changed their answer to an issue that they thought was relevant, whether it was promoting social justice, being a brother’s keeper, serving others or being a family away from home. It was definitely one of the deeper discussions I had this summer and helped me to realize the positive impacts that Greek Life has had on my life. (Sorry I went on a rant a little bit.) Back to the main point of this paragraph… Apple was used as an example of an organization that inspires people, because they start with “why.” The concept of “Start with Why,” ties into how people perceive a design. Even though this idea was not really a part of this chapter I thought it still related to Walter’s overall book message. Moral of the story, when you start a new project you should always ask “why” to develop a more successful design.

I didn’t do the “Start with Why” idea any justice in this blog, so to better understand it watch this video .

Apple commercial: .

Originally posted at Tyler Mahoney- PR Student