Design and Emotion

The design team at Super natural have explored productivity during down-time by introducing in-house creative design briefs. For this particular brief, the subject of interest evolved from an interest in design that benefits and educates society: social design.

The objectives of the design brief were to create a series of posters to be displayed in the office, aiming to promote positive thoughts and feelings, thus improving office morale. The brief includes two contextual areas, one to explore typography and quotes, and the other to communicate how design affects peoples’ emotions through colours; fonts; images.

This project was heavily influenced by graphic designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeister, who expresses the importance of being happy while experiencing design. Sagmeister explains how a lot of design that tries to communicate happiness ends up showing a visualisation of happiness, rather than authentic happiness. Within his own design work, Sagmeister has explored reflection and authenticity through a series of spreads and typographic pieces that derived from a list about what Stefan has learnt about life.

Designer Ji Lee has explored true happiness through ‘Bubble Project’, by finding a solution to ‘visual pollution’ (intrusive ads on walls, bus stops, billboards, train stations) through blank speech bubble stickers placed on ads, allowing members of the public to express and create a dialogue. This project evokes happiness in numerous ways, through the paradoxical narrative - the designer has created a project; the public gains a sweeter environment; the public are given a place to express themselves. The importance of humour and human interactivity is particularly relevant to the exploration of the first poster design route, as the genuineness is key in these designs to stimulate happiness.

Richard Seymour has also explored how beauty feels, theorising that there are differences between intrinsic (innate) and extrinsic (superficial) beauty. Consequently, poignancy in design triggers an emotional response - we see things not as they are, but as we are. As beauty is subjective, the designs had to be relatable.

In turn, a series of posters based on funny quotes were created. Instead of using 'inspirational quotes' that perhaps not everyone would relate to or find inspiring, a humorous tone was implemented. Not only were the quotes chosen to evoke humour, they were also reflective of the work environment (a creative one) by using funny quotes that developers and designers could relate to. Additionally, the 'pretty' embroidered 'Home Sweet Home' style was chosen to deliberately contrast with quotes.