Shape our Surroundings, by Renee Fortin

“A huge amount of success in life comes from learning as a child how to make good habits. It’s good to help kids understand that when they do certain things habitually, they’re reinforcing patterns.”

-Charles Duhigg

Are we unknowingly adapting marketing and design? Have you considered the emotions you feel when you find out your online purchase is going to take 2 weeks rather than 2 days to arrive? Or the excitement to see a tablet with an endless array of on-screen features attached to the dash of an eco-friendly car…albeit the confounding ‘that feature isn’t available in a car any longer’, along with the ease of using a simple crank window, likely removed from any future designs because leaning over to roll up a window has the potential to be a distraction.

Donald Norman’s book The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

considers how we once wanted the environment to match our skills and abilities; objects to keep up with our changing and advancing society. The book discusses our movement within buildings as well as many other design flaws and considerations. Norman tells us why we often pull a door which does not open but then push to see it swing effortlessly. He notes, with a variety of examples that designs unknowingly have us act a certain way. Consider if we have unconsciously pushed objects to become things that work inferiorly in our lives but excels aesthetically; computers where we spend time searching for power buttons and product packaging that appeals to each onlooker but impossible to open.

What if we examined the cost of these impressions we are making? Are we inadvertently asking for changes we don’t want? Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

taps into marketing and design from a different angle than Norman. When Duhigg writes about our habits, he points out that our purposeful actions become habits that modify design and business marketing to make our lives more convenient. That our automatic daily routines become statistics for alterations in subsequent sales approaches.

What’s great about these two books, written more than two decades apart, is their pairing on the idea that we may unintentionally welcome new change with an interesting impact on our lives.

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4 thoughts on “Shape our Surroundings, by Renee Fortin

  1. This reminds me of an article I read the other day who chronicled celebrity for the last 25 years and how America’s obsession with it has replaced some core values we used to have. The idea is fascinating, and, I think, true.

    Liked by 1 person

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