In my experience design is mainly used for commercial purposes in television advertisement, magazines, posters and the web which are all around us. Reaching a certain material comfort, which standards are higher and higher as time passes by, has been equated as the ultimate path to a fulfilling life. In modern society design has been utilized as a powerful tool to appeal to reason, logic, functionalism, practicality, and aesthetic, reflecting the materialistic approach to life. In other word, designers create products convincing people that there are beneficial functions in products that make their lives easier. Also, designers stress that products will aesthetically please people. If you own them, you will increase your identity higher than those how do not have them. Many designers generally believe that they have to use ‘emotional design’, which turns costumers into brand evangelists, to sell products and build trust. There it comes about the role of emotions within design:
1. deceiving people into confusing them between wanting and needing.
The author of Critical Design, Dunne and Anthony said “how electronic products becomes “role models” bring about transformations of perception (and conception) in users as a protagonist by embodying unusual psychological needs and desires in “pathological” electronic objects.” We use, for example, cellphone that have become a necessary device to socialize with others. Its functionality and application in advertisement demonstrate when we need to use the electronic product, encouraging the user to use it for socializing purpose with others in daily life, which seems essential for her or his life. However, the user can interact with others without the electronic product, yet tantalizing the user to buy it because having the electronic product seems crucial for the user’s relationship with other people.
2. creating a false sense of identity.
We often measure others’ identity through certain brands of product that others own. Designers have created identities of products to sell products and build trust by manipulating emotions. Designers sell a feeling or an idea that modifies consumers’ perception to crave a product, letting consumers achieve the faulty identity created by products. People often compare themselves to those who own better or less value of products, feeling satisfied or disappointed themselves.
I call design that has these characteristics ‘negative design.’ Negative design misdirects and perpetuates a cycle of elusive shallow wellbeing in order to maintain a social and economical dysfunctional system that determines people by materials in place. Individuals that are trapped and influenced by such negative design may experience a different range of needs, stressors, and feelings, namely coldness, anxiety, and emptiness. It cannot be said that such negative design is purposely utilized to bring illness into society. Reason and material comfort are embraced and well used, however, it is time for a new healthy and effective approach that can harness the most essential and powerful motivator of human nature: emotions that lead to positive behaviors. An approach that focuses on the satisfaction of higher human needs.
I advocate the concept of ‘positive design’ that can and must be used to facilitate individuals to tap their inner potential first. Positive design does not neglect the deepest of all human needs: the drive to flourish. A well-lived life occurs in a material context utilizing logic to achieve the highest pleasure and meaning that one can experience emotionally. Design does not function in a vacuum. As a product designer, I believe that design has to consider social, cultural, and economical circumstances, but above all new design and technology have to take the mind factor into account. “The artificial is by no means confined to technology. Today, it means the combination of technical systems, the symbolic realm, including mind and the realm of our transformations and transmutations of nature.” Humans are beings that not only adapt to new environments and circumstances, but they are also transform by them. “There is such a strong connection between body and soul that thoughts that accompanied certain movements of our body at the beginning of our lives, go on accompanying them later.”  In other words, humans are easily influenced by their environment. Positive design is not just a medium to reorganize existence elements, but a method and an efficacious device to create reality. We mold ourselves to the spirit emanates form the objects around us to become a little as they are, even if we are not always able to see quite how objects make us feel. By designing new technologies and environments, behavior can be shaped, thinking regulated, therefore, reaching the core component of the individual, his or her emotional world.
Positive design, like any other complex unit, has different components that together are greater than the sum of its parts. In order for positive design to flourish and to enhance the well-being of individuals and communities, designers should first channel, develop, and promote ethics, virtues, emotional intelligence, and positive habits.
Bruno Latour states that “the concept of design is that it necessarily involves an ethical dimension which is tied into the obvious question of good versus bad design.” Ethical dimension maximizes design to spread goodness and badness. As technology has rapidly advanced, we are under the condition that has possibilities that could direct us either a right or wrong way for our future and that changes how we think about ourselves. As a designer and educator, I take my job very serious because what I make and teach people could result in bad or good effects. Thus, I pursue the goals toward that I should endeavor and that enable the full development of people’s humanity.
Highly moral beings are expected to have good quality traits, called virtues. There are many virtues that promote collective and individual greatness by exercising self-discipline and avoiding self-indulgence. I develop virtues through learning and practice like running a marathon, so do my capacity to be fair, to be courageous, or to be compassionate.
Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that a person uses in order to recognize, understand, label, express, and regulate his or her and others’ emotions. Doing so, a person attains higher self-esteem, self-confidence, has empathy toward those around his/her, better social skills.
Positive habits are behaviors that have a certain level of consistency overtime and their practice usually generates pleasure in the moment and an essence of meaning in the future.
The Principles of Positive Design
Positive design gives users spaces to create their own design. It creates productivity that people feel motivated to learn and create.
Positive design promotes relation that is filled with people who we should care about as subject in the world.
With these fundamental elements and the principles of positive design, I am eager to further expand and introduce positive design into main areas of modern society. Curriculums in educational institutions should include emotional intelligence training which cultivate positive emotions, ethics, virtues, and nurturing positive habits so as to breed enriched human beings who will have responsibility for the future. As an educator in design, I found nourishing students with these factors has significant impact on how they relate with themselves, the arts, design, and others. Even though we live in the era of accelerated development of technology, emotional intelligence, ethics, virtues, and nurturing positive habits are constant.
Designers must embrace positive design to help people discover human well-being and sustainability, making green behavior easy. I want to facilitate individuals to connect to their inner world and dignify the self, rather make individuals depressed, lonely, addicted, trivial, and apathetic. Also, I have only the power to create products that contribute to a positive impact on the environment, but responsibility to care about designing sustainability for now and future. Designer’s role is extending, so it is the opportunity of utilizing design thinking to help the environmental problems. By using ergonomic design, I want to optimizes human well-being and creates honest design that is unobtrusive, ecofriendly for human body.
In economy, the well-being of individual will be a countable matter in policy making and standardization of wealth. This year, for instance, neuroscience of happiness has been taken as one of measurements for world happiness report 2015. I would like to see more of this in the future by enlightening people that it is necessary to learn the fundamental elements in positive design.
Positive design cannot solve all the problems in our environment but conceive possibilities. The Rising Currents exhibition at MoMA is one of examples of positive design and “part of the growing global grassroots movement to address the impact of climate change with smart, local solutions.” Local governments and civil society groups around the world found that better measures diminish ongoing and future risks and costs, making their cities better now.
I would say positive design by any means is meant to overtake and eliminate the possibility of imperfection, sadness, and even suffering. “With complexity comes a certain degree of instability and unpredictability that can be fatally destabilizing, but also drives change and innovation by making networks vulnerable, and so open to new influences and opportunities.”  Positive design doesn’t want to eradicate negative design because it is not convenient for us. Being in the middle of positive and negative design gives us great opportunities to discover the new path that brings us to the better world than we have been worried. We should take advantage of this moment to clear away of the uncanny imagination of future. Positive design should be seen as a complimentary approach rather than a replacement for common design. Individuals are the building blocks of societies, therefore, in order to generate a better outer world design has to target the inner world. Positive design helps us to be the best version of ourselves.
 Paul Jarvis, The importance of emotion in design (2014), http://thenextweb.com/dd/2014/02/25/importance-emotion-design/
 Dunne, Anthony (2008-09-26). Hertzian Tales: Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design (Page 69). The MIT Press.
 Maslow, Hierarchy of Needs
 Pamela Pavliscak, Designing for Happiness: A Positive Future for Technology (2014)
 Dr. Michael W. Fordyce, The Psychological of Happiness: A Brief Version of the Fourteen Fundamentals (1993)
 Dieter Rams
 Clive Dilnot, “Design As Future-Making: Reasons To Be Cheerful,1,2,3…* (Or Why The Artificial May Yet Save Us)”
 Paul Virilio, “The Vision Machine”
 Clive Dilnot, A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design (with Special Attention to Peter Sloterdijk)
 Daniel Goldman, “Emotional Inteligence”, (1995)