Design for Feeling

Positive Experiences Outside Desired Experiences Builds Trust

Every day we use designed products and services from companies around the world.

Throughout a design’s lifetime, it’s encountered by people outside the person who purchases it. The manufacturer, truck driver, cashier, garbage collector all encounter the design at various stages of the design’s lifetime. This ecosystem contextualizing the design over time inevitably impacts how it makes people feel about the design’s brand and reputation.

Brands who address experiences outside the desired or purchased experience can be readily found in our culture’s most successful businesses:


The smile on Amazon’s boxes are seen by truck drivers, postal office workers, and your neighbors before you first see it.


“Google Doodles” has been used or years and seen by millions around the world before searches are performed on the web where we experience the result of Google’s powerful search engine.


Disney has a colorful farewell sign after people experience their world-famous theme parks.


Apple is distinctly aware of their customers disposing of phones that still operate yet aren’t needed after a customer is finished using them. In the United States, Apple customers can trade in any device in any condition, and they’ll give customers credit or they can be recycled for free. This is a positive experience for the initial customer and a second customer.


Nordstrom is distinctly aware of the gap between high fashion and struggling communities. They host style workshops and free clothes for teens struggling with poverty and addiction to help them feel confident and prepared for when the times comes to interview for jobs. This experience will be remembered throughout each of these children’s lives far after their ties and shirts go out of style and a story that can be shared with their friends and families.


Each of these companies thinks beyond desired experiences and products to offer experiences that make people feel good, building trust and confidence in their brand.

Can you think of any other positive experiences outside those desired that impact how we feel about brands?

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About the Author

Joshua Hoering is a writer, designer, educator, artist, and speaker based in Chicago, Illinois. He’s currently working on an MFA in Graphic Design & Visual Experience at the Savannah College of Art & Design.

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