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Photo Credit: Katie Smith

Why design should matter to everyone.

When one thinks of design, images of flowers, patterns, paintings etc. come to mind. These things can be categorized as “pretty things.” Why? Well these are the most obvious portrayals of “design.” Often times these portrayals of design are also what we associate with things that we, ourselves, can’t perform. So we put this abstract concept of design out of our reach on a pedestal, particularly things that are considered to be pretty. To design something well is to make it pretty.

It’s interesting that most of us can generally agree on when something is pretty and when something is not. At least we feel we can. But what does it mean to be pretty? It’s completely subjective. Now there are some underlying reasons why we as humans see things as pretty or attractive or ugly or revolting. For example, our brains like to see things in order or in patterns. Once the brain is able to determine a pattern, it no longer has to work hard to analyze what we are seeing. Patterns or visuals that make the brain work less can be considered pretty. As another example, colors can evoke emotional responses that we may not consciously notice. Restaurants are painted red or orange because those colors make you hungry. Yellow evokes feelings of happiness or joy, while blue evokes sadness, seriousness or sternness. Colors play with our subconscious without us even knowing. When we walk into a red or orange painted restaurant, we have no idea that our bodies are, in fact, reacting to the colors of the walls to make us feel even more hungry. …