The Silver Lining Of Design – Part I

2 min read
Design - Igniting Your Startup

Don’t take the easy road.

If you’re going to stay in your comfort zone the result will consist in a dull, under the radar, hackneyed product or service. Turn the attention towards your audience’s emotions!

“I don’t get it…”

The effortless way is to develop a brand after your own thoughts, without taking into consideration the direct beneficiaries of your business. The challenging way is to focus on their issues, needs, solutions and… emotions.

It’s a tough road, full of risks, and for every step to be taken you’ll have to think twice – even more – but there’s a silver lining: the people who’ll get in touch with your brand will be enamored with it, coming back and wanting more.

The pyramid

No, I’m not referring to an egyptian pyramid. There’s one called Maslow’s Pyramid – you can’t go visit it, you can’t take pictures near it, but you can use it!

In 1943 Abraham Maslow wrote the paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” of which observations were later (1954), in great detail, explained in its book “Motivation and Personality”. Based on intense studies, Maslow described the human needs and came up with a hierarchy for them. And exactly that order of needs it’s know as Maslow’s Pyramid.

Level 1 – Physiological. At the bottom of the pyramid we have the most fundamental needs – the physiological needs: survival – the need of air, water and food; protection from nature’s elements – clothing and shelter; sexual needs – sexual competition and reproduction.

Level 2 – Safety. Mostly found in children who have a greater need to feel secure. However, the safety needs must be satisfied for adults also and they include: personal security, financial security, health and well-being.

Level 3 – Love and belonging. We need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among our social groups – family, friends, school, co-workers etc. In this level the following are included: friendship, intimacy and family.

Level 4 – Esteem. People need to feel respected! We all want to receive recognition for our efforts. But no matter how much attention we receive from others, we should focus on self-respect and self-esteem. Respect yourself and others will respect you also! A person who’s not satisfied on this level will develop an inferiority complex, will become vulnerable, and won’t be able to help itself.

Level 5 – Actualization. We cannot live in the past. There’s an acute need to remain relevant to the surrounding environment. Every person should unravel its full potential. On this level, people become explorers, trying to find solutions to their needs.

Becoming a Pharaoh

There you have – Maslow’s Pyramid. People go up on it, starting from Level 1 and hopefully arriving on the top, at Level 5. There’s no cheating involved, even if we’d want to shorten our way. As long as we have our primary needs satisfied we can focus on the next ones – safety, than moving to love and belonging, esteem and finally focusing on self-actualization.

During his last years, Maslow exposed a 6th level – Transcendence. Once this dimension is reached, a person turns its attention towards others and in the universal language this is know as altruism.

So now that you know about the human needs – on what people are focusing and what’s important for them – we can move on and see how you can find the silver lining – reaching level 6 and becoming a pharaoh (a good one).

Until soon…

Interesting read?

About Ciprian Irimies

Ciprian is an UX Ninja, but what really makes him stand out of a crowd is the desire to venture into the unknown, to boldly face new challenges and the lack of hair on his head.