Well being as a criteria for product design

Julian Lindley, Richard Adams

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Research has indicated that Happiness in the Western World Peaked in the late 1950’s. This correlates with the accelerated growth in both Product Design and Consumption*.
Historically Product Designers have concerned themselves with manufactured objects through negotiated briefs for clients either as external consultants or in-house designers. Within this remit traditional attributes of a product are well understood but the defining criteria for success is the bottom line of profitability. However there has recently been a shift in application of the design process (or Design Thinking) to a diverse range of market sectors and problems. With this comes a reappraisal of the criteria which designers should use to gauge success.
Product Designers should acknowledge that they have a responsibility, beyond the bottom line of usability and commercial profit, to deliver equitable value to many stakeholders. Among these values are social indicators such as well-being in contrast to short term desire (point of purchase), happiness or pleasure rather than functionality and value for money. The values by which design outputs are judged have become a lot more complex.
This paper sets out to explore these issues and a call for Product Design application to expand from purely commercial to that of responding to human requirements whether individual, communal or cultural. It attempts to address what we mean by the terms well-being and happiness and how these can form part of both a design brief and a mechanism for judging success. It uses a series of student projects as case studies to introduce these concerns to design students and finally muses on the value of design itself as a mechanism for creating positive sustainable futures.
*From www.storyofstuff .com/Annie Leonard, accessed 17th November 2014
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
EventInt Conf on Engineering and product Design Education - Loughborough, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sept 20154 Sept 2015


ConferenceInt Conf on Engineering and product Design Education
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Design
  • well-being
  • education


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