Positive Design explores how design can support individuals and communities in doing whatever makes them flourish. It starts from the idea that all people have a natural drive for personal growth, and that the ultimate goal of living is to realize one’s full potential—to be all one can fully be.

The Positive Design difference

Design and technology can solve problems, make our life safer, easier, more comfortable and enjoyable. But can it also make a meaningful and long-lasting contribution to well-being? This simple question is the basis of the Positive Design movement.

Better for end-users. Better for designers. Better for everyone.

Positive Design is interested in issues such as human capabilities, creativity, empathy & love, hope, virtues, and fundamental needs. It aims to contribute to the well-being of all parties involved in the design process – not only end-users but also designers, design students, teachers, and all other stakeholders.

“Given its humanistic perspective, Positive Design represents a holistic approach to human-centred design focussing especially on the physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals and communities.”

P.M.A Desmet

The Positive Design dividend

The world is in need of people who flourish: happy people are more social, altruistic, active, creative, inventive, open, constructive, and have better conflict resolution skills. For this reason, Positive Design reaches beyond the individual – enabling people to develop their capabilities and to make positive contributions to their environment and social development.

Positive Design:

(1) creates possibilities
Positive Design envisions and realizes the conditions in which all human beings can achieve their potential. Rather than merely reducing problems, it offers opportunities to improve well-being.

(2) fosters human flourishing
Positive Design uplifts people. It enables and inspires people to develop their talents, to increase their freedom, to deepen their relationships, and to contribute to their communities.

(3) enables meaningful activities
Positive Design supports people to engage in meaningful activities that express their unique and autonomous values as well as the social nature of human life.

(4) supports designers
Positive Design considers the well-being of designers and all other actors in the design (education) process. It develop systemic conditions that supports the flourishing of design students’ and teachers.

(5) accepts responsibility
Positive Design explores its own normative goal for human and societal aspirations and action. It takes responsibility for its short- and long-term impact on individuals as well as on communities and society.

Read more about Positive Design

Interested in discovering more about Positive Design?

Download the Positive Design Reference Guide.
And make sure to check out the following resources on our Publications page.