How Design Helps Us Relate to Each Other

People throughout the world have diverse priorities in life. Having differing loves and interests are what human beings unique; however it also can have the ability to make us feel different from another when in hindsight we are a lot more similar than we think. How people relate to each other can help to forge new relationships, solve problems and help in a motivational sense. Design has recently been seen as a tool for people to use in order to help understand one and other.

A recent Kickstarter project called Values is a deck of flashcards that has 58 core values that almost everyone shares. They represent ideas such as love, pleasure, sense of belonging, ambition plus many more. The cards have one value per card and are portrayed using the visual language inspired by Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz. Before you say who on earth are they, you’ll have seen their work on most bathroom signs you’ve seen which gives an idea of the general design of the cards. For example, the card for ambition is a picture of a person (picture a loo sign figure) with a larger see through person around them. It is in essence, signifying the person wants to be bigger and better than they are already, showing ambition.

Cards and designs like these can be useful for relating to each other as people often can be quick to judge one and other. This can be in the workplace or socially; one little thing a person does, whether it be in a positive or negative sense, can influence another person’s view of them. Design helps to ‘make visible the invisible’ and though it may seem odd for people to sit and show cards of what they believe their strongest core values are it could be useful for understanding others.

The creator of the Values cards Genis Carreras believes they can be used as tools for getting to know each other by comparing what values people believe are most important. This way people may realize they in fact are more similar than they thought and could disprove their initial pre-judgment. This exercise could be useful for training days in the workplace or simply as a bit of fun between friends socially. By knowing another’s most important values could be useful for in the workplace for how colleagues work together.

Communication and being able to read each other and relate is incredibly useful for working together. The cards give a reference point as a mental image that can be remembered when interacting with others that may help you be patient with them or give you the confidence to speak up if you know how they may react.

These cards and other such as designs even as simple as picture cards that may be used by doctors to get better ideas of a patient can be used to better understand each other. I believe that using design based mental stimulation is a better way of discovering who you are personally. I believe that images are easier to relate to than simply choosing a word. Design can help to understand others that stops pre-judgments and can maximize the chance for better workplace or social interactions.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at



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