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What Is Design Psychology?

We all have unique personalities, why shouldn't your home resemble that? 

Design and environmental psychology as Dac Kopec describes, strives to join fundamental elements from cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, neurobiological and sociocultural psychology with design principles in order to investigate the human habitation of the built surroundings and the effects that design has on people. Using that proposition, our surrounding environment has a large significance on our lifestyle, mood, inspiration and growth."Design psychology is the implementation of architecture, interior design and planning where psychology is the primary design instrument" - Dr Toby Israel. The exercises and methods Dr Israel suggests are to re-create the most ideal places from childhood and the past through revealing and unsealing the memories of objects, places, experiences, perceptions on the world and images from childhood that may have been forgotten. The role of a design psychologist is to gather the most gratifying experiences from the clients past and then implement that into a design in which fulfills the clients’ self. 

There are several methods and exercises a design psychologist can use:


For example Claire Cooper Marcus uses a method in which she uses role play (as a form of Gestalt Psychology) as a way of uncovering feelings of the client about their home(s) in a structure that would not bring on negative feelings and damage. She states that interior of our home and all the items in it acts as mirror of our inner psychological self and that parts of it may also be on an unconscious level. The point of going through the Design Psychology exercises is not to have participants engage in “nostalgia design”; it is to simply re-create idealized places from their past. Instead, the point is to unlock people’s memories of visual images, special objects, experiences, as well as patterns and messages received about their relationship to the world. By becoming more aware of their past-place stories, both designers and non-designers can identify their “highest positive associations with past place” — the primal, satisfying essence of these most special places. They can then use these “high positives” to help envision ideal designs of homes, of buildings, landscapes and even towns or cities in a way that mirrors their most fulfilled selves. Thus, they experience emancipatory design — design of depth and connection between self and place.

"Design Psychology as emancipatory design offers us the opportunity to create places that have meaning for us rather than places that express some stylized, homogenized or dictatorial ideal."

Understanding Design Psychology

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