Are You & Design Meant to Be?

Good design, honestly, is not for just anyone, or worse, everyone. Read on to discover if you and Design are meant to be. 

Humans have Different Needs, at Different Times

According to Maslow, humans, throughout our lives are motivated to fulfill progressively a hierarchy of different needs.

These needs can be categorized into lower-level ‘Deficit’ needs which must first be satisfied before higher-level ‘Growth’ needs start to emerge. The precedence, though, of these various needs may differ between individuals.

Low-level ‘Deficit’ Needs

These are needs that are driven to be fulfilled due to the ‘lack of something’: physiological, safety, belonging and love, and esteem. If one is hungry, one will be motivated to obtain food. If one is in danger, one will flee for safety. Without these and psychological needs met, a human cannot function optimally.

High-level ‘Growth’ Needs

These are needs that are driven by the intrinsic need of improvement or becoming one’s best self. They are: cognitive, aesthetics, self-actualization, and transcendence. These abstract needs tend to emerge only when lower-level needs have been met.

Read more about Maslow’s Hierarchy here! His hierarchy is reproduced here for illustration purposes.


Low-Level Needs Must First be Addressed

Basic physiological needs like food and water must first be fulfilled before psychological or more abstract needs higher up the hierarchy can be attended to. It is pretty obvious – if one has not eaten for days, is in perpetual risk of danger, or is psychologically disturbed, self-improvement or Design would be a concern far from their minds.

On the journey of life though, lower-level needs for the majority of us lucky ones, are often gradually met as we grow, evolve, and mature.


Design is a High-Level Need, with its own Trajectory

Design falls within the higher level ‘growth’ category which not all may see a need for, neither appreciate. Finally free from the need to focus on necessities to function as a human optimally, the need for improvement (of the self) and comfort (of one’s surrounding) emerges.

Stage 1:
Fed, sheltered, dressed, wanting to live better/ more comfortably, being able to afford it – that would be where the need for Design starts appearing – as good Design provides solutions to everyday needs and done well, makes everyday living extremely efficient and comfortable.

Stage 2:
Once a functional level of comfort is achieved though, one naturally continues progressing up the hierarchy. With time, one becomes more aware of the self. Sensitivity grows, one becomes more selective and if not already, starts developing a personal taste for aesthetics.

Stage 3:
Slowly, one eventually starts to see the need for customized solutions, ensuring the littlest minute detail is to their liking. Depending on one’s financial position and life priorities, the Design state here branches out with the individual.

Needless to say, those born into higher social classes have a jump-start having been born into comfort – and for them, Design is a non-negotiable element in their lives. Their foray deep into the luxurious depths of the Design galaxy takes them beyond what the average can comprehend – resulting in a divide so huge that the original meaning of Design disappears when observed from afar.


Design Might be For You – But Only When the Time is Right

Design is not for everyone.

It will gain importance for those who have passed a certain threshold in their lives. And when that time swings by, Design decisions should come from objective and clear decision-making (especially when faced with the huge array of choices modern times offer), resulting in optimal solutions suited to individual needs, tastes, and pockets – the best choices, for the right reasons, suited to one’s capacity.

One has to have the mental space and financial capacity that allows deeper consideration on how one needs to, wants to, and can afford to live.

In the post – ‘Stages of Life‘ – we shall try to project when the time could possibly ‘right’.

The writer is an Interior Designer who has lived in multiple dimensions and now seeks to bridge the Design gap between Worlds.