Using symbolic meaning as a means to design for happiness: The development of a card set for designers

Mafalda Marques Ribeiro Da SilvaCasais, Ruth Mugge, Pieter Desmet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Using design to improve the lives of people towards a positive flourishing state is the main premise of Positive Design. Our contribution to this growing field focuses on making use of the symbolic meaning that design can have to bolster
human happiness. This paper presents the development of a card set for designers aiming to inspire design for happiness. The card set is explored in three sessions with groups of design educators, design students and design professionals respectively to
collect diversified recommendations to improve its format and use. The resulting SIM toolkit for designers (‘Design with symbolic meaning for user happiness’), composed of a card set and a website, is disclosed and a workshop on how to use it is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS 2016
Subtitle of host publicationDesign + Reseach + Society, Future-Focused Thinking
EditorsPeter Lloyd, Erik Bohemia
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherThe Design Research Society
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventDRS 2016: Design + Research + Society, Future-Focused Thinking, The 50th Anniversary DRS Conference - Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 201630 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameDRS International Conference Series
PublisherThe Design Research Society
ISSN (Electronic)2398-3132


ConferenceDRS 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • symbolic meaning
  • positive design
  • happiness
  • design toolkit


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