There are many things in this world that transcend boundaries, like art, literature, human rights, science, food, the environment, and emotions. While I count many of these among my passions, I’d like to focus on one – design.
Imagine the chaotic, high-energy atmosphere of a store compared to the respectful, serene healing spaces of a doctor’s office. At first glance, they might seem worlds apart, but look closer, and you’ll find that design – specifically human-centered design – is the bridge that connects them.
Human-centered design isn’t confined to one industry or another; it’s a universal language that enhances the human experience no matter the location, application, or size of a space. Let’s talk about some commonalties:
The Art of Creating Experiences
Human-centered design is all about creating experiences that put people…humans… at the epicenter of the experience. Whether you’re stepping into a captivating retail space, enjoying a relaxing stay in the hospitality sector, optimizing your workspace for productivity, or seeking wellness in a healthcare facility, the essence remains the same. It’s about making people’s lives better by delighting, informing, and engaging them and their unique needs. It’s about designing environments that heal, guide, uplift, or fuel productivity.
One Financial, Boston
Personalization and Human-Centered Design
Personalization is a fundamental component of design, enabling the customization of the experiences to individual preferences and needs. Brands that incorporate personalization into the design of their experiences see a significant 10-20% increase in satisfaction. This trend is evident across various industries, illustrating the shared human desire for recognition and individualism in a “me”-centric world.
Seamless Journeys and Wayfinding
Have you every struggled to navigate a hotel, searched for the restrooms in a workplace, been lost in a store, or been challenged to find your way around a hospital? Effective wayfinding ensures visitors can effortlessly navigate spaces, whether they’re hunting for latest gadget, on their way to a doctor’s appointment, or navigating the new hotel property where they’ll spend their vacation week. According to the International Sign Association, a well-designed wayfinding system reduces confusion and stress levels, enhancing the overall user experience.
Madison Yards, Atlanta, GA
Tech as an Enabler
Technology has transformed from a simple tool to an essential part of our everyday lives. It’s the thread that ties us to our modern world, shaping our global experiences and interactions. This tethering of humanity to technology is a fundamental aspect of design; we rely on it as our primary source of information, entertainment, and communication. How tech is integrated into the experience can and should range from loud and visible to calm and discovered.
American Girl, Various Locations
The Power of Cross-Collaboration
In today’s interconnected world, it’s increasingly clear that collaboration across disciplines is essential to drive design innovation. Designers, architects, and strategists from all sectors bring distinct perspectives, sources of inspiration, and best practices, opening channels of communication and sharing that unlock the potential for growth, innovation, and positive change. This collaborative dynamic is a testament to the versatility of design principles that prioritize people at the center of every experience, sparking new, exciting possibilities that can shape a brighter, more connected future.
The Gathering at South Forsyth, Alpharetta, GA
As a collective design community, we share a fundamental truth that transcends the boundaries of our individual industry sectors: we have more similarities than differences when it comes to creating, designing, and building experiences that are not only brand relevant but also engaging for us – humans. Whether we’re optimizing workplaces, shaping healing healthcare spaces, crafting relaxing hospitality getaways, increasing productivity in a warehouse, or shaping retail, the core principle remains constant. It’s about putting people, their needs, and their emotions at the center of our creative process. This shared commitment to enhancing the human experience unites us in a common mission, as the universal language of design thrives on its ability to inspire, innovate, and transform the world around us.
Bevan Bloemendaal, Chief Brand and Creative Officer
Today, we must be cultivators of change and provocateurs of expression, speaking directly to the heart and head of colleagues and customers fueling curiosity, making them feel alive, heard and special through unexpected distinct, delightful moments and curated experiences. The degree to which we are successful in building our NELSON culture will directly translate to our ability to attract talent, strengthen partnerships, elevate design and curate human experiences that solve for present realities and future uncertainties.