申し訳ありません。このコンテンツはただ今、英語のみとなります。 For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

How does personality condition our design perception?

Our personalities are like lenses through which we magnify parts of the external environment and invite them exclusively into our subjective world. Certain people may find themselves overwhelmed by a particular texture on a countertop, a rare scale of an opening, or a specific bend at the corner of an antiquated vitrine. Common external structures become variables assimilated differently by each person. Therefore, we see what we are.

adf-web-magazine-lenses-designing by personality

The various lenses through which we see the world - Image: no attribution required

So how does personality condition our design perception?

“What is inside is also outside, and what is outside is also inside,” said Rita Trombin, Milan-based environmental psychologist. “Our interrelationship with the environment is a constant in our lives, radically determining our bodily functions, emotions, thoughts, and behavior. At the same time, the places we live in reflect who we are. Therefore, design and personality are mutually dependent and reinforcing themes, fundamental to acknowledge by anyone working with people and the environment. For instance, a work environment designed to satisfy all personality types plays a vital role in how productive and enjoyable working hours can be.”

One of the fascinating things about interior design is the ability to create a space that is filled with familiar items. One is free to design and mold their immediate world and let it direct their daily actions and trigger their psychological state as one wishes. That is the topmost reason most people love their “home sweet home.” They chose the triggers in their rooms based on what they treasured, marking it as a haven occupied with positive stimuli. Nonetheless, once we exit our homes, we lose control of those external influences. The designed habitat becomes less subjective, less emotional, and more functional toward the operation of a worker ant colony. The alleyway next door or the creepy design of a particular corner shop all become suggested by force rather than subjective design.

adf-web-magazine-imagine the personality-designing by personality

How do you imagine the personality of the person living here? Organized, successful, disciplined? - Image: no attribution required

adf-web-magazine-what sort of personality lives here-designing by personality

How do you imagine the personality of the person living here? Creative, artistic, visionary? - Image: no attribution required

Extroversion and introversion are central anchors of human personality traits that paint people’s preferences for perceived designed spaces. Generally speaking, extroverts lean towards open balconies and terraces because they have an innate desire for communication opportunities from which they draw energy. On the other hand, introverts sway near cozy corners, private huts, and narrow lanes to collect energy from their secluded thoughts. Introverts appreciate interaction pauses and thus are more likely to divert toward a fireplace, a hung painting, or an aquarium rather than a big hall or–god forbid–some performance podium. Extroverts may favor houses with broader and more transparent windows than introverts, who might prefer to shut down external noise and unwind with a good book near a careless fleecy cat.

adf-web-magazine-cabin in the woods-designing by personality

Introverts might be more drawn to a cabin in the woods than extroverts - Image: no attribution required

adf-web-magazine-couches in an outdoor space-designing by personality

More seats in an exposed space? You’ll more likely find extroverts hanging around in such a space - Image: no attribution required

adf-web-magazine-what does this space reveal-designing by personality

What does this space reveal about its resident, potential introvert or extrovert? - Image: no attribution required

adf-web-magazine-long and wide windows-designing by personality

What do the long and wide windows suggest about the resident, potential introvert or extrovert? - Image: no attribution required

As light is faster than sound, our programmed emotional responses are more immediate than our rational consciousness of them. Upon meeting an item, a space, or a person, we might act in a particular unconscious manner, only to wonder later why we had reacted that way! Try to catch yourself next time you smile or fringe the moment you see something or meet someone before you even begin to rationalize the reason for your emotional response. You might ask yourself: from where did that emotional response come? Those reactions often originate from an unconscious cognitive bias dictated by the repetitive programming of the media, upbringing, past experiences, and a genetic structure that overall make up our personality. That is the same intensely entrenched anchor people use to favor–let’s say–a curvy door knob over a straight one or a leather couch over one made of linen.

Although many designs can be seen as “objectively” captivating, subjective bias still plays a massive role in our ruling. Recall a time when you were drawn to someone just because of how they smiled or because of an aloofness that you found adorable. People like to receive–not only what is most beautiful–but what is familiar. Familiarity breeds contempt in many instances. Nevertheless, it often also fosters connection. That enthralling smile might be close to the smile a mother used to give. That piece of furniture could have resembled a childhood living room seat which one used as a trampoline. Unable to recall those past moments in retrospect, you might consider yourself attracted to a random person or a random object for a “random reason.” “I don’t know what it is,” you might say. Alain de Botton, in his book “The Architecture of Happiness,” expresses it exquisitely when he says: “The places we call beautiful are, by contrast, the work of those rare architects with the humility to interrogate themselves adequately about their desires and the tenacity to translate their fleeting apprehensions of joy into logical plans – a combination that enables them to create environments that satisfy needs we never consciously knew we even had.”

Aside from self-examination, optical illusion tests are a form of art, an aesthetic style that can give you access to your subconscious mind, a way of design that informs the self rather than the other way around. It allows you to gain insight into your lens or the kind of mentality rendering the world around you. Based on the object that your eyes and brain record at the first moment of contact with such an art reveals the truth about you in a certain way: whether you have an inclination for introversion or extroversion, optimism or pessimism, and so on. Throughout optical illusion aesthetics, patterns in art begin to expose our own internal ways.

adf-web-magazine-pay attention-designing by personality

Pay attention - Image: no attribution required

In 2021, Trombin published the paper "Working with fractals: a resource for practitioners of biophilic design." She found that among the patterns of biophilic design, fractals are the unique trademark of nature to make complexity comprehensible, and they apply to virtually any domain of life.

“Studying fractal patterns in nature made me see that our personality is also self-organized into patterns. We are nature. So, all personality traits and types are different strategies that we naturally embrace to adapt to the environment to which we are exposed since birth. Therefore, just as psychology decodes the patterns of human personality, so does biophilic design decode the patterns of nature,” Trombin explained.

adf-web-magazine-fractal patterns in nature -designing by personality

Fractals patterns in nature - Image: no attribution required

Isn’t it bizarre that most people cross life unaware of the nature within and beyond them? The real-life experiment for every person is to understand their true selves and seek to find patterns and recall incidents from their past that have resulted in how they view life the way they do. Designers should start with the end in mind: personalities, starting with their own. Even before human-centric design, which has trended for years, there lies an absurdly deserted priority: self-centered investigation.