Our Brains Love Round Designs

Appreciating the majestic curves of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum Bilbao may not be just a matter of personal taste. Scientists have found that our brains are hard-wired to appreciate curved objects. "Curvature appears to affect our feelings, which in turn could drive our preference," as one psychologist told Co.Design.

How To Draw A Map

Vision scientists at MIT have developed a computer model to visualize the way our brains really read a transit map. These "mongrels" show that designer Massimo Vignelli's rejected 1972 subway map was far easier to read than the version we have today (which the public preferred). Read more here.

Classroom Design Changes How Students Learn

Think an ugly classroom can do the same job as a beautiful one? Think again. A study in the journal Building and the Environment found that classroom design could have as much as a 25% impact in either direction on a student's learning. An entire year of academic progress separated students in the best-designed classrooms from those in the worst. Read on.

Color Makes The Logo

When graphic designer Paula Rupolo swapped the color schemes of familiar brands' logos, she discovered how integral a company's colors are to its identity. "When you switch to a competitor’s colors, your brain notices there's something that doesn’t fit, that makes you go, 'What's going on here?'" she explains. See for yourself.

We've Been Doing Coffee All Wrong

Your morning Red Eye not perking you up enough? It might have to do with chronopharmacology, how your biological rhythms interact with drugs. Grab your cup o' joe between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., when cortisol levels drop, for the greatest energy spike. Find out more here.

Tech Is Molding Our Posture

Oh god, our smartphones are controlling us! A set of illustrations from the ebook Curious Rituals highlights the ridiculous ways we contort our bodies to accommodate technology. Bets that you've been caught in almost all of these unnatural positions?

You're More Likely To Buy On An iPad

In a phenomenon psychologists call "the endowment effect," people tend to overvalue items they own. Even if you just touch or hold something in a store, you can start to feel possessive, and may be more willing to buy it. On a touch screen like an iPad, this effect proves especially salient, a recent study found.

Desk Plants = Productivity

Finding it hard to concentrate at your desk? Try getting a plant. In a pair of recent studies, a group of Norwegian scientists found that office foliage substantially increased worker productivity. They have a few theories as to why.

Google Glass Will Make Us Crash

Somewhere around 1,500 people a year go to the hospital with a bad case of "distracted walking," i.e. trying to navigate while using a cell phone. So what happens when everyone's walking around with Google Glass? Pandemonium.

Creatives Are Crazy

Creative brilliance comes at a price. According to a group of Austrian neuroscientists, people who are vulnerable to schizophrenia share some of the same brain activation patterns as creative types. Creatives and schizophrenics may share an inability to filter out extraneous information in the brain. Read more here.

How To Make An Infographic

According to Harvard engineer Michelle Borkin, making an infographic memorable comes down to a few things: recognizable objects, a lot of color and visual density. Oh, and of course, curves. Find out why.

Dim Lighting Is Inspiring

When the lights switch off, something in the brain goes on. "Apparently, darkness triggers a chain of interrelated processes, including a cognitive processing style, which is beneficial to creativity," psychologists found in a September study.

Design Can Save Lives

Preventable medical errors kill thousands of Americans every year. A project called DOME, "designing out medical error," came up with a prototype medical station that puts almost everything a medical practitioner needs to care for patients at the end of their hospital bed. Check it out.

13 Ways Science Could Make You A Better Designer

From how to design a memorable infographic to what time of day to drink coffee

According to the number of searches it garnered on Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, the word of the year is science. Here in the design world, we learned a lot from the world of lab coats and microscopes in 2013, from why Frank Gehry's architecture is inherently alluring to why it's so tough to walk while wearing Google Glass. Here are some of the coolest things science revealed about design and innovation this year. Use them to hone your craft in 2014!

Add New Comment