Why is it that holidays and other special days are always associated with gifts? Sure, giving and receiving itself is a great way to express how you feel, but times have changed and now the price and size of gifts is emphasized more than the feeling behind it. Every Christmas I feel stress from trying to live up to gifts that I bought my family and friends in prior years. I want to make sure it’s something that they will like and doesn’t seem cheap. It’s truly sad to me that it has come to equating people to a certain price. When we start choosing gifts based mostly on price we begin to collect more things that have less meaning. When we discussed Needs in Empathic Design it made a lot of sense to me and caused me to really think about how much space and material items are really necessary. My room at home is messy practically all the time and one of the main reasons for that is because I have too much stuff and not enough room to store it. In addition, there are many things sitting around in my room that I never look at or use. A few months ago I sorted through my clothing and got rid of things that I realized I no longer needed though I’m still working on getting rid of more. In fact, it has gotten to the point that I hardly spend any time in my bedroom at home anymore because all the stuff in it is overwhelming and stresses me out just looking at it. I strongly believe that as the reading by Fletcher is true, that happiness doesn’t spring from more money and material goods. In fact, when I heard about the flat pack homes that IKEA sells in class it really made stood out as something smart for people fresh out of college or those without a lot of money to spend so as to prevent debt. Living in a small place may not seem as ideal as having a large place but when there is less to clean and take care of it also helps to bring the family or people living there together and give them a closer bond. Discussing human needs in class really made me grateful that I grew up in a small house and am very close with my family. I think it’s important that people come to the conclusion that less is more because it will be beneficial to them in the long run. The concept of designing for human needs and putting meaning into our purchases is very pertinent because it can change our lifestyles for the better and make us feel happier.
The reading about design for human needs was very intriguing and an easy read that caught my attention and made me keep reading. I believe that it’s very relevant to our class simply because it focuses on bringing back meaning to material goods and thus helps to create more sustainable products. Design activism is a concept that was quite difficult for to grasp possibly because it seems so different than everything else we have covered in class until now. However, I can see how design activism is very applicable to our sustainability class because it involves changing our standards and the way we think which could very well save us from the environmental issues we are currently facing.