This course is cross-listed in the engineering and design schools, and open to students from all schools. In today’s competitive landscape, products and services that connect with human meaning, usability, and emotions are more likely to be successful. Designing for desirability begins with questions of what we mean by ‘desirable’ and ‘for whom’. It can mean irresistible, delightful, meaningful, cool, covetable, viral, easy, and more. The class explores different meanings of desirability in design.

Designers, engineers, developers, entrepreneurs, architects and creators of all kinds work in professions where technical functionality and economic viability are no longer enough to remain competitive. Design for desirability has long characterized the creative industries, and in this course, students learn from these principles, and practice applying them to other forms of innovation – from improving health literacy campaigns to revamping declining technologies or redefining luxury goods as both aspirational and sustainable. This course uses experiential and case-based methods across a range of domains. Students study examples of how organizations like Apple, Lyft, IDEO, Duolingo, Nike, Gucci, Pinterest, Tesla, Sonos, and Bose use different approaches to strategically design for desirability. Students then apply these concepts for themselves through design challenges.