Home Improvement as a Proxy for Human Focused Design: 3Fs and an E

By Jeff Baker, posted on January 29, 2019

Jeff Baker, CEO Image 4, Chair, Future Branches

Home Improvement as a Proxy for Human Focused Design: 3Fs and an E

I’m in the depths of remodeling my 1930’s Bungalow bathroom.

“Wait!” I hear you say. “What does a bathroom have to do with branded environments?”

I’ve noticed over the past several weeks while steeped in the renovation project, that they both depend on the 3F’s of dimensional design: Form, Fit and Function. Designers embrace all three of these elements to create a place or object that feels right, behaves as it should and is easy to live or work with. The 3F’s, when optimized, deliver the holy grail of “Human Focused Design”.

Human Focused Design sits squarely at the nexus of the commercial concepts of brand design and architecture. At Image 4 we call it “brand architecture”, because the 3F’s should always work together to create and deliver the human brand experience.

Form is the shape or mass that a designed object or space takes. It’s typically the first thing people think of when they hear the word “design”. It brings to mind shapes, aesthetic qualities, and dimensions rather than how an object might actually be used.

Fit is seemingly tactical: either a pair of shoes “fits” or it doesn’t. But in our world, the term is used as a way to describe what is “suitable”, which is a far more aspirational concept. To determine Fit, you need to answer the question: “What would be an appropriate and suitable design solution for this need?” Thus, in good design, “Fit” will drive “Form”.

Function is my favorite. It’s the interdisciplinary part of  our work that makes both left- and right-brain people see beauty and value in good design. The most beautiful space in the world is useless if it doesn’t function well for us.

Our design studio specializes in human-centered brand designs for the spaces where people work, sell and buy. We are laser-focused on the suitability of our branded environments to shape mind share, influence behavior, and improve the functionality of moving people through these spaces. But that’s not all Image 4 delivers.

In the 8 x 12-foot confines of a 1930’s bathroom, all the decisions from the size and shape of tile, to the height of the chair rail, to just the right black base tile are driven by our interaction with the tiny space and it’s form, fit, and function. The missing element? Emotional connection. The design intent in a beloved historic structure has an emotional requirement: it has to suggest the historic period and evoke that nostalgic feeling (while also making the space look larger!)

This is where our Bungalow bathroom analogy explains the difference between conventional architecture and a branded environment. The branded environment must deliver that fourth component – the Emotion – to the space where we interact.

Through excellent integration of Form, Fit and Function, as well as the Emotional sensitivity to the historic touch-points in a 1930’s Bungalow, the emotional “brand” experience, of the small, exquisite, comfortable Bungalow space is delivered. 

Because, It’s About the Experience®


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