10 Ideas for Creating Great Experiences

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Aug 19 2013, Posted by Lisa Cramer

Here are a few thoughts on what I think goes into creating great experiences. This is by no means an end-all be-all list, rather ten simple statements that I feel every designer should consider during their process.  These ten points are the result of a recent trip to Italy where I attended a class at the Domus Academy. They are the result of exploring Milan, taking pictures, watching people, and thinking about how it all connects….  Ready set – here we go!


I hope you have ‘smell-a-vision’ installed on your screen!  What can you do to make every experience, product, or service you design fire-on all senses?  Simple enough.


In this store, delicate crystal light bulbs are displayed as if in a fresh fruit market. I thought the idea was a charming and intriguing way to present a (relatively expensive) product in a way that was so accessible and familiar. Some in the biz might call this unexpected surprise ’delight’.


Louis Vuitton does what Louis Vuitton wants. They do this because they can…and more so because they have the confidence to do so. I think being this confident allows them a certain creative freedom that some may stifle before it ever has a chance to be released. I see their confidence and competence as a direct reflection of the quality and care they put into their product. It is truth in material and a truth in realization of a creative vision that makes something authentic.


In the exhibit above, a striking light cuts the ceiling and projects onto the floor below. Visitors are drawn to investigate and cross the line on the floor. The light creates ‘this side’ and it creates ‘that side’.  It almost forces the visitor to choose a side. The light also visually divides the space into two spaces without the use of physical materials, all of which I find fascinating.


Perhaps this is nowhere more true than inside a church. Our voices become a whisper and our steps become soft. From a young age, we are taught that ‘there is a time and place for everything’… Well, if we are the designers of ‘places’ where ‘things’ happen then how can we plan for those spaces to elicit a shift in behavior?


When people experience something, it is an exchange of time. At some point in the process a person decides to spend their time doing an activity and in return, the activity rewards them in the form of an experience. A clear goal of designing experiences is to hold the participant’s attention and engage participants in a meaningful way.


The store pictured above is built entirely of cylinder tubes of various lengths and diameters. Like it or not, aesthetically it holds tightly to its theme and in doing so, creates a unique environment to shop in. It is important not to overwhelm an experience with too many other experiences…ya know!?  K.I.S.S.


I watched this man sit in a photo-booth in a hot subway station and make funny faces at himself for about 10 minutes. Busy commuters passed by without noticing the wonderful world this man was creating for himself inside the booth. After the camera shutter stopped, he snatched up the pile of freshly processed images and walked away smiling from ear to ear.  It was a simple moment, yet one that I won’t soon forget and neither will he thanks to his new self portraits.


Pictured above is a BMW Motorad pop up shop on a floating barge that was docked along a trendy canal. In true pop up fashion, none of the contents of the barge was there the night before.  Inside models poured champaign and DJ’s spun music into the night. There were only a few actual motorcycles on display in the midst of all of the ‘lifestyle’. I wondered, what was the focus…the product or the shop?


Little explanation is needed here. If people can’t connect, you’re doing it wrong.


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