Many have always held true to the idea that design involves many imperceptible qualities and ideas that are unique to each designer, but Dutch designer Merel Bekking has a different theory. She’s come up with an experiment to find the “perfect” design by scanning people’s brains to determine the aesthetic qualities they respond most favourably to.
In collaboration with scientists in Amsterdam, Bekking used an MRI scanner to determine people’s preferences when it comes to shape, colour and material. 20 volunteers were shown 252 images which consisted of five different textures: wood, paper, plastic, steel and stone. They were then exposed to eight shapes: round, organic, square and rectangular, presented open or closed. Finally, they were shown ten colours and four different types of paintings that depicted various scenes.
Of all the various combinations; the results showed that our brains respond most positively to objects that are red, plastic and formed in closed organic shapes. Bekking added that the results were surprising because they contradicted what individuals thought they liked. “It shows that design is subject to context and that people think they like something, but maybe they prefer to give socially desirable answers,” she explained.
Images: Merel Bekking