Philosophy of Design Based on Spiritual Hierarchy Theory

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 796)


Design is a combination of science and art in modern society. With the social progress and the development of modern science and technology, products of great design are at a premium. The principle, proposed by Louis Sullivan, form follows function, now is gradually going to be changed into form follows emotion. This requires all designers should work for people. This is what we called as human centered design nowadays.

Individual’s behavior is of duality, namely independent behavior and role behavior. Independent behavior is performed out of instinct. Role behavior happens with the thought under the role that people assume in the society. But both of them are driven by diverse physiological needs and psychological desires. Sigmund Freud, the Austrian neurologist, is the founder of psychoanalysis and divides human consciousness into three levels in his Spiritual Hierarchy Theory. They are consciousness, preconsciousness and subconsciousness. All human mental activities including desire, impulse, thinking, fantasy, judgment, decision and emotion all happen and work in these three spiritual hierarchies.

The worldwide famous Japanese design master, Naoto Fukasawa, proposes the view of design without thought, which is correspond to the trend of modern design, human centered design. He promotes that designers should be inspired by the attention to details in daily life, find and polish subsistent things, change unconscious behaviors into visible designs.

This article studies user unconscious behavior models from the perspective of psychology, praxeology and cognition. With the corresponding unconscious behavior applied to the design, product can then successfully stimulate the users to produce similar emotions, arouse their memories and experiences, which can guide the unconscious behavior. This will make the usage a smooth process and enhance the user experience.


Spiritual Hierarchy Theory Preconsciousness Behavior Philosophy of design Without Thought 



This research was supported by master studio project of regional characteristic product research and development for “the belt and road initiatives” supported by shanghai summit discipline in design (Granted No. DC17013).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Art Design and MediaEast China University of Science & TechnologyShanghaiChina

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