Can product designs buy you happiness?

In many feel-good advertisements, there is often the portrayal of happy faces associated with the usage of the product being advertised. You see happy and satisfied faces in advertisements for cars, home appliances and all kinds of products. Having being a teaching staff, I also often hear students saying that they want to design products that will make people happy.

The question is:

Can product designs really buy you happiness?

Before going on further, I want to state that this post is purely my personal take on these matter. It is just my own opinion. And my opinion is a NO. Product Designs cannot buy one happiness.

Product design can fill a gap in a need or desire, but that is not the same as being happy. In another word, desire or need fulfilled doesn’t always equate to happiness. It equates to a reduction of ‘angst’ and ‘discomfort’ associated with not having something. At best, products can provide a temporary relief from the discomfort of not having one’s need met.

Happiness should really be something that is on a different strata from ‘discomfort-relief’. Happiness can be ‘less is more’. If products can give happiness, then we will have loads of happy people in the world.

Human Beings, being social animals strongly associate and evaluate their percieved well-beings against the perception of others. This is perhaps how it is possible to create a trend and cause a buying frenzy. It feels alienating to be without something that the majority within the social or age segment has.

Of course product design is a very important and essential part of human existence. It does make life easier and less troublesome. If the intention for specific products is kept at a realistic level, then its objectives can be achieved. However, if we think that product design can provide the needed happiness, then we are just deluding ourselves.