Design for Fundamental Needs

Identifying and designing for enjoyable and meaningful experiences

The essence of design lies in its ability to meet individual and collective needs. The relevance, purpose, meaning, and success of any design (product, service, building, etcetera) hinge on how well it satisfies fundamental needs. Design that addresses human needs not only evokes positive emotions but also has the potential to enhance long-term happiness.

This Master Class features a blend of interactive tutorials and workshops, exploring various aspects of design related to fundamental human needs, emotion, and happiness. The program includes theory, measurement, and practical applications. Participants will be introduced to design approaches that are grounded in robust theory yet remain pragmatic and user-friendly. By the end of the masterclass, participants will have deepened their understanding of fundamental needs, how design elicits emotions, and influences happiness. They will also gain hands-on experience in formulating design intentions that include Fundamental Needs.

Learning Objectives

During this masterclass, you will learn to:

  • Understand what fundamental needs are and how they drive human emotions.
  • Understand what emotions are and how design evokes emotions.
  • Use tools and techniques to implement needs and emotions in design processes.


  • Fundamental need, emotion and well-being related theory and research methods.
  • Design for fundamental needs and emotion techniques and methodologies.
  • Practical tools that can be immediately applied in everyday practice, along with a comprehensive reference guide.


Pieter Desmet is full Professor of Design for Experience at IDE, TU Delft. He has published over 100 articles and books in the fields of experience design, emotion, design for fundamemtal needs and subjective well-being.