In designer Ingrid Fetell Lee’s TED Talk called “Where joy hides and how to find it,” Fetell Lee talks about her 10-year journey to understand the relationship between the physical world and the emotion we call joy. She points out the differences between happiness and joy, and shares results of her research about where joy resides in our world, what it looks like and what it doesn’t. After watching, we wondered: Which brands deliver joy?
What joy looks like
Fetell Lee calls herself the “Nancy Drew of joy.” Conducting her research, she began asking people what brought them joy to get a clearer picture of where the emotion comes from. She received responses like swimming pools, tree houses, cherry blossoms, bubbles, rainbows and ice cream with sprinkles. After obsessing over pictures of these joy-delivery mechanisms, Fetell Lee came to the following conclusion: “I saw all these patterns: round things, pops of bright color, symmetrical shapes, a sense of abundance and multiplicity or a feeling of lightness or elevation. When I saw it this way, I realized that though the feeling of joy is mysterious and elusive, we can access it through tangible, physical attributes, or what designers call aesthetics.”
Unexpected brands that are delivering joy
With Fetell Lee’s aesthetics in mind—roundness, pops of bright color, symmetrical shapes, abundance and lightness—we here are three examples of brands that seem to be inspiring joy. That said, these are companies in industries that aren’t typically considered particularly joyful. (It felt like cheating to include a toymaker.) Here are three companies delivering joy to customers right now:
1. McKinsey & Company
In “Reinvention: a short film,” global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company tells the story of some of its clients’ transformations—and its own—using text over imagery that is chock full of roundness, abundance and lightness. It’s hard not to get a sense of joy about what the company and its clients have accomplished after watching this 1:14 mini film.
In the eGuide sharing U.S. results of its Annual Global CEO Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers uses imagery that conveys elevation like views of a city skyline from the top of a building, hot air balloons in flight, wind turbines stretched over a landscape and a view of space. If not outright joyful, these lofty images help spread a sense of positivity for the guide’s readers.
In its giant-sized marketing campaign, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax and Quickbooks created a hero for its small-business targets. Their animated robot spreads joy—and the message that the company is “in it together” with small businesses—through TV, social, web and other advertising that features his round, colorful, elevated self.