Ritual Design venn diagram explanation
 

Welcome!

We are interaction designers focused on the power of rituals to build value, meaning & community into our everyday experiences.
This site is a home for what we are calling a “ritual design”. We are combining the study of rituals with user centered experience design. On these pages, find explanations of how rituals work, lots of inspiration of successful rituals, and profiles of some of the ritual designs that we have been working.
Rituals can be grand, dramatic things, or they can be tiny, personal ones. Either way, rituals help people to understand the world, cope with transitions, express strong emotions, and build their own life story.Our hypothesis is that designers can use the patterns and mechanics of rituals to develop better designs — that are engaging for users, and that offer more meaning to them.

 

Ritual Design venn diagram white bg - by Margaret Hagan copy


Our Ritual Design Work

Our team holds workshops and classes to create new rituals, and to explore how designers can incorporate ritual methods into their work. Most of our classes are at Stanford’s Institute of Design (the d.school), where we teach Ritual Design.

Designing Autonomous Car to Human Rituals

In Jan 2018, we will be teaching a 2-session pop-up course, partnering with Stanford Center for Design Research. In this pop-up, we will be focusing on the human to machine rituals. We welcome students who are interested in how to create rich interactions in untapped territories of robots and artificial intelligence, and who want to explore humorous, strange, magical, and curious ways to do so.

Want to join us? Apply here — only for Stanford students and community.



Ritual Design for Orgs: Team Life Cycles

In October 2017, we will be teaching a 2-session pop-up course, partnering with Microsoft. In this pop-up, we will go after rapid ritual design sprints and look for the high emotional energy zones within teams. We welcome students who are interested in how to create stronger cultures in their own orgs and companies, and who want to explore humorous, strange, magical, and curious ways to do so.

Want to join us? Apply here — only for Stanford students.



Ritual Design for Org Change


In this class, we shifted our focus from personal rituals to organizations, and organizational change. In February 2017, we taught  a 2-session pop-up course at SAP Labs Palo Alto, on ritual design.

Rituals have a special power to bring people together and give them a sense of purpose, values, and meaning. Especially in the realms of sports, politics, and religion, rituals unite people and bring out deep emotions. How can we harness this power of rituals in other kinds of organizations?

In this pop-up we designed new rituals for a company, to explore how design methods and creative improvisation can help us craft more meaningful culture. Students worked in teams to rapidly prototype new rituals for our partner, and they will learn video storytelling techniques to capture them. We welcomed students who are interested in how to create stronger cultures in their own orgs and companies, and who want to explore humorous, strange, magical, and curious ways to do so.

See what we created at our write-up here — with lots of videos!. We also have a piece on our process in the class, where you can see a lot more details.





Personal Ritual Design

In February 2015, we taught a 3-session pop-up course at Stanford Institute of Design (the d.school) on ritual design. We used rituals as our framework to design rich experiences around four everyday themes: food, grooming, productivity, and commuting. We took existing routines, discovered new meaning(s), and infused ritual moments. Each student developed and create their own ritual concept.

While building on the entire design process, in this class the focus was on developing strong definition and ideation skills and using advanced tools such as experience/user journey mapping, abstract laddering and storyboarding.

We have a write-up of this class, with several of the designs and what we learned.


 


Design rituals with our app Ideapop

IdeaPop: a ritual design app from Margaret Hagan on Vimeo.

For our ritual design classes and workshops, we’ve synthesized the framework and inspiration we’ve been gathering into a brainstorm app, Ideapop. It gives structured prompts to you, as you think about what new ritual interactions you might create.

We built the app for a person or team to inspire better sparks for possible rituals, using always-new mixes of analogies, props, and contexts. The app gives you the context, and then lets you pop new ones, or record and take notes, photos, and videos to document what new rituals you design.


Ritual Design Hotline

You tell us your problem. We will make you a ritual.

The Problem: Parking Ticket Rage

I got a parking ticket. It was for not having my wheels turned into the curb. It’s ridiculous.

When I walked back to my car and saw that ticket, I felt a level of dread that soured my whole day. Now I am filled with rage. I don’t want to pay the money, but I did pay the money. I am still angry.


Our Ritual Design: Parking Ticket Sautee

It’s all about the rage. We designed a Parking Ticket Sautee ritual so you can eat it.

You must really eat the ticket to get the full benefit of the ritual. At least a bite. Or a taste.



The Problem: Credit Term Avoidance

I want to be better about credit cards. I sign up for them, get approved, all is well. Then I get a huge, nasty packet of paper in the mail, along with the beautiful little plastic card. I never read the paper.

It ends up on a shelf, or in a drawer, and I cant throw it away. What can I do to get myself to read it, know it, and throw it away?


Our Ritual Design: Luxuriate in Boredom

We made a ritual for you. It will be boring, but in a kind of meditative, spa way. Let it wash over you. And then you can burn and shred that paper once you’re done being thoroughly, refreshingly bored by it.

Please follow the picture precisely. You must soak in the boredom. Enjoy the pens. This is a special occasion — mark it up with lines and eat the chocolate.




Have you made or seen an interesting ritual?

Add it to our Ritual Inventory

  • Think of these five while writing your ritual: who was there? what did they do? what objects are involved? when did it happen, how often? Where did it happen? why is it important?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Posts on Rituals

Touch Here for Special Powers pre-game ritual design
A small ritual for starting the day. We were inspired by the Notre Dam football ...
Prototyping a pop-up prayer ritual kit
Scenes from a Sunday morning design session -- assembling a special ritual kit, that would ...
The Ritual Design Matrix
For our most recent Ritual Design class, we drafted this 2x2 matrix for our students ...
The Post-It Wall of Dreams
We found this Ritual in a cafe in an arcade in Berkeley, California. After you get ...
Dropbox took a humorous path and made a pitch video with puppets. Intended audience seems ...
Hacking ritual design
We've been prepping for our October 2017 Ritual Design for org class at Stanford d.school. ...
Divorce Makeover Ritual
The New York Times has an article in their Fashion and Style Section, After Weiner’s ...
Magic ritual to trap autonomous cars
Artist James Bridel designed a trapping ritual for an autonomous car as a way to bring ...
Religion from machines: an engineer’s AI god vision
The Guardian has an interesting profile today of a project from the (in)famous engineer Anthony ...
[embed][/embed] Design researchers in Stanford, in Virginia Tech, at Nissan, in Ford, and beyond have been ...
Curious Rituals: A Digital Tomorrow from Near Future Laboratory on Vimeo. A team from the Southern ...
Designing Speculative Rituals — how we get to new rituals and better designs
Two University of Southern California researchers and designers, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz and Jeff Watson, presented at a ...
A Ritual Design Reading List
In the run up to our upcoming classes and workshops on ritual design, we've been ...
To Do Cup ritual
Sunday night is high stress: so many meant things to do. I have crafted a ...
Meet Pepper, the spiritual robot
Increase in the aging population of Japan + Japanese' changing lifestyles open up new ways ...
Productivity Rituals, Workaholism, and Corporate Religion
Reading the buzzed about NYTimes piece In Silicon Valley, Working 9 to 5 Is for ...
Ritual Design Reading List: Reinventing Ritual in contemporary Jewish life
We found this beautiful artbook, Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life, as ...
The To- do Cup Ritual
Productivity is one of the major Self-Ritual, life-Hacking themes we've found in our lab. So ...
Cursing as a ritual
The Case for Cursing in the New York Times lays out the magic that ...
Chris Murchison of the HopeLab has been working on gratitude rituals in workplaces -- non-profits, ...
The Fail Cheese Ritual
We realize there could be a whole branch of Failure Rituals -- ways that people ...
Tax Day Love Money ritual
Jolene Brink writes of her tax rituals in Tax Day Is My New Year’s Eve, ...
Letter writing ritual box
To better follow through on my New Year's resolution of writing more mail, I designed ...
Ritual Co-Design and Transitions
A PhD student in Australia, Kirsten Moegerlein, has a very interesting research proposal that focuses ...
Ritual Design for Enchanting Transitions
A few years ago, Kursat and I wrote a position paper for a symposium at ...
IdeaPOP: a ritual design brainstorming app
We created the app IdeaPOP for our class at Stanford, to help facilitate better -- ...
Mourning a Fired (Disruptive) Employee ritual
In our Stanford d.school class on designing rituals for organizations, we gave some case studies ...
Day-After-Election Anger Rituals
In the wake of November's election, we've remixed some other mourning and dealing-with-problem rituals into ...
The Value of High-Intensity, Extreme Rituals
The Puzzle of Extreme Rituals, is a class and stream of research at the University ...
A New Credit Card Ritual recipe
We are experimenting with the best ways to capture a ritual. One model is the ...
In Grief, Try Personal Rituals – The Atlantic
Author Emily Esfahani Smith has an article in The Atlantic, called "In Grief, Try Personal ...
The artist Jenny Suhonen has a video documenting her burial ritual of other people's burdens. ...
How do you design a ritual?
 This post was originally published at our publication on Medium.   In ritual, the world as lived ...
Introducing Ritual Design: meaning, purpose, and behavior change
This post was originally posted on our Medium Publication on Ritual Design. --- Part 1 of a ...
Designing Food Rituals
In our ritual design work, we are coming across a few themes -- family, productivity, ...
Redesigning Mondays via Rituals
IDEO NewYork partnered with Studio360, a WNYC radio show hosted by Kurt Andersen, and crafted ...
Market St. Wish #4: Je Souhaite trouver le bonheur <3
Every day we will be posting one of the Market Street wishes that was tied ...
Baby Blessing Ritual
A ritual reported by one of our visitors: Participant dresses up and kneels while burning previously-prepared ...
‘Better Than Before,’ by Gretchen Rubin, a book on habits & behavior change
‘Better Than Before,’ by Gretchen Rubin is reviewed in the NYTimes by Hanna Rosin today. ...
Funerals for robot dogs
Robots dogs that are no longer supported by Sony, which made them, are being laid ...
Devotional Gardening
Our colleague Carl Di Salvo’s Public Design Workshop has a nice example of a ritual ...
AnxietyBox for deleting your anxieties
AnxietyBox is an interesting little ritual product that writer/programmer Paul Ford created.  The problem: anxieties ...
Smartphone apps for Happiness & Calm
The NYTimes reviews 3 smartphone apps to encourage meditation, gratitude exercises, and calmness. The apps: Calm: guided ...
Mary Oliver on How Habit Gives Shape to Our Inner Lives
An article from Brain Pickings on the power of habit, profiling the poet & memoiristMary ...
Ritual Shop, bringing meaning into the mundane
Ritual Shop is a Tumblr blog full of ritual design work, from Lillian Shi Tong. ...
The Value of Time-Indulgent Ritual in Your Workday
The Value of Ritual in Your Workday - HBR. Peter Bregman has a 2010 article ...
How Ritual Delivers Performance: Lessons from Sports for Org Design
How Ritual Delivers Performance - HBR. Paolo Guenzi writes in the Harvard Business Review on the ...
The Difference Between Routine and Ritual: How to Master the Balancing Act of Controlling Chaos and Finding Magic in the Mundane | Brain Pickings
The Power of Food Rituals (and Pre-Consumption Rituals)
Nadia Arumugam writes on Forbes, in July 2013 on the power of food rituals -- ...
Jeff Bridges’ Sleeping Tapes
A funny kind of soundtrack for go-to-sleep rituals, from the actor Jeff Bridges -- he's ...
Out of The Closet t-shirt ritual
Another design project from Purin Phanichphant, this time about a man & his tshirts -- ...
Authenmathai, a Thai food machine
Authenmathai is a Thai-food-making machine from designer Purin Phanichphant. He made it while doing an ...
Enchanted Objects
David Rose, an inventor and a MIT Media Lab professor wrote a book on enchanted ...
The Somebody App, from routine to bizarre
I was listening to the podcast Reply All & heard a story based around the ...
Kitab Kebab
A kebab skewer pierces through a selection of Slavs and Tatars’ books, suggesting not only ...
Can we design boredom rituals?
Here's an article from the journal Behavioral Sciences in 2013, by Shane W. Bench and ...
Coffeemaker — Manual
Manual is a design driven brand from Chicago, focusing on rituals and meaning over routine. ...
Prayway at the intersection of sacred /profane
From Slavs and Tatars collective group, Prayway makes a strong case for a ritual object. A ...
Wait, what? Cremating Human Remains Into Diamonds…
I was intrigued when I first heard this rather interesting business from one of our ...
Feng Shui Rituals for a New Home
Philip Wong, a Feng Shui master, wrote the article Feng Shui Rituals for a New ...
Rituals to Clear Out Bad Home Energy
From Apartment Therapy, here is a list of Traditional Rituals to Clear Out Bad Home ...
Place design for healing rituals
Esther Sternberg studies how places -- and the design of spaces -- can affect humans' ...
Turkish kolonya refresh ritual
A sketch of a very ordinary Turkish ritual, that occurs when you visit someone's home ...
Applying a Fire God Ritual into Product Design
A book chapter from Cross-Cultural Design,  A Study of Applying Sakizaya Tribe’s Palamal (The Fire ...
IDEO’s Childbirth Ritual concept designs
via IDEO Imagines Five Products That Remake the Ritual of Childbirth | Co.Design | business ...
Apple Product Unpacking rituals
This story from Forbes on the importance of packaging highlights a quote from Walter Isaacson's ...
Russian departure ritual
Here is a ritual I experienced in small-city Russia.  Before you leave for a big ...
Makeshift issue on ritual & creativity
Makeshift — A field guide to hidden creativity has a new issue out, all about ...
Birthday rituals for adults
An interesting idea via How to Celebrate the Perfect Birthday (9 Ideas) by Kevin F. Adler ...
10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal from entrepreneurs & creatives
via 10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal - 99U. Sustained creativity doesn’t come from a flash ...
Graphic Design and Religion
via Graphic Design and Religion A Call for Renewal - Daniel Kantor - GIA Publications. Graphic ...
Design Anthropology for better product design
Dori Tunstall has a rich blog of insights on design anthropology, and how we can ...
Creative Routines
An infographic of artists' & writers' creative rituals, from Info We Trust.
Sun Dial: Exploring Techno-Spiritual Design through a Moblie Islamic app
Sun Dial: Exploring Techno-Spiritual Design through a Mobile Islamic Call to Prayer Application is a ...
Cem rituals from Alevis in Turkey
The Alevis are a sect in Turkey. This BBC 4 documentary on different religious practices ...
Baby-Jumping to clean them of sin in Spain
In the small town of Castrillo de Murcia, people jump over infants laid down on ...
Telling a story every night to my kids before going to sleep
With a startup of which I am a cofounder, work gets intense and family time ...
Is This Your Brain On God?
via Is This Your Brain On God? : NPR.: Brain Interactive is a piece on NPR ...
Daily Rituals of artists, a book by Mason Currey
via Mason Currey's site, where his book Daily Rituals is profiled: Franz Kafka, frustrated with his ...
Daily Rituals of Famous Authors 
via Daily Rituals of Famous Authors | Mason Currey. All of us have the same 24 hours a ...
Late night suit rituals
There is something magical, useless & bizarre about David Letterman's 1980s series of suit-related adventures.  ...
People & their Things: organizing & home rituals
The WBUR radio show Here & Now has a piece on De-Cluttering Your House ...
Feather ritual from Darjeeling Limited
Wes Anderson's film The Darjeeling Limited is chock full of rituals -- or constructions that ...
Decluttering ritual
via From Japan, Marie Kondo explores the joy of minimalism at home. The Detroit Free Press Katherine ...
Human castles of Catalonia
A short documentary on a cultural community ritual, in which people make castles out of ...
Why Rituals Work
Why Rituals Work - Scientific American. May 14, 2013 |By Francesca Gino and Michael I. Norton ...
The Power of Rituals in Life, Death, and Business
via The Power of Rituals in Life, Death, and Business — HBS Working Knowledge. An article ...
Why Rituals Matter Part 1: My Daily Tea Ritual
Why Rituals Matter Part 1: My Daily Tea Ritual – Samovar Tea Lounge. Why Rituals Matter ...
Conversation Rituals & Baby Development
Quality of Words, Not Quantity, Is Crucial to Language Skills, Study Finds - NYTimes.com. A study ...
The Importance Of Ritual To The Creative Process
The Importance Of Ritual To The Creative Process | Fast Company | Business + Innovation. Art ...
Lessons From The Crematory
Interview: Caitlin Doughty, Author Of 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes And Other Lessons From The ...
Neil Young & his Cars
Neil Young Writes Of His Love Affair With Cars : NPR. Rock star Neil Young discusses ...
Watermelon cutting, watermelon eating
This is a ritual for choosing & eating a watermelon. It's practical but respectful.  It's ...
Death Over Dinner
Death Over Dinner  is a strong deep service/interaction design concept that  I come across recently about ...
Making Meaning
Making Meaning by Steven Diller, Nathan Shedroff, and Darrel Rhea gives valuable insights on what ...
why ritual works
Researchers Francesca Gino and Michael Norton from Harvard Business School conducted a research study on ...
Music Design for Rituals
NPR had a brief piece on choosing the right music for Wedding Receptions -- what ...
Wellbeing in Work Place
Steelcase anthropologist Donna Flynn talks about the changing dynamics of office design in our highly ...
Design Your Life, self-mapping exercise
  An excerpt from a Huffington Post new year's article by Linda Tischler, profiling the designer/artist ...
Prayer Companion
A quick postcard from MOMA, with it's design exhibit featuring one ingenious prayer machine that ...
5 Main Strategies for Behavior Change
medynskiy-yarosh-chi2011.pdf (application/pdf Object). A short CHI paper from Lana Yarosh that sums up the basic 5 ...
A Kosher Internet?
Orthodox Jews Rally to Keep the Internet Kosher | Underwire | Wired.com. NEW YORK — If ...
Marco Maiocchi on Design for Waiting Rooms
If the previous post was on how to build more well-being into hospitals for children, ...
Small body behaviors for use in rituals
Lifehacker is full of small daily things to do to make life a little livelier.  ...
Puppies as wellbeing service
My framework on well-being design & bringing rituals into our lives reminds me of an NPR radio ...
New Jewish ritual design products
I came across Reinventing Ritual at the library, and just delighted by the title, borrowed it without ...
Meditation Apps
Smartphone Apps that help you to meditate, relax, recenter, and take control -- during busy ...
Design as Religion
A dig from AIGA's website, an article Design as Religion. Nick Currie makes an elegant reading ...
Positive Psychology & Wellbeing
Psychology traditionally deals with problematic situations and clinical cases. Martin Seligman, however, is a person ...
Sprituality As We Eat
A NYTimes article today on "Mindful Eating", from a Buddhist tradition.  After each bite, pause, ...
Spirituality in Wellbeing index
  A recent talk on developing well-being applications illustrates ways in which design can contribute to people's ...
Calming Tech, Spiritual Tech
Stanford's d.school has taught D.Compress: Designing Calm class last year, it will be offered again ...
Steve Jobs and Spirituality in Product Design
A reflective look upon Steve Jobs and Apple can reveal some untold dimension on spirituality. ...
Catholic Confession App
How can technology spark religious reflection -- including the not-so-exciting task of seeing where you've ...
Magic Shirts
Is it possible to think of words as technology? We live in a world of  hyper-linked ...
Skypanukkah + other Virtual Rituals
Julie Scelfo at the The New York Times had a piece today profiling how families ...
The Rosary Ritual & Yoga Mantra Ritual: for good breathing
Luciano Bernardi, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Pavia in Italy, published ...
Frontier Vest
Frontier vest is a conceptual product developed by Azra Aksamija from MIT. As it is described ...
Mobile Friday Sermon
At first sight, i thought mobile friday sermon app is a proposal for muslims who need ...
Enmac, Islamic smart phone
Perhaps one can download Islamic apps for smart phones, but Indian developers think it needs ...
Sajjadah, a smart prayer rug
Sajjadah is a smart prayer rug designed by Soner Ozenc for muslims to find their ...
Survival Mosque, by Azra Aksamija
Azra Aksamija, now a PhD student at MIT, has some interesting projects at the crossroads ...

 

Comments 1

  1. I am an architecture student studying in Mumbai, India. I am doing my b.arch thesis on the idea of Rituals. While researching about it, I came across this site. Its really wonderful to find something which is completely aligned with my own ideas and interests. I will be reading more here and following up and hope this helps me with my study, I am sure it will.

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