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


2017 Ritual Design Class

This year, we are shifting our focus to organizations, and organizational change. If you are interested in, check the course application website below.

ritualdesign

In February 2017, we will be teaching  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 will design new rituals for a company, to explore how design methods and creative improvisation can help us craft more meaningful culture. Students will work in teams to rapidly prototype new rituals for our partner, and they will learn video storytelling techniques to capture them. 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.


2015 Ritual Design Class

 Ritual Design poster for Stanford d.school
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.




Our sketchbook on ritual design




Add a ritual to our 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?
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Posts on Rituals

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 ...
Morning Values Ritual
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 ...
FaithNews, interfaith understanding
Faithnews is a simple iphone/ipad app on improving the interfaith understanding among diverse cultural ...
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 ...
Reinventing the ritual
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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