Design for Happiness Deck

The Design for Happiness Deck is a tool that designers and organisations can use to tap into the vast potential of lasting wellbeing. Use it to break down the seemingly overwhelming phenomenon of happiness into manageable components that offer you a direct doorway to ideation and analyses of your design project.

Design for Happiness Deck

Based on the Positive Design framework developed by Desmet and Pohlmeyer (2013, 2017), three essential aspects of designing for happiness are being explored:

  • Pleasure – happiness that comes from enjoying the moment
  • Personal Significance – happiness derived from having a sense of progressing towards a future goal and from the awareness of past achievements
  • Virtue – happiness that is the result of morally valued behaviour

For each, a fine-grained overview of 24 potential manifestations is provided – 24 shades of pleasure, 24 human goals and 24 virtuous character strengths.

By considering these concrete units of human experience, you will immediately be able to challenge the wellbeing prospects of your future designs. We leave it to you to decide how and when to use the card sets – to inform your research, trigger new ideas, get specific about targeting wellbeing, justify your design decisions, or simply inspire your team.


  • Anna Pohlmeyer, Pieter Desmet, Jay Yoon (concept & content);
  • Christiaan Kieft and Simon Jimenez (design & production).


  • In communication, please refer to this publication as follows: Delft Institute of Positive Design (2017). Design for Happiness Deck. Delft, Delft University of Technology. ISBN: 978-94-92516-86-2


  • The Design for Happiness Deck is published under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
  • This means that you are free to share the card set for non-commercial purposes as long as you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and do not modify the original material. For licence details, see:
  • Download a PDF version of the card deck

Share your insights

  • We would love to hear about and learn from your experiences. Please let us know about your experiences using the cards in your design projects, research and explorations via Your questions and feedback will help us improve future versions of the deck and create new tools to design for happiness.

References Positive Design

  • Desmet, P.M.A., & Pohlmeyer, A.E. (2013). Positive design: An introduction to design for subjective well-being. International Journal of Design, 7(3), 5-19. PDF
  • Pohlmeyer, A.E. & Desmet, P.M.A. (2017). From good to the greater good. In J. Chapman (Ed.) The Routledge handbook of sustainable product design (pp. 469-486). London: Routledge. PDF

References Positive Emotions

Pieter Desmet developed the typology of positive emotions (the typology includes 25 emotions; for the sake of balance, ‘respect’ is not included in this Design for Happiness Deck). Jay Yoon developed the original positive emotion granularity cards. Card texts were based on descriptions formulated by Desmet (2012) and Yoon (2018).

  • Desmet, P.M.A. (2012). Faces of product pleasure: 25 Positive emotions in human-product interactions. International Journal of Design, 6(2), 1-29. PDF
  • Yoon, J., Desmet, P.M.A., & Pohlmeyer, A.E. (2013). Embodied typology of positive emotions: The development of a tool to facilitate emotional granularity in design. In: Proceedings of the 5th IASDR International Congress, Tokyo, Japan (pp. 1195–1206). PDF
  • Yoon, J. (2018). Escaping the emotional blur: Design tools for facilitating positive emotional granularity. PhD thesis. Delft University of Technology. PDF

References Human Goals

Martin Ford and Charles Nichols developed the typology of 24 human goals. Card texts were based on descriptions formulated by Ford (1992).

  • Ford, M.E., & Nichols, C.W. (1987). A taxonomy of human goals and some possible applications. In M.E. Ford & D.H. Ford (Eds.), Humans as self-constructing systems: Putting the framework to work (pp. 289-312). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
  • Ford, M. E. (1992). Motivating humans: Goals, emotions, and personal agency beliefs. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

References Character Strengths

Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman developed the typology of 24 character strengths. Card texts were based on descriptions formulated by Peterson & Seligman (2004) and Park, Peterson, & Seligman (2006).

  • Peterson, C., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2006). Character strengths in fifty-four nations and the fifty US states. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(3), 118-129.