Bringing ‘Fun’ Design into Calgary

MP |

mC:t   2015.03.30    #makeCalgarytalk

‘The Fun Theory’ is a marketing campaign by Volkswagen that believes when adding fun into a mundane task it can be a simple and effective solution to changing people’s behavior for the better.


Working alongside the emerging sustainability movement, this theory attempts to change behavior with fun, whimsy and good design, positively reinforcing desirable action and making the sustainable option the more attractive choice.


An example is the piano stairs.  When given the choice to take the stairs or the escalator, most often people will choose the one that takes less effort. However, much research has shown that taking the stairs can actually make you feel better while also using less energy. For this reason, the piano stairs were designed to see if people would be tempted to use the steps by making it fun to do.  The designers simply transformed the stairs alongside an escalator into keys of a piano that make sound as you step on them. This study increased the usage of the stairs than the escalator by 66%.

Here are the results…



Another example is the World’s Deepest Rubbish Bin.  It was designed to encourage people to throw out their trash by rewarding them with unexpected sound effects and generic fun.  This innovative idea resulted in a drastic increase of people throwing out 41kg more rubbish into this bin than a normal bin just a small distance away.

Here are the results…



Can these solutions be implemented into Calgary in an effective way?  How can we add ‘fun’ design to our city?



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