Office Fit-Out | Office Refurbishment | Office Design | Hertfordshire | Bedfordshire | Buckinghamshire

The Hierarchy Of Needs in Design

The Hierarchy Of Needs In Design

There is a hierarchy of needs for every aspect of life, from housing to food, everyone has a list of requirements that need to be met. However, design verges away from the crowd, with many people’s needs being based around a mix of aesthetics and function. Good designs tend to follow the hierarchy; however other designs stray away from the table. For the most part, there are 5 levels to the hierarchy of needs in terms of design. However, many do not know what these levels are, or what they include.

When designing you’re building in layers, and when one of the criteria isn’t met, it is likely your project will be unsuccessful.


First and foremost, a design must be able to function. If a product does not work, it will not be providing its main usage. Every design, product or object needs to work and meet its basic functional needs. So, before anything else, functionality must be put in place.


Once the design’s function has been put in place, a design can begin to make its way up the ladder. As well as working, a design needs to provide consistent results and assure stability. A design needs to work time and time again and assure the work is consistent.


Designs can be confusing to understand and use – with many struggling to figure out how to operate certain aspects of designs. Usability is determined by how easy something is to control, and how forgiving a design is if used incorrectly. Products that are within the regulations of the hierarchy of needs should be simple to use for a consumer and also forgiving if used in the wrong way.


I think we can all agree that everyone wants an item that makes their life more proficient. This is why proficiency is near the top of the list. If a design is proficient, it should allow for the user’s life to become easier and empower them to do things more and to a better standard. Proficient designs should expand on basic functionality and provide a service that was not possible or difficult beforehand.


After all the previous needs are met to the perfect standard, a design can reach the creative stage. This will allow for the design to become much more innovative and look more aesthetically pleasing. As well as this, creative innovation can allow designs to be used in ways that they were not originally intended to by a user. The creative stage commonly brings a sense of emotion to a design, such as wonder or excitement. Creativity really is the cherry on top of every design.

There will always be a disagreement as to whether the hierarchy of needs is something that needs to be followed, with many straying away from the crowd and designing using their own templates. However, for many the hierarchy of needs is the sacred script that designers follow in order to develop the best possible design, with the key belief being that a design will not work if it does not provide the most basic needs – the function must come first.

How can we help?

Here at MBS Workplace Environments, we have 20 years of experience within the industry. We want to provide a professional and efficient service delivering you your desired outcome in a timeframe that works best for you.

Whether you need a new design, fit-out, refurbishment or a supply of furniture for either the commercial or educational sectors, we have the experience and team to help you. Get in contact us with that by following the link here or phoning us on 0800 2100 280.

See how we can transform your workplace

Scroll to Top