Designing for Fun

Michael Flarup
February 7, 2015

Early 2014 I was contacted by Drew Wilson. He asked me if I wanted to come to Valio Con in San Diego to give a presentation. What an honor I thought, and looked at my very pregnant fiancé. Planning anything in the immediate future seemed risky, but we both agreed that it was simply too much fun to pass up. Fast forward 5 months and I’m 4 months into being a parent, on a plane bound for San Diego. Short on sleep, I was enjoying the guilty freedom of having time for myself (spoiler: having babies is tough on free time).

In the airport I was greeted by a driver with my name on a sign. Never tried that before.
In the airport I was greeted by a driver with my name on a sign. Never tried that before.

I spoke as the last speaker on the first day of the conference and I talked about a topic that’s very dear to me; Fun. The presentation was gorgeously shot from multiple angles and I have finally managed to edit it down to an abridged 35 minute edition. View it above or directly on my youtube channel.


So what is the talk about?

Looking back over my career it’s clear to me that fun has been a guiding pillar in many of the decisions I’ve made. In my talk I address a concern of mine that design, as an industry, isn’t only maturing but also becoming more serious. You don’t have to listen to many skeumorphic vs flat discussions to realize that many designers have become a lot more serious. We’re very concerned with trends and discussions about right and wrong and I fear that we might slowly be loosing some of the fun. So in my talk I try to put some fun on the table by telling 3 stories about three products I’ve helped create. A journey that spans instant coffee, embarrassing behind the scenes footage, a Jay Leno opening monologue, millions of digital thermometers and an epic Kickstarter adventure.

I end up by giving my take on how you can start to work with ‘fun’ as a concept when building products and how you make sure sure that you work on more fun projects.

It’s not form follows function after all, it’s form follows fun.


Here’s a couple of screenshots from the presentation.