A critical design project on how beauty ideals affect our mental health, relationships and future generations.

The Tulip reflects how beautification affects our relationships.

Joy van Gogh


Factually, we have gotten more beautiful over time, but have never been more dissatisfied about the way we look (Woertman, 2012). It seems like beauty has become a thing to be good at or proud of, but what are the consequences our beauty-obsession has on our mental health, society or the future generations? The goal of this project was not to create products or services suited for the current market, but to create a series of critical designs that uncover the effects our obsession with beauty has on us.

The assignment

The dystopian designs show three problems that could arise if the current developments:

First of all, the Wishbone reflects how beautification affects our metal health. Often we beautify ourselves to become happier, but research shows, that this rarely ever is the case. Short term happiness is achieved, but on the long term on average, people become more discontent with the way they look. The design of the Wishbone reflects how we limit ourselves in the way we feel and express ourselves. Taking the current developments around preventive Botox, to an extreme, people will physically be unable to move their faces in a way that is healthy for both the brain and the body.

Secondly, the Tulip reflects how beautification affects our relationships. The way we want to make ourselves look better, stands in the way of pleasant touch and how we perceive touch. Again, taken to an extreme, we see that an extremely important part of human connection is limited, muted or avoided all together.

Lastly, the Cloud reflects how beautification affects the generations to come. Having small amounts of Botox and fillers injected seems innocent, but do not forget that children, are susceptible to everything they see around them. Using injectables as a mother, aunt, teacher or other type of role model, gives off a signal to the younger generation that they are not good enough the way they are.

The goal of the designs was never to force people to change their minds, but rather to create a healthy conversation about the topic. These dystopian designs left viewers with strong emotions that contributed to starting a conversation.

Dicky Brand