A new piece of global research by HTC shows that surrounding ourselves with well-designed everyday objects can have the same positive effect on our mood and well-being as looking at a work of art or as doing exercise. If we look and use beautiful objects that work well, we are happier. We become calmer and more contented.

HTC measured the physical (biometric) responses of 2,177 participants from seven markets, monitoring heart rate and sweat on the skin.

Here are some top of line results:

Well-designed objects that are both beautiful and functional trigger positive emotions like calmness and contentment, reducing negative feelings like anger and annoyance by almost a third (29%).

 Purely functional object that are not beautiful increase negative emotions like gloominess and depression by 23%.

 Poor functionality hinders creativity, making it 45% more difficult to be creative.

 Positive moods make us more outgoing and open to new ideas – which in turn makes us more creative.

 There were no major differences amongst the seven countries taking part (Australia, China, Germany, Russia, Taiwan, UK and USA).

Dr Simon Moore, Chartered Psychologist and Management Director of behavioural research agency Innovationbubble, explained, “Beauty induces stable long-term positive emotions and has a cathartic effect on negative emotions. Going for a walk in the countryside or on the beach can lift our mood. Looking at a brilliant photograph or renown painting can move us to tears. At the other end of the scale, high impact positive emotions – elation, excitement and delight – don’t last long, They can’t – they’re too exhausting to sustain and, as such, are not conducive to creativity.”

No doubt the study will spur on the product development teams at HTC. Its current smartphone is attractive, and earlier many of us were attracted to Apple products simply because they felt and looked good.

Having a pleasant, well lit, tastefully decorated environment at home and at work will diminish our stress and add to our sense of well-being. Everything in our material life, from the office mug, to our armchair, to the sink tap handles in the washroom, has to be designed. We simply have to choose good design over poor design, even if it costs more, because we will feel better.

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