A prosperous and happy New Year for us all! I went to Senaatintori for the countdown for 2012 and most importantly, for the kickoff of Word Design Capital 2012. But for this post I will write about the fireworks at London, for that is what I’m gushing about more at the moment.

London gave a sensational show to start off it’s year as Olympic host. The extensive preparations have been going on for much longer. For example, beyond repairs in the London Underground also the old map that had serviced for 80 years was redesigned. The video linked here shows roughly ten minute long midnight extravaganza of light and sound – an amazing spectacle.

On any sensible scale the show seems to be simply well over the board. On an emotional level it made me simply happy to have seen it, even via a screen. There were showers of silver and flowers of fire almost as big as the London Eye. When you thought it was over it had just barely started. There were cues for both past times and upcoming year which were both fun and sobering. In some way the explosions brought to my mind the wars and conflicts we have followed again for this past year. On the other hand there were Adele and greetings for India. During the final crescendo the lights were actually too bright for the television cameras to adjust to.The show was for one for national pride, a memory to be cherished, a treat after the grave statements on financial, national or global threats. In many ways 2011 has been a year of public and domestic fear. Therefore the most sensible thing that the show brought home was that in many ways emotion has an upper hand on reason and that appearances do matter.

On the same day, elsewhere in the BBC network Lisa Jardin, a professor at the University of London, recounted on how hard times are reflected in the royal garderobe as an increase of opulence, as “a political tool to increase national confidence in the solvency of [the] regime”.

Often turns of events we prefer remember are picked to suit the story we want to tell. This may seem obvious or not, but what actually follows out of this? The importance of emotion and experiences is affirmed in regards on how we act and remember. Even a short event can be memorable and overshadow those of less effect. This event could be positive as well as negative. Much of this happens unawares – yet if you can shape the experiences, you shape people’s memories! Doesn’t that sound sobering and exciting at once for a designer, or anybody else taking the reigns?

Did you think the topic of the post to be interesting? Then leave a comment, or read more on related topics:
– from a nobel-awarded author on how we remember and recount: D. Kahneman and J. Riis in “Living, and thinking about it”
– a staple in emotion design readings: D. Norman’s “Emotion and Design”

– about our lovely irrationality via D. Ariely’s books or blog