Nina Stanley built MOD from a holistic philosophy, design for the human experience. As Chief Creative and Neuromarketing Officer, she has defined MOD’s aesthetic and DNA from years of designing products and experiences. Leading an innovative approach leveraging applied neuroscience, she empowers her design team to extract the essence and find truth within each user experience, then cultivate desire and drive behavior. Nina is an advocate for women’s heart health issues and the American Heart Association, and also works alongside the Quell Foundation to eliminate societal stigmas around mental health.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?
I never just want to have “a career,” I want to have an impact. I’ve always had a talent for simplifying the complex. And I’ve spent my life creating emotional connections through design. Combining those gifts gives me the ability to quickly convey ideas in ways that people identify with. So the potential to inform, raise awareness, and change behavior is huge.
Having a cause you feel passionate about gives your life additional purpose. I love the work I do for clients through my agency. But there’s something special when we’re working to bring awareness to women’s heart health. Or when we’re trying to end the stigma against mental health illness.
Our brains are wired to remember experiences through story — so we created stories to change the conversation around these two issues. For women’s heart health, I shared a personal story about my experiences trying to get an accurate diagnosis, and then going through open heart surgery and the recovery. For The Quell Foundation, we captured true stories of what living with mental health illness actually looks like. My heart story is being shown in conjunction with AHA, raising awareness and prompting women to be their own advocates. The Quell Foundation documentary is now being screened on college campuses to raise money for scholarships that are awarded to those affected by mental health. You can measure that in terms of ROI, but there’s something special about attending a screening and listening to people stand up and share their personal stories. You’re changing lives.
DOES 2019 PRESENT ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES IN DEVELOPING GOOD AND/OR SUSTAINABLE DESIGN?
Two that come to mind are the paradox of choice and the accessibility. The paradox of choice basically says that too many options causes us to shut down and not choose anything. With everyone getting bombarded with messaging in every moment and every way, it’s increasingly important that we meet people where they are in ways that are relevant to their lives.
Accessibility is a major challenge in 2019. Much of design is about streamlining elements and simplifying. But now the question is how to create a visually stunning site that’s friendly to a screen reader. We need to thoughtfully design with simplicity and accessibility. The answer used to be creating a different experience for each audience — but there should be one experience, and everyone should be able to appreciate it.