October 22, 2021
Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee
Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Self Help, Home Design, Aesthetics, Reflection
Today I’m reviewing a book that’s been on my (virtual) bookshelf for some time. I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and Sue, Donna, and Jo for the October installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge .
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Does the outer world of design affect our inner joy? Do our outward surroundings promote joy? The author explores the principles of psychology, visual and sensory input, and design to discuss how they might promote personal joy. Ten aesthetics that affect joy are addressed in depth and she reveals “a distinct connection between the feeling of joy and the tangible qualities of the world around us”: Energy, Abundance, Freedom, Harmony, Play, Surprise, Transcendence, Magic, Celebration, and Renewal. In addition, the author provides sample worksheets for making our own spaces more joyful.
Although I’m not a formal artist, I’ve always loved thinking about design principles and I strongly believe that creating a welcoming and warm environment is as important as the menu when we consider hospitality. However, I hadn’t seriously considered how aesthetics might affect my personal joy quotient.
I am intrigued by the author’s comprehensive and thoughtful explanation and application of each aesthetic.
Energy: vibrant color (energy made visible) and light (colors power supply)
Abundance: lushness, multiplicity (ex: confetti), and variety
Freedom: nature (water, blue sky, trees, gardens), wildness, and open space (most commonly enjoyed paintings are landscapes)
Harmony: patterns, beat (in music), harmony begets harmony
Play: circles, spheres, and bubbly forms
Surprise: contrast and whimsy
Transcendence: elevation and lightness, awe
Magic: invisible forces, illusions, enchantment, mystery, curiosity, iridescence
Celebration: synchrony, sparkle, and bursting shapes, string lights, glitter, contrast of light and dark (fireworks, candlelight, fireplaces)
Renewal: blossoming, expansion, and curves, anticipation
- I is thrilling to think about the many elements in the author’s descriptions that I already incorporate into my home decor and party planning that do bring me joy. It’s nice to recognize and embrace these elements not just as my personal preferences but as overall important elements of design. My intuition in creating my environment is justified, and I’m challenged to deliberately incorporate more elements!
- I think two excellent companion reads to Joyful might be The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living and The Happiness Project.
- I was most doubtful about the aesthetic of “magic” and was prepared to skip over the power or magic of stones and gems; however, I was surprised by how she pivoted to a discussion of “enchantment” and “charm” as other concepts for magic.
- For me, spirituality plays an important part in the source and amount of joy in my life and the author does not address spirituality (which she might have included in the transcendence chapter).
- I read Nicki’s post this morning, How To Be Sad, and it reminded me of the children’s movie Inside Out which animates our inside emotions of fear, joy, disgust, anger, and sadness. Have you seen it? My favorite character is “sadness” because she’s the one who can offer comfort and empathy….sadness has value. This reflection connected back to my musings on Joyful. Sadness can coexist with joyfulness.
- The first chapter of Joyful reminds me of Debbie’s post here on her family and the color orange! (Yes, Debbie, the first chapter is about the colors orange and yellow and I thought of you immediately!)
- Overall, Joyful is an enjoyable and inspiring read which I recommend for readers who enjoy design and concepts of well being.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Joyful Information Here
Meet the Author, Ingrid Fetell Lee
Ingrid Fetell Lee is a Brooklyn-based designer and writer whose work focuses on the way that design affects our health and happiness. As founder of The Aesthetics of Joy and in her role as IDEO fellow, she empowers people to find more joy in daily life through design.
Ingrid has over twelve years of experience in design and branding, most recently as Design Director of IDEO’s New York office, having led design work for Target, Condé Nast, Eileen Fisher, American Express, Kate Spade, Diageo, Pepsico, and the US government, among others. She has been featured as an expert on design and joy by outlets such as The New York Times, Wired, PRI’s Studio 360, CBC’s Spark, Psychology Today, and Fast Company. She was a founding faculty member in the Products of Design program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her design work has been exhibited at imm Cologne, Germany.
Ingrid holds a Master’s in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing from Princeton University. Her first book, Joyful, will be published in North America by Little, Brown in September, 2018. She loves pancakes, polka dots, and rainbow sprinkles, and has an extensive repertoire of happy dances for any occasion.
Is Joyful on your TBR or have you read it?
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
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Thanks so much for the shout out Carol! This sounds like an interesting book!
[…] You can view what others have been reading here:JoSueDebbieDeb VJenniferCarolNatalie […]
I really enjoyed this one, too, Carol. It took me by surprise because of the unique design angle.
I was pleasantly surprised Jennifer! I’m glad I finally read it!
Interesting reflections Carol. I am glad you found so much to like about this book.
I was delightfully surprised! Very well written!
[…] Carol’s Joyful review […]
This sounds like my type of book Carol! I have read the two suggested companion books you mention and am a huge fan of Hygge, having hosted a Danish exchange student for a year and visiting her and her family for years. I also love the fact that Joyful’s chapter on yellow and orange made you think of me!!! How fun the blogging world and our connections continue to be 🙂
Thanks for joining in with our #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge, it’s great to have you.
Download a sample and read the first chapter! 😂🧡🧡🧡
Hi Carol, I have just read the first few chapters as a sample and LOVED it! So many great quotes I could relate to in Ingrid’s words. Color is energy made visible. I especially liked the bit about her friend Beth who always wears colour – like someone I know!!
‘….thinks not just about the effect of wearing color on herself but also about its effect on other people…..It’s almost as if a colorful garment is a tiny gift, a brilliant spot of joy in a bleak landscape.’
Thanks so much for this review as it has made my day 🙂
I KNEW you would LOVE it! I’m happy to bring you JOY today Debbie! 🧡🧡🧡
You sure did Carol!!
Excellent review Carol, and interesting concepts. ❤📚
Thanks Sandy! It as surprisingly interesting!
[…] Blog – Strangers on a Train What Cathy Read Next – Black Drop Reading Ladies – Joyful Books and Me! – And Away The Belgian Reviewer – Deity & A Slow Fire […]
[…] immediately thought of Carol’s post this week, about a book she reviewed, called Joyful by Ingrid Fettel Lee. I loved the sound of the book and read a small section, as Carol suggested, which covered colour, […]
Thanks for the shout out! 😍🙌
Lately, I have been into Swedish modern. Makes complete sense as we live in Maine where there are a lot of short, dark days. I’ll be checking out this book.
I hope you enjoy it Laurie!
Noting this one — sounds like a nice change of pace.
I enjoyed it more than I anticipated! I love how it affirms some things I was already doing!
Interesting! We’re moving to a new house so I’ve been thinking about stuff like this!
Oh this would be perfect! Enjoy!
[…] 4 Stars. Nonfiction: Self help. The aesthetics of design. Surprisingly inspirational and creative. My review of Joyful here. […]
[…] Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee (Design) Wintering by Katherine May (Rest and Retreat) Everything Beautiful in its Time by Jenna Bush Hagar (Memories of Loved Ones) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (the Writing Life) Birth and Other Surprises by Kimberly Davis Basso (Humorous Parenting Essays) […]
I love HGTV so I feel like I would love books like this.
I think you’d like it, too! I was inspired!
[…] Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee […]
[…] It seems that books like The Little Book of Hygge (the Danish secrets to living well) and Joyful (principles of design) might pair nicely with this book for those that are most interested in […]
[…] Related: Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee […]