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Dan Formosa, Ph.D.

Founding Partner


Product Design

Interaction Design 

Design Research

Design can have a significant impact on our quality of life. The best way to help companies succeed is to help the people who they are serving. Accomplishing this requires that we understand people. The design of products, services and brands follow accordingly.


Since the late 1970s I have been exploring design and its ability to have a positive effect on our day-to-day lives. Leveraging design in this way will also have a positive impact on business. The value of brands, products and services is dependent on their ability to be used and to be desired by a wide array of individuals. Design is a medium. The word “design” therefore shouldn’t refer to the thing – it should refer to the effect.


I hold an undergraduate degree in product design, and a Masters degree and a Ph.D. in ergonomics and biomechanics. In addition to having designed products and services for companies worldwide, I helped create the School of Visual Arts Masters in Branding program in New York City, the first degree of its kind in the US. I often write and speak on the topic of design, the state of the profession, design research and the impact design can have on people and business.


Areas of expertise:

- Product and service design

- Interaction design

- Design research

- Biomechanics and ergonomics

- Design and gender

- Inclusive design

- Perception and emotion

- Quantitative methods in design

- Branding

- Design Thinking

- Future Thinking



Dan Formosa helped establish Smart Design, the internationally renowned design consultancy firm.


He also created the design research method "Emotional Mapping," to explore and quantify perceptions to help design teams understand and drive impact. He began developing this procedure in the early 1980's by applying processes and techniques from the field of cognitive psychology, combining both quantitative and qualitative responses.


In 1990 his work on OXO Good Grips kitchen tools became a symbol of products designed to work for everyone. He played a key role in conceiving SmartGauge, an instrument cluster for Ford’s 2010 hybrids designed to influence driving behavior and save fuel – an innovation for the auto industry. In healthcare he has rethought products ranging from everyday consumer health items to surgical equipment.


Dan’s works are included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. In 2012 Dan received IxDA’s first annual Interaction Design Award in Dublin, Ireland. He also co-authored the bestselling book Baseball Field Guide, explaining the complex rules of Major League Baseball.


In addition to consulting, Dan frequently writes and lectures on various aspects of design research, the future of design, and the human experience.

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