The magical world of new information and why I hate going to Home Depot.

Posted on by Nayive Kalkach


I love the steep learning curve that comes with learning about a new topic, it's like a magical door that is waiting to be open and show you everything inside. Specially if it is a door that appeared without expecting it.

I came across this book when my boyfriend's teacher of Retail Design assigned him to read it. I offered to read it because of two main reasons:

1. I found it abandoned and crying for someone to open it further than the first ten pages.

2. I will be taking retail design class next semester and reading this before I should will make me look very smart (ha).

The only bad thing that came out of this book is the extra homework that I put on myself when my boyfriend had to turn in a paper on it and of course, I did it. (I hope his teacher never reads this). 

What does Retail Design have to do with the reasons of us deciding to buy this or that? It turns out that EVERYTHING. Many times designers get caught up in aesthetics much more than they should. Many times we forget that the consumer has many things in its head and the last thing they need is to have extra trouble finding what they need to buy. Many times we forget that the most successful design is the simple and the most intuitive one. One where we can easily grab products, look at them, test them and make our decision of purchase. Many times we forget that ergonomics are more important that the concept and most important, we forget that we are designing for the consumers, not for other designers to admire our creation.

"Why we buy" is a very interesting book that supports itself on hours of consumer observation in the retail environment. Paco Underhill (the writer) makes a great job explaining to us obvious and not very obvious facts about what goes on in the head of the consumer while shopping. He calls this process "The science of shopping". Design-wise, it is a strong tool to use for space planning and to understand the natural flow of a person when shopping. Underhill not only limits his study to brick-and-mortar stores, he also digs a little bit into the online shopping world. Although my initial reaction to the Online Retail was negative, I realised that I forgot that this book was published in 1999 and I am sure that Online Stores have changed a lot since then and probably his opinion on them as well.

I don't wanna be too specific in the book's contents because I think it is a "must" for all the interior designers but I can tell you that you will be getting a lot of good information that you can actually use in the future. Get it here. Don't hesitate!

Have you read it? Tell me what you thought of it!!