Design that aims to promote or maintain health should always be informed design. In this context, consistent and transdisciplinary research plays a significant role. Meanwhile, a wide range of scientific and popular sources is available, both web-based and in print. To get a rough overview of exciting sources, you will find a first selection here.

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Publications of the Design Institute and its employees

Das Unbekannte als Lösungsstrategie (PDF)
Rehn, Jonas (2020): Das Unbekannte als Lösungsstrategie. Designmethodologische Betrachtung von Prozessen in Richtung einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung. sofia-Diskussionsbeiträge zur Institutionenanalyse Nr. 20-3, Darmstadt 2020. ISBN: 978-3-941627-80-2 <>

Clinic Design as Placebo (PDF)
Rehn, Jonas und Schuster, Kai (2017): Clinic Design as Placebo – Using Design to Promote Healing and Support Treatments. In: Behavioral Sciences. Nov. DOI10.3390/bs7040077

Design primes to change health behaviour
Rehn, J.; Schuster, K. (2021): Design primes to change health behaviour – Using aesthetic features for health behaviour change. In: European Journal of Public Health 31 (Supplement_3), Artikel ckab164.344. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckab164.344.

Gesunde Gestaltung
Rehn, J. (2019). Gesunde Gestaltung. Priming- und Placebo-Effekte als gesundheitsverhaltenswirksame empiriegestützte Gestaltungsmethodik. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien.

Ecopsychosocial environments for health and mental health
Chrysikou, E.; Rehn, J.; Savvopoulou, E.; Petelos, E. (2020): Ecopsychosocial environments for health and mental health. In: European Journal of Public Health 30 (Supplement_5), Artikel ckaa165.974. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckaa165.974.

The bigger picture for healthcare design
Jonas Rehn (2021): The bigger picture for healthcare design – Using evidence-based design and co-creation to develop more effective concepts for the healthcare system.

Empirische Designforschung und gesundheitsfördernde Gestaltung
Rehn, Jonas (2019): Empirische Designforschung und gesundheitsfördernde Gestaltung. In: Gabriel Dörner (Hg.): Ästhetik der heilsamen Orte. Positionen zur Gesundheitsarchitektur. Weimar: LUCIA-Verlag, S. 156-170.

Design model for health behaviour change
Rehn, Jonas (2018): Design model for health behaviour change. In: Christer Kirsty, Claire Craig und Dan Wolstenholme (Hg.): Proceedings of the 5th European International Conference on Design4Health. Sheffield, UK, 4th – 6th September 2018: Sheffield Hallam University. <>

Everyday objects as therapeutic elements
Rehn-Groenendijk, J., Chrysikou, E. & Müller, H. (2022). Everyday objects as therapeutic elements in psychiatric wards – A theoretical design framework to strengthen patients’ valorization and control. Design for Health, DOI: 10.1080/24735132.2022.2143157.

Urban design interventions
Müller, H., Rehn-Groenendijk, J., & Wasmer, A. (2022). Urban design interventions for fostering mental health and mental health literacy, European Journal of Public Health, Volume 32, Issue Supplement_3, ckac129.394,

Risk factors and potentials for fostering mental health and wellbeing in urban space
Müller, H.; Rehn-Groenendijk, J.; Wasmer, A. (2022): Risk factors and potentials for fostering mental health and wellbeing in urban space. In: European Journal of Public Health 32 (Supplement_3), Artikel ckac129.395. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckac129.395.

System Innovations in Design for Aging
Rehn, Jonas (2020): System Innovations in Design for Aging. A Research-Driven Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Transforming Health Systems. In: International Academic Forum (Hg.): The European Conference on Aging & Gerontology 2019. Official Conference Proceedings. EGen 2019. University College London, 08.12.2019. Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, S. 13-20.

Tools & Templates

Patient Persona Template

This template is intended to serve as a guide for developing patient personas. However, it should always be considered which benefit the personas should fulfill and for which project the method is used. Therefore, it can often be useful to adapt available templates.

Patient Journey Map Template

A schematic framework such as this template can be useful for developing the Patient Journey during workshops or initial conceptual phases. As is often the case with templates, it is important to ensure that the structure and design meet the requirements of the project in question.

Touchpoint Inventory Template

In order to develop coherent multi-channel experiences, it is of enormous importance to systematically record the relevant channels, stages, and touchpoints. Such a touchpoint inventory can be very helpful, especially for patient experience design. The template presented here is intended to facilitate this process.

System of health-promoting design

This table describes a rough overview of relevant topics and methods of health promoting design. It represents a starting point for research and conception.

Research sources

Actors, tools and publications

Recommended literature

Below you will find a series of selected literature on the topic of empirical design research with a special focus on health-promoting design. The respective lists are continuously supplemented and do not claim to be complete.

Dilani, Alan (2001): Design & Health. The therapeutic benefits of design. Stockholm: AB Svensk Byggtjänst.

Dilani, Alan (2005): Psychosocially Supportive Design. As a Theory and Model to Promote Health. In: International Academy for Health and Design (Hg.): 4th Design & Health Word Congress & Exhibition. Frankfurt. International Academy for Health and Design, S. 13-22.

Ulrich, Roger S. (1984): View through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery. In: Science 224 (4647), S. 420-421.

Ulrich, Roger S. (1986): Effects of hospital environments on patient well-being. A lecture in the Østmarka series in Psychiatry. Trondheim: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Medicine, University of Trondheim.

Ulrich, Roger S. (1999): Effects of gardens on health outcomes. Theory and research. In: Clare Cooper Marcus und Marni Barnes (Hg.): Healing gardens. Therapeutic benefits and design recommendations. New York, NY: Wiley (Wiley series in healthcare and senior living design), S. 27-86.

Brandes, Uta; Erlhoff, Michael (2008): Designtheorie und Designforschung. Design studieren. Paderborn: UTB.

Buxton, William (2007): Sketching user experiences. Getting the design right and the right design. Amsterdam, Boston: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann.

Häder, Michael (2010): Empirische sozialforschung. Eine einführung. [S.l.]: Vs Verlag Fur Sozialwisse.

Neumann, Peter (2013): Handbuch der psychologischen Marktforschung. Stichprobenauswahl – Forschungsstrategien – qualitative und quantitative Methoden – Auswertung und Visualisierung der Daten – Präsentation der Ergebnisse. Bern: Huber (Lehrbuch Psychologie).

Visocky O’Grady, Jennifer; Visocky O’Grady, Kenneth (2006): A designer’s research manual. Succeed in design by knowing your clients and what they really need. Gloucester, Mass.: Rockport Publishers (Design field guides).

Devlin, Ann Sloan (2014): Transforming the doctor’s office. Principles from evidence-based design. New York: Routledge.

Hamilton, D. K. (2003): The Four Levels Of Evidence-Based Practice. In: Healthcare Design, S. 18-26.

The Center for Health Design (2010): An introduction to evidence-based design. Exploring healthcare and design. 2nd ed. Concord, CA: The Center for Health Design (EDAC study guide series, 1).

Wagenaar, C. (2014): Evidence Based Design. In: Tijdschrift voor Ergonomie 39 (1), S. 6-9.

Journals and magazines

Healthcare Design Magazine

HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal

The Health Environments Research & Design Journal is published by the Center for Healthdesign. It contains scientific articles on the topic of health promotion through design and is peer-reviewed. read more at HERD Journal

World Health Design

The journal contains both a scientific section and a dossier. It is published by the International Academy for Design and Health and, in addition to the general health-promoting effect of design approaches, focuses in particular on the concept of "salutogenic design".

Journal of Design Research

As one of the few classically scientific and peer-reviewed journals in the field of design research, the Journal of Design Research with the interface between people and design, especially from a social science perspective.

EBD Journal

Sometimes the line between a blog and a journal gets blurred. The EBD Journal is one such case. From a content point of view, it should actually be listed under journals. At the same time, its innovative presentation and blog-based structure are good reasons to mention the EBD Journal here as a blog. What is exciting about it is that it consistently deals with scientific methodological research in design and (unlike most evidence-based design publications) does not focus solely on the health sector.