Design Persona for my thesis

After reading an excerpt from Aarron Walker’s Designing for Emotion (which I ended up buying last week), I decided this would be a good time to create a design persona. 

Aarron writes:

Personality can manifest itself in an interface through visual design, copy, and interactions. A design persona describes how to channel personality in each of these areas and helps the web team to construct a unified and consistent result. The goal is to construct a personality portrait every bit as clear as those Justin Long and John Hodgman convey in the “Get a Mac” ads.

Here is my design persona for Hotpot, based on the template provided by Aarron:


Hotpot is like your energetic, gregarious best friend who wants to introduce you to all these great people she met while traveling.

She’s lighthearted, friendly and upbeat, yet down-to-earth, practical and dependable when you need her to be. You can always count on her for something fun to do on a Saturday afternoon. She’s great at organizing get-togethers. In fact, she’s usually the one who initiates them.

Brand Traits

SPUNKY but not childish

WARM but not sentimental

OPTIMISTIC but not unrealistic

ENTHUSIASTIC but not pushy

POLITE but not distant

DOWN-TO-EARTH but not boring

ADVENTUROUS but not reckless

KNOWLEDGEABLE but not didactic

DEPENDABLE but not perfectionistic


The voice of Hotpot is positive, casual and inviting. Ideally, it’s like a good party host, who instantly puts you at ease when you enter the crowded room. It’s good at introducing you to people, creating a sense of what you all have in common, and putting everyone in a good mood.

The language style could be described as “classy vernacular,” with some light humor thrown in. However humor should be used sparingly, and always gracefully. Popular idioms can be used, but take care to avoid sounding cheesy or trite. The language should not have any trace of pretension or snobbery, even when addressing sophisticated food topics. It should also never “talk down” but rather respect the interests and backgrounds of all it encounters. It should aim to be positive and helpful at all times.

Copy Examples

In App Greeting
Wonderful to see you, tinabeans!

Success Feedback
Success! Your invite is speeding towards its destination.

Thank You
Thanks for the submission. We couldn’t do it without you!

Error Feedback
Don’t forget to enter your zip code.

We want to know what you think! Please be as honest and detailed as you can.

Critical Failure
Oof, how embarrassing! The server has a bad case of the hiccups. The Hiccup Squad has been alerted. Meanwhile, please wait a bit and refresh this page. Thanks for being so patient.

Marketing Copy
We’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for you in the coming months. Our favorite upcoming feature is the ability to map your friends. We love how this allows us to see where our friends are from, as well as to truly understand that distance is no obstacle when it comes to a great meal cooked together.

Visual Lexicon


Hotpot uses colors that are found in a clean, modern kitchen owned by a creative, fun-loving cook. A background of soft natural colors is punctuated with sparks of coordinated bright hues. The natural colors should be reminiscent of familiar kitchen surfaces and textures: handsome wood, cool granite, smooth tile, though not necessarily literally represented as such. The livelier accent colors might recall favorite contemporary cooking tools, like a silicon spatula with a bright plastic handle, or a colorful dishcloth.


The body type should be set in an open, friendly and readable sans-serif with a large x-height. It should maintain some humanist quirks and not be too clean or geometric. It should feel accessible and unpretentious, not overtly decorative or expressive. This should be complemented with a more expressive display font for headings, but again it shouldn’t be too showy. A contemporary serif or toned-down script might work.

General Style Notes

Use kitchen conceits very sparingly (like checkered patterns, doily edges, real-life textures, ribbon trim, etc.) A little might be needed to create a sense of warmth and coziness, but not too over-the-top. Something halfway between Culinary Culture and Punchfork would be ideal. Try to keep it gender-neutral.