Core meanings


What types of experiences do people value? What are the different things that people feel strongly about when interacting with different products and services?


Cheskin Added Value is a design and marketing consultancy that was founded 60 years ago by Louis Cheskin - a pioneer within the field of marketing research and customer driven product design. Each year Cheskin interviews over 100,000 individuals worldwide in order to understand how people adapt new products and services. In these interviews, they've found commonalities among the meanings people feel strongly about, independent of geographical location and culture, and have ended up with a list of 15 core meanings that seems to be universal:

  1. Accomplishment - Achieving goals and making something of oneself; a sense of satisfaction that can result from productivity, focus, talent, or status
  2. Beauty - The appreciation of qualities that give pleasure to the senses or spirit
  3. Community - A sense of unity with others around us and a general connection with other human beings
  4. Creation - The sense of having produced something new and original, and in so doing, to have made a lasting contribution
  5. Duty - The willing application of oneself to a responsibility
  6. Enlightenment - Clear understanding through logic or inspiration
  7. Freedom - The sense of living without unwanted constraints
  8. Harmony - The balanced and pleasing relationship of parts to a whole, whether in nature, society, or an individual
  9. Justice - The assurance of equitable and unbiased treatment
  10. Oneness - A sense of unity with everything around us
  11. Redemption - Atonement or deliverance from past failure or decline
  12. Security - The freedom from worry about loss
  13. Truth - A commitment to honesty and integrity
  14. Validation - The recognition of oneself as a valued individual worthy of respect
  15. Wonder - Awe in the presence of a creation beyond one's understanding

While the relative importance (and number...) of these meaningful experiences might vary and their interpretation will differ slightly, all cultures seem to recognize their significance. 

15m thinks that by understanding what is meaningful to the people we design for, we can create great and innovative experiences that make people happy and that deliver real value to both users and businesses.

Read more:

  • Cheskin
  • "Making meaning: How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences" by Steve Diller, Nathan Shedroff and Darrel Rhea (

The 15 meanings is an excerpt from "Making meaning" by Steve Diller, Nathan Shedroff and Darrel Rhea