Design and marketing

The MAYA principle

Some time ago I came across Raymond Loewy(1893-1986) and his ‘MAYA’ principle really made me think. Globally recognized as the father of industrial design, he revolutionized the industry, working as a consultant for more than 200 companies and creating product designs for everything from cigarette packs and refrigerators, to cars and spacecrafts.

Here it’s where it gets interesting.


Essentially, Loewy believed that human preferences were torn between two things:

Neophilia – the love of new things

Neophobia – the fear of anything new.


He understood that people wanted things that were familiar with an element of novelty, this was the essence of his ‘MAYA’ principle:

Most Advanced Yet Acceptable”. As humans, we seek familiarity because it makes us feel safe, but we are also attracted by the thrill of a challenge, a pioneer lust.


In his own words:

“The adult public’s taste is not necessarily ready to accept the logical solutions to their requirements if the solution implies too vast a departure from what they have been conditioned into accepting as the norm.”

This principle is not specific to design, it’s fundamental to how human beings learn new skills and insights. The work of the Soviet psychologist and founder of cultural-historical psychology, Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (1896-1934), illustrates the process of learning through the principle called the zone of proximal development (ZPD).

How can the MAYA principle help us?

Understanding how people, customers, audience perceive our designs, content or products can help identifying what works best in the market. The work the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard emphasizes that when you want to help someone learn a new skill or product, you first need to find out about the person’s present skill level. You need to find out what’s acceptable to them before teaching them anything new and advanced.

Apple is a great example of putting this principle into practice, as they developed gradually their products. If they would have put out one of the latest models of iphone in 2005 it would have been a failure. We were not familiar yet with touch screens and such.


In the end, whatever it is that we are trying to sell (tattoo designs, paintings, IG content, products of any kind, our brand) it has to deal with the customer’s psychology. Especially if you are teaching something (classes, seminars, apprenticeships or how to use your product), these concepts are particularly relevant

💡 Take away:

-You want to be innovative (set yourself aside from competition, not too much of the same) but also not offer something that people cannot understand and embrace.
That sweet point in between is called ‘Shock Zone’.

-Repeated exposure creates familiarity.

As Steve Jobs said: “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”



🔍 Read more about Raymond Loewy here

📈 How to sell using the MAYA principle

🔗 Understanding the MAYA principle

🔬 Mere exposure effect


Sitting a lot with a bad back?

We get out of bed and we sit down for breakfast, sit in the car on the way to work, sit for the majority at work, sit for lunch, sit in the car on the way back, sit for dinner, then sit for a movie then lay in bed.



Kelly Starrett is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller ‘Becoming A Supple Leopard’ and he’s a leading experts in performance and mobility, with clients that include professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, NHL, Olympic gold medalists, Tour de France cyclists, world- and national-record-holding Olympic Lifting and Power athletes, Crossfit Games medalists, professional ballet dancers, elite military personnel, and more.


In this book, which is in my top list of “this changed my life”, Kelly explains how sitting, together with bad postures repeated over long stretches of time, are the roots of many of our problems.

The basic assumption is simple: we have evolved to physically perform a certain range of tasks. When we neglect this range of mobility and activation of muscle groups, those can start losing optimal performance and others have to compensate.


Best examples:

Glutes become basically pillows

– The core and diaphragm turn weak

– The displacement of our axis overloads upper back/neck muscles

– The rotator cuffs don’t get enough attention

– The quads and hamstrings lose flexibility

– The hip flexors get tight

In my personal experience all of the above was responsible for the pain I had to deal with for the last 20 years. Osteopaths and chiropractors are ok as short time fixes but guess what’s better? Learning how to properly use this body we have been given.


Go to the roots, not to the fruits.

Address the causes, not the symptoms.

It’s a longer journey but the payoff is much greater.


🎙️Listen to Kelly on the Tim Ferris’ show

📺 Samuel Leon’s interview on mobility and exercices


Procrastination: why we do it and what we can do

Many of us at some point had to deal with procrastination, the act of delaying or putting off tasks we don’t like until the last minute, or past their deadline, despite potentially negative consequences.

Why do we do that?

Often procrastinating is seen as a productivity issue, when truly it’s an emotional one. Behind our irrational act (we really don’t feel good about it but we still do it) can hide feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt and impostor syndrome.


Some researchers classify procrastinators based on different behavioral styles:


  • Perfectionist: sets impossible standard of accomplishment
  • Dreamer: can’t focus on the details
  • Defier: doesn’t believe someone should dictate their time schedule
  • Worrier: leaving the comfort zone proves too much
  • Crisis-maker: thrives working under pressure
  • Overdoer: Takes on too much and struggles with finding time to start and complete task

How can we overcome this?

Dr. Kendra Cherry, psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the “Everything Psychology Book”, gives us a few tips:

  • Make a to-do list: To help keep you on track, consider placing a due date next to each item.
  • Take baby steps: Break down the items on your list into small, manageable steps so that your tasks don’t seem so overwhelming.
  • Recognize the warning signs: Pay attention to any thoughts of procrastination and do your best to resist the urge. If you begin to think about procrastinating, force yourself to spend a few minutes working on your task.
  • Eliminate distraction: Ask yourself what pulls your attention away the most—whether it’s Instagram, Facebook updates, or the local news—and turn off those sources of distraction.
  • Pat yourself on the back: When you finish an item on your to-do list on time, congratulate yourself and reward yourself by indulging in something you find fun.    



🔗 Here some other tips from Dr. Sharon Martin to overcome perfectionism

🔗 Here an article from Dr. Margaret Rutherford