Surprise is a feeling distinct from joy, and yet they so often come together. We can be surprised by the pop of a firecracker, the stripes of a new shop’s awning in the neighborhood, the particular size and shape of a “thank you” note amongst the junk mail. Joyful surprises help to break the monotony of routines and can prompt us to reexamine preconceived notions and stereotypes. We use this aesthetic when we wrap presents, line our drawers with colorful paper, or play with norms around the scale and proportions of the objects in our surroundings.

5 gifts to give your future self

Joymaker: Danielle Coke, illustrator and advocate

14 ways to make chores more joyful

15 joyful games to beat back boredom

The surprising power of a Joyful Manicure

Move for the joy of it: workouts that don’t feel like work

5 Secrets to Designing Unforgettable Experiences

The Power of Color in Unexpected Places

Gee's Bend quilts

Unconventional Geometries: A Visit to Gee’s Bend

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