Attachment theory, the study of how we understand relationships, was heavily studied by Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby in the 1960s. It is demonstrated that the way in which our primary caregivers show us love in the first year of our lives heavily influences us throughout adulthood. There are four attachment styles. The one healthy attachment style is secured and the three unhealthy attachment styles are preoccupied anxious, dismissive avoidant, and fearful anxious-avoidant. Those with an unhealthy attachment style go through and cause a lot of confusion and pain when it comes to how they love and how they understand it. Many of us do not know what our own attachment styles are. Will knowing it help us understand our confusing emotions? As a designer I also asked, how can communication design help those with unhealthy attachment styles internalize and work towards untangling complex emotions?
My project, Attach, is a two-part design project. The first being a series of four children’s illustration books meant to be read by adults. It showcases specific thoughts and tendencies of the four different attachment styles in similar, daily life scenarios. By translating heavy study case content into illustrated fiction, the four books allow the reader to lightheartedly relate to one of the protagonists.The second part is an app that provides a safe space for self-reflection for those who desire to work towards a healthier attachment style as well as a better understanding of their own emotions and thought patterns. It will help the audience dive into childhood, objectively look at subjective dynamics, while maintaining a straight-forward language via simple visuals. This project is a step towards deeper understandings of complex emotions, and how to unravel the ones we find harmful.