Positive Framing

A formula for action statements and positive ideas to get your brain moving.

Diana Lillicrap 11.19.2013

Did you know your brain is programmed to assume statements you hear or read are true? In fact, it takes you longer to evaluate a false statement than it does to confirm a true statement.

Try it for yourself. Read these two statements and pick out which one makes you pause your thinking process.

Should we allow smokeless cigarettes in office buildings?
Should we not allow smokeless cigarettes in office buildings?

Did you notice that it took your brain a half second longer to decipher the negative statement? Thinking in the positive is faster and more natural for our minds. So in your next brainstorming session, try to frame your questions and ideas as a positive action statement.

You can use this simple formula: Action + Object + Qualifier = Result

The action is what you want to do. The object is the thing or person you want to change. The qualifier is the kind of action or change you want. And the result is what you expect to happen. So a statement might be something like this.

In what ways might we market (action) smokeless cigarettes (object) more attractively (qualifier) so people will approve them for use in office buildings (result)?


In what ways might we convince consumers (action) smokeless cigarettes (object) are safe (qualifier) so people will be comfortable with their use in office buildings (result)?

Try framing all of your ideas in this way for 10 minutes. You’ll see that using positive, active statements will speed up your thinking and keep you on track for solving your problem.

Did this spark an idea? Let's talk!

The Value of Brainstorming

Build consensus, recognize common goals, and avoid groupthink.

Creative Ideas: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

See how to reuse old ideas to spark something new.

Animal Instincts: a Branding Exercise

If your brand were an animal, what would it be?


3608 Aldrich Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55409


© 2021 5 by 5 Design. All rights reserved.