Fortune cookie showing a stripe of six colors, each of them representing the experiential qualities that constitute the framework created by Omar Sosa-Tzec

Delightful design to live a happy and flourishing life

Engagement - Surprise - Liveliness - Cuteness - Serendipity - Reassurance

Omar Sosa-Tzec's headshot

I’m Omar Sosa-Tzec, PhD (he/him), Assistant Professor of Visual Communication Design in the School of Design at San Francisco State University. I study the semiotics, rhetoric, and aesthetics of user interfaces, interactive experiences, and communication design.

My academic background includes a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction Design, MDes in Information Design, MSc in Industrial Computing and Mathematics, and a BSc in Computer Science.

For more than one decade and a half, I have been teaching a variety of design topics to undergraduate and graduate students at various universities in Mexico and the United States. Parallelly, I have worked on projects relating to corporate identity design, web design, and information design.

Research and Scholarship Overarching Theme

Delightful Design refers to the practice of creating artifacts aimed at helping people live a happy and flourishing life by fulfilling situated goals and desires punctually, seeking to provoke appreciation as a result of this fulfillment. As this practice intends to support living a good life, delightful design is both hedonic and eudaimonic.

Six qualities mainly characterize delightful design: engagement, surprise, liveliness, cuteness, serendipity, and reassurance. These six qualities work as a framework to guide this practice and its study, particularly from a semiotic, rhetoric, and aesthetic perspective.

Experiences involving delightful design entail joy combined with remarkable moments of unexpectedness, immersion, and aesthetic appraisal.

Engaging in delightful design is to make use of visual, verbal, aural, olfactory, and tactile materials to form a time-based and use-oriented gestalt with the potential to engender any combination of the six qualities in function of how the designed artifact fulfills a person’s situated goals and desires.

Underpinnings: Design, Philosophy, Semiotics, Multimodality, Rhetoric, Argumentation, Aesthetics, Human-Computer Interaction, Positive Psychology


PhD in Human Computer Inrteraction
Indiana University

MDes in Information Design
Universidad de las Américas Puebla

MSc in Computer Science
Centro de Investigatción en Matemáticas

BSc in Computer Science
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán

Meaning of Tzec

Tzec means skull (or death) and is the fith month of the Haab (agricultural) calendar of the Mayans. Tzec refers to the end of a cycle (the 260-day count), with the sun figuratively in or ready to rise from the underworld.

Adapted from Rice, P. M. (2007). Maya Calendar Origins: Monuments, Mythistory, and the Materialization of Time. p. 89. Austin: University of Texas Press.

As many people born in Mexico, I have two last names: Sosa and Tzec. Custom dictates that you formally address someone using the first last name (father’s) or both (father’s and mother’s). In my case, Sosa or Sosa-Tzec works. If you are my student, please, do not refer to me as Mr. Tzec. Your message may come across as disrespectful.

Contact Information

600 Holloway Avenue
Fine Arts Building 515
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-7392

Advising Appointments

Omar Sosa-Tzec's Symbol for Design