The Power of Marketing and Design: Lessons from Duolingo and the Surprising Science of Emotions


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 26, 2023

4 min read


The Power of Marketing and Design: Lessons from Duolingo and the Surprising Science of Emotions


Effective marketing and design play crucial roles in the success of any brand. In this article, we will explore the case study of Duolingo, a language learning app that has mastered the art of marketing and design to create a globally recognized brand. Additionally, we will delve into the surprising science of emotions and how they influence our decision-making process. By combining these two topics, we can gain valuable insights into developing effective marketing strategies that resonate with our target audience.

Duolingo's Marketing Success:

Duolingo has achieved remarkable success in marketing by turning their brand into a verb. Similar to how we say "Just Google it," Duolingo has become synonymous with language learning. This clever strategy has significantly increased brand awareness and made Duolingo a household name. By harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing through their unique brand positioning, Duolingo has successfully captured the attention of language learners worldwide.

Furthermore, Duolingo's presence on TikTok showcases their willingness to explore new platforms and test innovative marketing strategies. This highlights the importance of finding the right channels to connect with your target audience. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to emerging trends, brands can maximize their reach and engagement.

The Role of Design in Duolingo's Success:

Duolingo's design elements have played a pivotal role in driving user engagement. The app's consistent structure and intuitive user interface create a seamless learning experience. One notable design element is the use of subtle animations in icons, which adds an element of delight to the user's journey. These animations evoke a sense of joy and enhance the overall user experience.

Additionally, Duolingo leverages visual elements such as dotted lines and pop-ups to guide users through their learning journey. These design choices provide users with a sense of support and reassurance, making them feel less alone in their language learning endeavors. By incorporating such design elements, Duolingo fosters a positive emotional connection with its users, ultimately driving higher engagement and retention rates.

Understanding the Science of Emotions:

Contrary to popular belief, emotions are not counterproductive to effective thought and decision-making. In fact, emotions play an integral role in shaping our cognitive processes. Research shows that we cannot make decisions or think without being influenced by our emotions. Emotions are not isolated states but rather overlap and interact with one another. They form a functional state of the mind that guides our actions and influences our decision-making.

Emotional contagion, however, is a significant factor that can sway our emotions in certain directions. Media outlets, such as Fox News, understand the power of fear and anger in capturing attention and driving engagement. By exploiting these emotions, they create a cycle of fear and anger that keeps viewers hooked and craving for more. It is essential to be aware of this emotional manipulation and consciously regulate our own emotional responses to external stimuli.

Harnessing Emotions for Better Decision-Making:

Our emotional state can significantly impact our decision-making process. By having a heightened consciousness of our emotions, we can make more informed choices. For example, if we find ourselves in a state of disgust, even when encountering something desirable, we may resist taking action due to the influence of that emotion. This awareness allows us to revisit decisions later when we are in a different emotional state, ensuring a more rational and balanced approach.

In terms of practical applications, studies have shown that individuals with better emotional regulation have a lower risk of heart attacks. Emotion regulation is a skill that can be developed through learning and practice. By honing our ability to regulate our emotions, we can improve our overall well-being and decision-making capabilities.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Build a strong brand presence by turning your brand into a verb or creating a unique positioning that captures the essence of your product or service. This will help drive brand awareness and make your brand more memorable.
  • 2. Continually explore new marketing channels and platforms to reach your target audience. Stay ahead of emerging trends and adapt your strategies accordingly. Experimentation and learning from new platforms can lead to significant breakthroughs in marketing success.
  • 3. Develop emotional intelligence by actively monitoring and regulating your emotions. Be aware of emotional contagion and the potential manipulation of emotions by external forces. By understanding and managing your emotions, you can make more informed decisions and improve your overall well-being.


The case study of Duolingo exemplifies the power of effective marketing and design in creating a successful brand. By understanding the science of emotions and their impact on decision-making, we can enhance our marketing strategies and create more meaningful connections with our target audience. By incorporating actionable advice such as building a strong brand presence, exploring new marketing channels, and developing emotional intelligence, we can drive better results and achieve long-term success.

Hatch New Ideas with Glasp AI 🐣

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)