What is Human Design and the Design Types?

My favourite way to describe Human Design is that it helps us understand HOW we need to use our energy through understanding the way we are designed. And you guessed it, we're all unique.

What is Human Design?

Human Design is a tool to help you discover your life’s purpose, primarily through understanding yourself. Many of us live out an unhealthy design, according to someone else’s agenda. Discovering how you are designed is one of the most liberating experiences, because it gives you permission to honour the way you’re probably already feeling but resisting to act upon.

It was created - or first initiated/downloaded - by Robert Alan Krakower during a spiritual experience he had in the late 80s - making Human Design a relatively new tool for self-discovery. After the intense shifting this experience caused, Krakower decided to change his name to Ra Uru Hu to reflect his new sense of being. Ra has also said that he received information stating the Human Design system was consciously downloaded by a few other individuals. He was, however, brave enough to publicly share the concept.

I really like Karen Curry’s book, “Understanding Human Design,” as a physical resource tool. Curry explains Human Design as being anchored through a blend of astrology, chakras, quantum physics, the I Ching and the Kaballah. If that sounds like a lot of things to comprehend - that’s because - it is.

When I first dove into Human Design, it was 2013, and I wasn’t really ready to receive it. This concept can be a lot. It took my understanding of astrology to help me - personally - download the knowledge from this tool, because there are a lot of moving parts. And to this day, depending on whom I interact with and what his or her energy is, I’m still learning many of the details. Mostly because I’m seeing things through the lens of my Manifestor Design. And while the Types are important and a great place to start, further deepening your knowledge about how you’re designed by analyzing your gates and channels in your chart, your incarnation cross, understanding your authority and opened and defined centres, can take a long time to truly understand.

It is better to start slowly before sinking into the depths and numerous discoveries waiting for you when you first understand HOW to use your very specific energy.

Human Design’s purpose is to offer a guide on how to interpret the best way to use YOUR energy. Let’s take a peek at the four types, and what their common traits are. It’s important to note, that while the whole planet fits into five “types” (one is a hybrid), there are so many details WITHIN the Human Design (as mentioned above), that that does not mean that the billions of us are all categorized into five types and therefore just the same. (This is also a misconception with astrology). Once you find out your type, exploring the depths of your chart can absolutely enhance your experience in this life.

How do I find out my type?

I find it’s best to figure out your type before continuing to read, so you can get a better grasp of how these types work - in action! Self-discovery and self-knowledge is such a valuable tool.

Human Design calculates your birth date, the place you were born - and your EXACT birth time (just like an astrological natal chart), and then churns out a Bodygraph that looks like a complex triangle with nine energy centres (based similarly like the chakra system). There will also be numbers and symbols along the sides of the triangle. These are other calculations in your chart.

This entire piece is your special blueprint to how you are designed.

You can calculate your free chart here.

The nine centres within each Bodygraph

Human Design Chart

Head (top): Inspiration
Ajna (inverted triangle): Certainty
Throat (square): Communication/action
Identity (diamond): Self, life direction, love
Will (red tiangle): Willpower
Emotional Solar Plexus (right triangle): Emotions
Sacral (middle square): Workforce and life force energy
Spleen (left triangle): Survival mode, immune system
Root (bottom square): Adrenaline, motivation

Depending on which energy centres you have open (white) or defined (coloured) acts as a map to help you determine how to use your unique energetic expression.

When energy centres are defined, they represent the type of energy you emit out into the world. These centres will determine how you present yourself to the world.

Open centres act a little bit different. These centres can sometimes feel intense, because they are often influenced by outer influences, like those around you. They are open! These centres take in energy! The open centres are actually the areas where you could experience some of the most pain, because they’re impressionable by others and the world around you. They also are an opportunity for deep wisdom.

These centres and whether they are open or defined are what help determine your Human Design Type.

What are the Four Design Types + one Hybrid?

The four types, (plus one hybrid) each use their energy in different ways, and its important to understand how YOU are designed so you can know how to best effectively navigate your experience here. While there are many other components to understand in Human Design, such as your Inner Authority (how you make decisions), your incarnation cross, your gates and channels, and more, beginning by understanding Your Type, and the type of those in your life is a great way to give yourself permission to simply be who you are.

Your Human Design Type is calculated using your birthdate, birth place and birth time. They need to be EXACT.

All the Types work together; their energies rely on one another, and when we’re each operating in a healthy way is when we will best thrive.


Generators can become masters of their work since they are extremely self-aware, and have extremely sustainable energy. While they may not speed past others, they will be able to go on longer than most. These people are like the long distance runners! This type is designed to WORK. It’s important that they love their work, and if they do, they can work and work and work. If they don’t, they’ll have an underlying feeling of frustration in their day-to-day, and can often feel stuck. But when a Generator feels frustrated, that is her trigger to understand that she needs to pause and assess because something is no longer working and needs to be tweaked. She can then wait for all the information to rise to the surface, which will allow her to see all the opportunities before her. She can then determine the healthiest direction. Generators are designed to pause, rely on their amazing abilities of self-awareness, and let the opportunities come to them. If a Generator goes out hunting for opportunities (the way a Manifestor would), they will miss them because they aren’t able to use their incredible powers of self-awareness to assess what is in front of them. Generators aren’t designed to go out and make things happen, but they are designed to stop, wait, assess the situation, let life show up for them, and then determine their best direction forward with all the information presented to them. When they do - BOOM. No stopping them. They have a defined sacral centre, which is designed to have them go-go-go and then wear themselves out by the end of the day. Sometimes, it’s even beneficial for them to burn out their energy through physical activity in order to actually get a good sleep. I like to imagine these people turning on, that sacral centre generating a hum of incredible energy that can just go on and on until it totally depletes. Then these people just have incredibly restorative sleeps, that allows them to do it all over again. If you’re a Generator who has trouble sleeping, try to burn out your energy before bed. These people do best when they respond to their gut, because that is where their source of power generates from.


Manifestors are very driven, and often influential. You can actually feel them when they walk into a room. They carry a raw power and energy, but they can be prone to being impatient - they move so quickly! - and they can become angry and irritable if they can’t do what they want. These people are like sprinters! Manifestors don’t like waiting for others; this is because their energy moves so fast and comes in amazing bursts. If they have to wait, that energetic burst could evaporate. Sometimes this powerful energy can cause them to blow past people. It’s important for Manifestors to always communicate about what they’re doing. While they don’t have to ask permission, they do need to inform others around them in order to thrive. Do not tell a Manifestor what to do! They often have a bold, undeniable energy that others are either very drawn to or very repelled by. This usually causes them to have followers of some kind; other energies who light up from the Manifestor’s energy. Their auras are DENSE and this gives them presence. For some, that energy is too intense, and the Manifestor Type needs to remember they do not need to please everyone, because they are not designed to please everyone. They have an open sacral centre, and will have a defined throat centre that connects to one or more of the four motor centres: sacral, will, root, or emotional solar plexus. This connection gives them the energy to “start” things; they are creators. They are the only type that is pure energy. Because of their ability to BEGIN and CREATE, they are unable to sustain like a Generator. If they go too hard for too long, they burn out - and they’re not designed to burn out like the Generator is when she uses up all her energy. If a Manifestor does this, it can take them a long time to recover. These people need to retreat to renew their energy before they completely run out of steam. Careers that have them in a 9-5 setting would be exhausting for Manifestors; they are really designed for freelance or entrepreneurship where they can work according to their urges and bursts of energy and creativity. Since the world isn’t exactly designed this way, many Manifestors can struggle in this area, and be quite unhealthy since they are not using their energy effectively. These people have minds that are constantly manifesting, so even if it looks like they’re resting, their energy is probably creating. These types need to be allowed to honour their energetic urges, rest, and work in intense intervals. Manifestors work really well alone!


35-40% of population

This hybrid can do many things at once and they’re incredibly good at finding the shortest route there. If Generators are the long distance runners, Manifestors are the sprinters, Manifesting Generators are the ones who begin jogging like a Generator, pause, assess the route, find the shortcut, and then pick up a bit of speed. These people will have a defined sacral centre like the Generator, and also have a defined throat centre that is connected to one of the motor centres: sacral, will, root, or emotional solar plexus. This hybrid - while good at finding shortcuts, can sometimes miss important steps, or not finish what they start. They often have lots to do and can seem quite busy - which is good because they are designed to do a lot of things at once - but they usually have many projects fall in their lap (sometimes too many) when they should have paused like their Generator influence and assessed which projects to accept or decline. A Manifesting Generator doesn’t need to accept every project (though they sometimes do), because they should be putting their amazing energy into the projects that light them up. When they are doing this (healthy), wow - they seem unstoppable. A Manifesting Generator working on a project they feel passionate about will not miss important steps. If they’ve taken on a project that they would have rather declined for whatever reason, the results will show, and this will frustrate or anger the Manifesting Generator, causing her to feel like she has to do more to make up for it. This can cause a pile of projects they don’t finish, or make them feel like they’re a bit of a mess (or all over the place), or even stuck. Sometimes they can have their head down because they’re working so hard on so many things, that when they do finally pause and look up, they don’t recognize their surroundings, or don’t like them. Thankfully, this design is so amazing because they can do waaaay more than most people since they can sustain those big bursts of energy for a long time (hybrid). These types NEED to do something, and usually more than one thing at a time. They are the ultimate multitasker. If they’re unable to do this, they may feel frustrated (Generator) or angry (Manifestor). They need to practice patience a little more than others because the rest of the world is unable to do as much as they are - especially not for as long as they are able to. If you’re this type, let the projects you love guide you. And when MGs are NOT working on projects, they should relax by doing exactly what they love to do, what lights them up in leisure.


20% of the population

Projectors are amazing managers and coaches. They can oversee and direct others with finesse because their energy acts like a spotlight. When they shine their spotlight on something they help focus energy on it. These types are intuitive and highly sensitive, but they lack the self-awareness that the Generator uses to guide her through life. This is because Projectors have an open sacral centre. The open sacral takes in energy and amplifies it but only for a short period of time. In that time, since the energy is amplified, they can get A LOT done. These types are influenced by who they are around. If they’re around a Magnetic Manifestor emitting bursts of energy, the Projector will add to it and amplify it (talk about a great party duo!). But this energy is not sustainable - if they do try to sustain it for too long, they can become sick physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Chronically. These people are highly sensitive! They need time to dispel all that energy they’ve absorbed from others, but they can have a hard time recognizing when they’ve absorbed too much (open sacral). When they are healthy and patient, they are absolutely magnetic. Other types cannot resist them! They are then always being invited to BIG THINGS, and this absolutely feeds and fills this type. Projectors should be careful with their spotlight however; they need to be invited to shine their light on others. If they simply shine that light on others without an invitation, it can be blinding, or too intense, causing a lack of harmony with others. Projectors are NOT here to work - and when they try to work like a Generator or Manifestor they can become miserable. They are not designed for a 9 - 5 schedule, and especially not physical labour which causes them to expel more energy they just don’t have. It’s not that they can’t have a job, but their work needs to make sense for them. This “waiting for the invitation” should not be confused for laziness or weakness. If they don’t wait, but bulldoze ahead without the invitation, they will come off as controlling and actually repel others. It’s important for a Projector to feel valued or recognized (they are usually drawn to achieve some kind of fame or recognition) - and if they aren’t recognized it can be incredibly painful for them. This type has IMMENSE wisdom to offer, but if they shout it out before people are ready for it, it will not be received. If the Projector is here coaching the runners, giving all kinds of tips and advice, the Projector will need to step back once the Types are getting set to run. If she is still shouting tips from the sidelines when the other Types are trying to focus their energy to run, she will frustrate or anger the other types, discrediting all her advice. However, if a pair of sparkling eyes look up at her for advice while crouched in the start position, she can absolutely give that encouraging nod. The Projector will just need help knowing when enough is enough. If you’re a Projector, remember: You are not designed to run! Please don’t feel like you have to. You can coach the runners.



Reflectors are here to reflect others, specifically their communities and people. They are extremely passionate, incredibly unique, and are highly sensitive to everything. They are here to promote peace and wellness and are incredibly wise. This is because all their centres are open! They receive all kinds of information in every centre, and should truly be respected by those around them. It is a privilege to know a Reflector - and understand how their energy works. These are uncommon types! Whatever energy is moving around out there, the Reflector sees it reflected through others, not herself. She is the barometer for our collective wellness and in an ideal world, each community (as a reflection of the global community) would have one within their network. The unique way Reflectors are to use their energy is by waiting an entire lunar cycle before making any decisions. This allows them to fully understand the situation. They are talkers, and they need to talk and talk and talk (over a period of 28 days!) in order to reach a state of clarity within their bodies that allows them to make a healthy decision. These people understand others deeply, specifically in their places of suffering. They are able to take in information in order to understand it, but they are also constantly taking in since each centre is open. This is what makes them highly sensitive. They are designed to be conditioned by the environment they find themselves in, and if they are in a healthy community, they are healthy; an unhealthy community is also reflected through them. These types are actually quite resilient, since everything is always changing around them. They are able to move through and process these changes without as much trauma as the other types. But because of a constant stream of energy, they can sometimes appear inconsistent or changeable. Stability is not something rooted in their system. Since Reflectors are here to reflect others, they can sometimes have a hard time self-reflecting, and thus knowing what is right for them. This is why it is so important for the Reflector to wait an entire moon cycle in order to know how SHE feels about something. Imagine the Reflector in a helicopter, watching the race below. She sees the runners and the coaches, and she reports on (or processes) all that is happening. She will see what is fair, who is cheating, who is being clever, who is suffering or struggling. She watches until the very end - she doesn’t stop half way through and thinks she has all the information. The race is life, and the Reflector is watching life and absorbing it, understanding what is best for the runners and the coaches. She just needs to remember to eat and sleep (etc) and take care of herself, too!

Awesome resources for more learning:
Understanding Human Design (Karen Curry)
Human Design Films (Richard Beaumont)
Jenna Zoe
MyBodyGraph (Jovian Archive Media)