Human Design Explained
Updated: Feb 17
Human Design Explained by Libby Hoffmann - Moderne Homemaker
I remember being new to the Human Design world back in 2018, looking up my own design and thinking, “What the… what IS this?!” A “body graph”? What are these shapes and lines? What do the colors mean? So many numbers…! I didn’t fully understand what I was seeing, but right away I *felt* seen.
Once the overwhelming sight of my own design passed, I relaxed into learning mode. As I went deeper into the layers of information, I not only learned new things about myself, it helped me cultivate self acceptance and ease in my own body. This journey of self discovery helped me deepen into my purpose, trust myself more than ever, and grow my wealth in more ways than tangible.
I’ve studied and experimented with the Human Design System for myself, my family and my clients with wonderful results over the last four years. I’ve even published a children's book to introduce the concepts to kids and families, because I believe growing up with your design from birth is a gift for everyone.
So, you may be asking “What IS Human Design?” Well, you’re in the right place because part of *my* design is literally to explain things…
The Human Design System aka HD, is a next generation scientific system that we can use to deeply understand ourselves and each other. It’s embodied knowledge, transmitted in 1987, that combines ancient systems like the I Ching, Astrology, and Hindu Chakras, with modern science, like Biology, Quantum Physics, and Genetics, to allow the mapping of every individual’s energetic DNA.
Simply put, Human Design is the science of differentiation. It’s the inspired language of the practical mechanics of what makes you, YOU.
Human Design is NOT a religion, a personality test, an astrological horoscope, or a form of fortune-telling. The most important thing to understand and remember is that HD is not just a system to learn, it is a tool to experiment with and apply in your daily life, so you can thrive as yourself and empower others to do the same.
Your HD bodygraph is the instruction manual for life that you may have always thought didn’t exist. Here's a peek at mine!
It may look confusing, but your bodygraph actually helps you simplify your life. It allows you to see how you’re designed to interact with others and the world around you most effectively. It illuminates your innate guidance system, so you can make decisions correctly, with ease and confidence. It encourages self leadership-- with less force and fear, and with more clarity and love.
Human Design is the tool that helps you make your soul at home in *your* body, at a cellular level, so you can step fully into your personal power, and live the life of purpose you were created for.
If you haven’t yet started your own journey of self discovery, check out my free tutorial here on how to lookup your individual design using my favorite free human design bodygraph generator.
Definition – Human Design Centers
Inside your body, you have all the potential strength and wisdom that you need, not just to survive, but to thrive in this world. This is your definition in Human Design.
Definition in your design (the colored areas on your bodygraph) is where you have consistent, reliable energy-- your natural strengths. Your openness (the white areas on your bodygraph) is where you have inconsistent, unreliable energy. It is not an absence of energy or anything to avoid, rather it is where you’re more open to receiving that kind of energy from others and your environment.
You want to allow energy through your openness for observation. Allow it to flow in, learn from it, and release it in healthy ways without attaching to it. This continual process allows you to gain wisdom through your experience while minimizing resistance in your life.
If you see a lot of color on your bodygraph, it does not necessarily mean you have a “powerful” design. If you see a lot of openness, that doesn’t mean you have a weak design. Personal power comes through alignment, not from definition. When you live in alignment with your design, moving through life with both Strength and Wisdom, you will express the purest power of your design and thrive as your authentic self.
Looking at your bodygraph, you will see nine large shapes, some colored in (Defined) and some white (Undefined or Open). These are called Centers in Human Design. The Centers show you which energetic hubs are your consistent strength, as seen through defined Channels, and which are your greatest potential for wisdom, as seen through undefined or open Channels.
Channels are a deeper layer of knowledge that I will just discuss briefly here, but I explain them in detail for you personally inside of a Personal Human Design Session. Channels are defined in a bodygraph when opposing Gates of energy are defined in juxtaposition of one another. In Human Design, there are 64 Gates of potential definition and 36 Channels of potential definition.
Here is a brief overview of the nine Human Design Centers:
Head + Ajna: These two Centers combined form the energy of your Mind. The Head is mental pressure, where doubt, inspiration and questions begin. The Ajna is an awareness Center that measures your experience, and develops and organizes the information you receive from your environment.
Spleen + Solar Plexus: These are both Awareness Centers. The Spleen is survival instinct/intuition, and the Solar Plexus is our motorized emotional wave linked to the Nervous System; it is a developing awareness Center in humans.
G: The G Center is a directional Center that acts as an inner compass, guiding us to identity, self-expression, and all forms of love (love of Self, love of the Body, love for Humanity, Universal love of all things)
Sacral: The Sacral is a motorized life-force energy, and a consistent and reliable gut response when defined. It is the center of sustained work and physical focus, as well as creative and sexual energy.
Heart: The Heart Center is motorized willpower/ego. It is our connection to the material world, and focus of provision for community and bonding.
Root: The Root houses adrenalized pressure for us to transform, mutate, change, and complete cycles. It also acts as a motor Center.
Throat: The Throat is commonly mistaken for a motor Center, but it’s not! The Throat is the gearbox for all the energy and potential energy in the body to be manifested or expressed through words, speech, and actions. It provides the mechanics for all the energy moving through us to have a “voice.”
If you’d like to dive deeper into your definition, and explore the healthy and unhealthy expressions of each Center, then I recommend my ebook Color Concepts. Color Concepts is a progressive guide to the Human Design Centers, inspired by the rainbow. Inside I go deeper into the strength and wisdom of all 9 energy Centers, including relatable wisdom from Mother Nature and alignment tips for each Center definition.
Human Design Energy Type
There are four main Energy Types delineated in the Human Design System. These Types are Generator (with sub type Manifesting Generator), Projector, Manifestor, and Reflector. The combination of defined Centers in your design is what determines your Type.
Generators always have a naturally defined Sacral. Manifesting Generators always have a defined Sacral AND a defined connection from a motor Center to the Throat; this could be a connection directly from the Throat to the Sacral, or a connection from the Throat to the Heart, Solar Plexus, and/or Root.
Generators and Manifesting Generators are here to respond to life, work their defined sacral energy and be satisfied through their work. Their natural energetic aura is open and welcoming. They are the life force that keeps the world afloat, and together comprise about 70% of the world population. Some of their gifts are (but never limited to!) creation, building, artistry, mastery, play, wonder, and joy.
Projectors always have an Undefined Sacral, and NO defined connection from the Throat to a motor Center. They are here to be invited to share their wisdom and special skills, and to achieve personal success through aligned sharing and relationships. Their natural energetic aura is focused and absorbing; they see deeply into people and systems. They are natural guides and comprise about 20% of the world population.
Manifestors always have an Undefined Sacral, AND a defined connection from the Throat to a non-Sacral motor Center (Root, Heart, Solar Plexus) They are here to initiate their individual ideas, concepts, and movements into the world, and to experience personal peace through their impact. Their natural energetic aura is closed and repelling; it is healthy for them to be highly selective about who and what they commit their energy to. They are naturally avant-garde and more rare, comprising about 8% of the world population.
Reflectors have NO definition at the Center level of their design; all of their Centers are open or undefined on their bodygraph. They are here to honor their individual cycles (especially their lunar cycle), and to receive surprise and delight through their experience, relationships, and interacting with their environment. Their natural energetic aura is resistant and sampling. It is healthy for them to be deeply aware of other people and cosmic movements, but not attach themselves to anyone or anything. They are natural guides, and should be honored as trustworthy indicators for the wellbeing of communities and spaces around them. Reflectors are rare and comprise only about 2% of the world population.
Energy Type determines the general expression of your energetic aura and corresponds with a specific Strategy you can follow to move through life with the most amount of ease and least amount of resistance. As you move through life following the Strategy for your Type, you will feel the Signature of Alignment for your Type most consistently.
Here are the correspondences for each Type's Strategy and Signature:
Human Design Type Signature
Generator + Manifesting Generator: to Respond -- Satisfaction
Projector: Wait to be Recognized and Invited -- Success
Manifestor: to Inform -- Peace
Reflector: Experience a Lunar Cycle -- Delightful Surprise
When you move through life with force and resistance, not honoring your natural energy, you will feel the “Not-Self.” This is what we call misalignment in Human Design. Here are the corresponding Not Self feelings for each Type:
Human Design Type Not Self
Generator + Manifesting Gen’s: Frustration
Depending on your individual definition, you may experience each or a combination of these Not Self themes when living in misalignment.
You don’t have to be afraid of the Not-Self! Instead, you can use it as a tool within your experiment. Alignment is an ongoing, imperfect process with no final destination. You will always make adjustments as you follow your Type’s Signature and course correct when you feel the Not-Self Theme for your Type.
Your Human Design Strategy works together with your design Authority to keep you in alignment …
Human Design Authority
Your Human Design Authority is your innate guidance system—like a built in GPS for life. It is how you are designed to move through life with ease and clarity, so you can feel confident in your decision making process, and save time and energy every day. You operate best using a specific Authority, which is determined by your Center Definition.
There is a natural hierarchy to the types of Authority, because certain defined Centers are felt stronger in our bodies than others. This hierarchy does not indicate good or bad, best or worst. It is just the nature of the neutral mechanics of definition.
For example, the Solar Plexus is the center of emotional energy in our bodies. When it’s defined, it consistently expresses strong emotional waves that usually supersede intel from other defined Centers, like the intuition of the Spleen or the Sacral gut response. So, if you have a defined Solar Plexus you automatically have Emotional Authority, because the Solar Plexus is at the top of the hierarchy.
The Hierarchy of Human Design Authority
There are five potential inner Authorities:
1-Emotional (defined Solar Plexus)
Emotional Authority is not about making emotional decisions. It’s about gaining perspective through your emotional waves and waiting to make decisions when you reach an even place in your wave.
2-Sacral (undefined Solar Plexus, defined Sacral)
Sacral Authority is about responding with your gut feeling, moment by moment. Commonly expressed through the Throat as an “Uh-Huh” for Yes and “Uhn-Uh” for No. It’s also often felt from the gut as an opening for Yes, or contracting for No.
3-Splenic (undefined Solar Plexus and Sacral, defined Spleen)
Splenic Authority is about tapping into your intuition for each decision. It is an instinctive knowing of what is healthy, safe, and advantageous for you (or not) in the moment.
4-Ego (undefined Solar Plexus, Sacral and Spleen, defined Heart)
Ego Authority is about tapping into your willpower and desire to provide for yourself and others. When you use your Ego Authority in aligned ways to get what you need and want, everyone around you benefits.
5-Self-Projected (undefined Solar Plexus, Sacral, Spleen, and Heart, defined G) Self Projected Authority is about using your voice to see and hear what your most aligned choice is. Listening to your own self expression helps you solidify or make adjustments to your decisions.
There are two potential outer Authorities:
6-Outer-Sounding Board (for Mental Projector Types that have a defined Throat and Ajna and/or Head, and are undefined from the G Center down)
Sounding Board Authority allows you to productively express the mental awareness you have around your decisions, so you can gain clarity through self reflection and self recognition of your most aligned choice(s). Having trusted people or tools in your life that let you speak freely, and help you listen without their own judgment or intervention, is crucial for your process.
7-Lunar Authority (for Reflector Types who have no natural definition)
Lunar Authority is about growing your self awareness through a full lunar cycle, waiting for the clarity to act or not in alignment with your changing nature. Surrendering to the inconsistency of your definition and honoring the unique flow of your needs and desires brings you pleasant surprise and delight in life.
Human Design: Putting All the Pieces Together
When you follow your Strategy, make decisions using your Authority, and allow your natural aura to lead you, then you will consistently feel the Signature of Alignment for your Type. There are many more layers of your design to discover, but you can trust the simplicity of these foundations to bring you fulfillment. Even after years of experimenting, I keep coming back to the basics.
For example, I am a Projector Type, so my aura is focused and absorbing. I see and feel people, environments, and patterns deeply. This makes me a natural guide to creating more efficient systems and to help others live authentically. I feel the most successful and avoid feeling bitter, when I wait for the proper recognition (invitation) to share my guidance. I have Emotional Authority, so I feel most at ease when I give myself space and time to make major decisions, waiting to commit my energy between the highs and lows of my emotional waves.
Explaining your Type, Strategy, and Authority in your own words may be a helpful prompt for you too. I would love to hear if you try it out! Send me a message on Instagram, or connect with me inside the Moderne Homemaker Facebook community. And stay tuned for another piece of the HD puzzle (Human Design Profile) coming soon…
Cheers to continued alignment with the whole beings we are.
Love through all seasons,
Libby Hoffmann is a holistic wellness guide specializing in the Human Design System. She is a birth and postpartum doula, mother of two, and author of the children's book We Are All Light. Find out more about the Moderne Homemaker movement at modernehomemaker.com