I am doing a research about honesty and integrity in branding and how design has a responsibility in creating honesty and integrity. I have come to the conclusion that design is a messenger, a way of bringing forth brand values and ideas in an attractive way that has an impact. Design cannot create honesty and trust if these values are absent in the first place. What I am looking into now is how design contributes to overconsumption and if this power of design can be interpreted as manipulative and lacking integrity? Has anyone been influenced by design when purchasing a product/service? Can design make you consume more?
Design can’t MAKE anyone do anything, but it can influence people.
As a bit of an analogy, does McDonalds make people overweight? If a person eats there 3 times a day and select the high fat high calorie options on the menu, they will become overweight, but McDonalds didn’t MAKE them select those choices. I just finished a road trip across the United States and stopped into a McDonalds 3 times because of the lack of choices in some spots along the way, I got a salad all 3 times, they didn’t MAKE me get a Big Mac. Does this analogy make sense?
Isn’t this whole point of design? We design products so that people will buy it, and we want them to buy a lot of whatever it is we are designing. Can design make you consume more? Yes, there are a lot of people who will buy any new apple product regardless of if they really need it. Why, because apple has done an excellent job of offering quality beautiful products for a long time. Well, at least until this death grip fiasco.
We all hope for honesty and integrity but Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer be ware) is a popular saying for a reason.
I wouldn’t wlsay Ape makes those people behave that way. Apple was a 2% market share brand for a long time, but they built a reputation as a trusted editor and an industry renegade that a smallgroupbof people associated with and that grew and when that combined with the mp3 player, a space they applied some innovative thinking before their pc competitors, people adopted the brand in a more mass way.
As designers, I just don’t think we tell people what to do, we learn from them. They. Tell us what to do even thought they may not realize it. We take that and put some real thought to it and deliver something that hopefully satisfies a real need or a need for a want.
If your good, you can have some consistancy with this, but at the end of the day, it takes people to adopt our products. When Webber was making the classic charcoal grill, do you think they ha a sense they were designing something that would be produced or generations?
you are making a good point here and I agree. It’s just that through design and constant launch of upgrades and new products consumers are forced consciously and unconsciously into buy them. Especially with brands which have managed to create a special bond with the consumer and have the power to ‘manipulate’ our emotions. Design can be used as an enticement, dont u think? Haven’t you ever bought a product just because of the way it looked, or because of it’s promotion/campaign or simply because you have a special bond with the brand? In Apple’s case the constant launch of new colours and more GB of ipods and the new iphone, the new ipad they create expectations and because of the fact that Aple has such a connection with its customers, isn’t it possible that people are lead to consume more? Perhaps even consciously!
Like Yo said, design cant make people buy it. Hence, force is too strong a word to use in this kind of discussion. Sorry if im slipping in to rhetorics, but it feels kind of important.
In the end, the consumer always rules what we do, and they always have the possibility to vote with their dollar.
I’d be more curious about if consumers keep an inferior product because of its stunning good looks. Or, Does bad design contribute to over consumption? Since we are using apple as an example, I can’t actually think of anyone I know who upgrades and gets the newest freshest item apple products, even if they do not need it. The quality is good enough to keep for quite a long while, and their major product refresh cycles are fare longer in between than every other brand out there. Plus, they are pretty expensive…
On the other hand, Honesty and integrity in branding isnt skin deep. It’s equally important with quality and reliability, and is probably the factors that make people stick to the brand.
bngi, that is a great point. I would attribute the high rate of consumption to bad design, not good design. As an Apple user myself, I rarely part with a product, always making sure it goes to some use, and if I can’t I give it away to someone I know who could use it, or donate it to a non profit. I could never throw one away!
I’d say overall there is a LACK of materialism in our culture. Most people believe that no joy can come from object, they are taught “material things wont make you happy”. I think that perhaps because of this, people just don’t put much thought into the things they buy, making them susceptible to advertising, peer pressure, or just the desire for the cheapest product, the race to the bottom. Because they might have fewer opinions and genuine feelings about what they themselves buy, they are never satisfied by what they have, and seek to fulfill this with the next thing that is advertised, or the next door neighbor has, and so on.
But in my opinion, if people were MORE materialistic, and by that I mean respected the material world, the thought and time that went into design, manufacture, market, and distribute the products they use in their daily lives, maybe that would lead to a more thoughtful decision where in people surrounded themselves with objects that were relevant to them, made in a way they felt was responsible, and full filled their needs.
How important is the role of design in influencing consumer’s brand choices?
Well, I think if you post this on an ID forum, you will get a lot of variations of “very important” and if you asked a bunch of add men, engineers, software designers, brand managers, retailers how important their function is influencing a consumers choices, many might say their own field is very influential if not the most influential.
people just don’t put much thought into the things they buy, making them susceptible to advertising, peer pressure, or just the desire for the cheapest product, the race to the bottom. Because they might have fewer opinions and genuine feelings about what they themselves buy, they are never satisfied by what they have, and seek to fulfill this with the next thing that is advertised, or the next door neighbor has, and so on.
Which brings a lyric come to mind… one that is incredibly difficult, being “human”, to live by.
“It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” Sheryl Crow _ Soak Up the Sun