When people think of design they may have a fixed idea of what it may consist of, however design is malleable and can be compromised of tangible and intangible aspects that designers are able to use to communicate ideas and messages for a variety of motives. It can be used for commercial goods, advertising or simply creating aesthetically pleasing things although some designers like New Yorker Patricia Moore embarked on a 3 year experiment disguised as an 85 year old, travelling around North America to experience life as a senior citizen (Mike Press & Rachel Cooper, 2003).
“At a time when populations throughout the industrialised world are ageing rapidly, with life expectancy rising, the birthrate slowing down and most consumer spending power already in the hands of those aged over 50, design professionals have to find new ways of seeing the world through the eyes of others…”
– Mike Press, Rachel Cooper
I think using alternative methods in order to better understand what consumers want is important regardless of what area of design it may be. Designers hold responsibility for their work whether they are working for profit or to make a difference, Indonesian marketing and advertisements for example strategically target male and female consumers in different ways usually linking gendered stereotypes to products.
A well known example of this is their association of masculinity and smoking, alluding that smoking makes you appear stronger, in control and more of a “man” while quitting is like giving up. figures 1 and 2 below were just two of the many creatively designed advertisements most likely aimed at males aged below 30, bold ads being able to reach audience of all ages would be easily understood regardless of language barriers.
Figure.1 ‘Never Quit’ Figure.2 ‘We are stronger’
A similar issue according to Sandra C.Jones and Christopher A.Magee is the lack of alcoholic advertisement regulations in Australia which are reaching under 18’s much easier than expected. According to their study conducted on Australian teenagers aged 12-15 they were exposed to “alcohol advertisements on television, in newspapers and magazines, on the Internet, on billboards/posters and pro- motional materials and in bottleshops, bars and pubs.”(Sandra Jones, Christopher Majee, 2003) whom also admit to drinking alcohol in the past 4 weeks.
Designers can and should be used as catalysts for good, however when designing for companies that make profit off of their customers habits e.g. gambling, drinking etc, there may be a disconnect between design and the possible negative outcomes the product or packaging is associated with.
Mike Press, Rachel Cooper, 2003, ’The Design Experience – The Role of Design and Designers in the Twenty-First Century’, Viewed 27 Jan 2019.
Sandra C. Jones and Christopher A. Magee, 2003,‘Exposure to Alcohol Advertising and Alcohol Consumption among Australian Adolescents’, Viewed 27 Jan 2019.