Everything that we use was designed by someone. Sometimes we are aware of the design and sometimes it is just part of the product. Good design can make using a product a pleasure. Equally, bad design – design that undermines purpose, that looks or feels wrong, that promises something that it can’t deliver – can devalue the experience.
Here are two designs for rocking chairs to produce electric power that illustrate what I mean:
The choice is very subjective and is likely to be conditioned by your life experience and values. Modern or traditional? Radical or conservative?
Now we could try to be rational about this. Which chair would be most comfortable for longest? Which chair was most efficient in producing energy? Which chair represents best value and which will last the largest number of use cycles before it breaks? But would either approach get us closer to the objective truth? Is it even right to link relaxation in a rocking chair with the production of electricity?
Emotion plays a huge part in choice. Emotion is not rational – at least on the conscious level. So look again and tell me which do you prefer, and what is driving your choice?
So what has this to do with Marketing and PR? Design is a form of communication. Every company should be aware of this, because their products speak to their users every time that they are used and can build or to bruise that relationship.