by Haris Silic
History shows us the power of human desire and willingness of profit makers to capitalize on this precious human goldmine.David Courtwright wrote a book Forces of Habit, and explored the relationship between human desire and the drugs marketplace. He quotes Tomas Merton, 20th century writer:
“We live in a society, whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and create as many new desires with synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.”
So how do designers design desire? Here is how:
I remember being a child in Bosnia and seeing ads for cigarettes that stated: with a cigarette, you are never alone. I used to loathe these ads, especially because they cut into my favorite cartoon or show that i was watching. As I grew older, and teenage years hit with full plethora of identity issues, cigarettes seemed to offer comfort, and most importantly a sense of friendship. I soon subconsciously realized that with a cigarette I was never alone. I had a best friend that never talked back, or argued with me. I had a friend that would never betray me.
Smoking advertising is mostly prohibited across the world today, however what about fast-food advertising? I cringe every time I see a child ecstatic about his or her “child-size” meal, packed with calories, sodium and fat. Communications strategies have already planted seeds of desire in their minds. Desire for fast, unhealthy foods.
Designers, communications strategists and media professionals are guardians of a healthy society. We need to harness the power of our strategic value. We have the ability to output messages that will design a desire for a better world, one that is mindful of human sustainability, and its economic, social and environmental factors.