Made You Look, But Can You Hear Me? Adding Value Systems Research into Our Visual Communications

By Eve Faulkes.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

People don’t change their opinions or their habits easily. If an intended audience is predisposed against a message the designer hopes to put forward, how does design proceed? This paper demonstrates efforts in a graphic design curriculum to apply findings of behavioral psychologists to both experience and message design. One theory (from Dr. James Prochaska) deals with ways in which behavior change often fails, and another (from one of the TED speakers, Jonathan Haidt) addresses differences in moral value systems between the communicator and listener, which can set up virtual walls (or earplugs). By looking carefully at places that could sabotage a message or experience, we can improve the chances of our design being effective when prejudices or other barriers to change are present. Both psychologists have expressed interest in these experiments which attempt to make visual design tools from their theories. In the case studies, persuasive posters attempt to bring unlikely voting populations to the polls in the last election, and an experience design project applies design to a behavior change program for diabetic patients at points where people typically drop out or give up.

Keywords: Experience Design, Behavior Change, Graphic Design Practice, Ethnographic Application

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.9-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 946.071KB).

Eve Faulkes

Professor of Graphic Design, Division of Art and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA

Eve Faulkes is the Coordinator of Graphic Design at West Virginia University with an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She is a practicing designer, book artist and private press operator. Her special interests lie in the integrity of the design process—in terms of making life better, discovering more sustainable practices, and efficiency and effectiveness considerations that avert waste of time for the viewer or user. She searches for pragmatic methods to improve current message-making practice for herself and students, as well as ways to be more meaningful and to better connect to an audience. Her artist’s books are in many collections in the US and abroad, and she has exhibited and been a visiting artist internationally.


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