Design Methods #18 – Picture Cards

Apr 21 2014

Picture cards are a common tool in qualitative enquiry, helping people to think about and verbalise stories about their life experiences. The cards help to anchor such stories in context and detail, acting as a stimulus for conversation. Visual reference points are much easier to process than verbal questions. Images can be more relevant or more abstract depending on the context and objectives. Read more »

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Design Methods #17 – Eyetracking

Apr 03 2014

Eye tracking is used by designers and researchers to understand where and for how long people are looking (and not looking) when using an interface, viewing websites online, watching adverts on a screen, looking at posters and billboards, interacting with products or navigating a retail environment. The technique was first established for research on human visual perception and also in cognitive psychology, but has been used extensively in understanding human computer interactions and product design as well as applications in market research. The advance of technology have made the method easier and more useful, with less obtrusive equipment and lower cost increasing the accessibility of the tools. To a large extent, eye tracking technology was an inspiration for Google glass. Read more »

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Are Some Senses More Important Than Others?

Mar 24 2014

“Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.” – Margaret Atwood

Are some senses more important than others for brands? It is well understood that our visual perception is one of the key reasons for human dominance on Planet Earth, and many brands (and brand guidebooks) focus on the visual appearance of the brand, perhaps to the detriment of other senses. Does this matter and can other senses create the same or greater impact on how we perceive a brand?

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Principles of Design #56 – Wabi-Sabi

Mar 19 2014

Wabi-Sabi is a design principle that is also a (Japanese) world view, philosophy of life and aesthetic principle. Wabi-Sabi centres on the acceptance of transience and imperfection, and is based on beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete”. It derives from one of the three marks of existence from Buddhism: impermanence. [The others are suffering and absence of self-nature.] Read more »

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11 Reasons why Sensory Marketing makes Business Sense

Mar 16 2014

The world today is overcrowded with businesses and brands vying for out attention, so how can a business gain attention and be remembered? One way is to market through the senses. Brand value is strongly driven by the experience of using the brand – for example, the sensory experience of Unilever Dove is worth over $100 million of the brand’s value according to one research company. Why is sensory marketing such a valuable asset for businesses and brands? Read more »

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Design Methods #16 – Image Boards

Mar 14 2014

Image boards (also called mood boards) usually comprise a collage of pictures, drawings and other imagery that can be used to visually communicate a description of a targeted aesthetic, style, audience or context to guide design. In research they are also used to understand or communicate brand imagery or an idea or topic. Read more »

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It Takes All Sorts

Mar 08 2014

Successful innovation companies, such as IDEO, have long valued diversity in the workplace, and the creative sparks that fly from the interaction between different personalities and perspectives. And recent research on innovation has showed that a climate of constructive criticism is more beneficial than one of artificial positivity. Read more »

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Principles of Design #55 – Normal Distribution

Feb 24 2014

Normal distribution is used to describe any set of data that forms a symmetrical bell-shaped curve when plotted, and comes from the work of Karl Friedrich Gauss, and hence is also known as the Gaussian distribution or bell curve. Such distributions are found commonly in nature: annual temperatures and student test scores are two examples. The bell-shaped curve that results from plotting such measurements shows a small number of cases at the extremes and a large number of cases in the middle of the curve. Read more »

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Design Methods #15 – Card Sort

Feb 12 2014

Card sorting is a great exercise for exploring how people group items into categories, and how they relate concepts to one another. In design, this approach is typically used for developing digital interfaces and tables of contents, but it has broader research applications too. For example, this can be a great tool whenever you need to investigate user comprehension, generate options for structuring information or create meaningful categories for a topic of interest (e.g. understand the different ways in which users group brands and categories). Read more »

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5 Steps to Multi-Sensory Design

Feb 05 2014

Having written Brand esSense, I was pleased earlier this year to find a book which shares many of the same concerns. Michael Haverkamp works at the Ford Engineering Centre in Cologne, Germany and is the author of Synesthetic Design, first published in German and now available in English (see below). The book is a great resource on sensory design, focusing on the interaction and reinforcement of design across multiple senses. The book itself is multi-sensory, coming with a CD of sounds, sonic landscapes and music referenced in the text, so you can listen as you read.

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