People ignore designs that ignore them

While operating in the space of brands, and especially the ones which actively exist in the life of end consumers it is not only important but a ‘must’ to have a great deal of understanding about their way of living. If we are intending to create likings and preferences towards the brands we are crafting how and why there should be any disconnect?

In the age of super pace, only if we pause for a moment and look at ourselves, we’ll notice we are humans first before the economic system defined us as ‘consumers’. And, it is an indisputable truth that all the choices, actions that we as humans do comes from the perception and a belief system which we created out of the sensorial, emotional and societal experiences. The outcome/ response of which can be observed in our behaviour; be it individual or collective and all the areas of our expressions e.g. body language to photographs to tweets etc. These subtle signs if decoded in semiotic manner as insights to build design solutions the way they can be received by the audience will be with high degree of effortlessness and synchrony with their lives. However having decoded such signs and patterns by scanning all life-stages of humans is not sufficient as ‘time’ is another important factor that keeps influencing our responses/ behaviour in considerable manner.

Fig.1: An Inside-Out Approach to Design

One such case at DY Works, though not recent one would be the refreshed identity of Thums Up. The brand, a metaphor for Indian masculinity is a leader of its category. It also has an iconic visual signature, which is based on a simple but everlasting positively meaningful gesture. The Coca-Cola Company came to us to get it tuned with the changing times. A semiotic study of various aspects of masculinity in changing India made us discover many signs including the take the new age male had on masculinity.

Fig.2: Men; Then and Now

Fig.3: Devised Thums-up visual mark

One such, the change of perspective from the workman-like to more youthful and relaxed persona as an aspiration. Besides the strength and endurance lot of aesthetic sophistication was fused into the definition. To bring up the value of 'dum/power' in the visual signature of brand, it clearly demanded the fine-tuning in order to infuse clean lined sophistication to the hand silhouette also a refinement of the typeface (from the archaic to simple and upfront). We did remove the thunderous shadow (which held it back, rather than propelled it forward). The change is also reflected in the baseline and the PVC bottle labels, which build on the masculinity and strength of the brand… making the brand vocabulary clearer, assertive and refreshed whilst remaining rooted.

Fig.4: Inside-out approach results compared

The semiotic approach helped us reach the root cause ‘why’ and the means of achievement ‘how’ to help derive the solution inside out. In a way an approach that keeps the solutions in perfect alignment with the mindset of end-consumer in true sense. A simple learning from my experience is, most of the advice we’ve heard about life probably also applies to design;as both are primarily concerned with people.

Prashant Shingade
Associate Creative Director, DY Works

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