Rory Sutherland on Psychology in Advertising

This post may seem like a bit of a sidetrack from graphic design but one of the things that really interests me in design in the psychology behind it. Why do people choose one brand over another? How will people react to a viral campaign? Does this solution actually solve the problem? Questions like these are asked daily, if not hourly when you’re working on a project and sometimes the answers aren’t all that straightforward.

Some of these answers are indirectly explored in Rory Sutherland’s recent TED talk. Sutherland is the Vice Chairman of the Ogilvy Group, a recurring name on this blog, so I was immediately interested in what he has to say.  This reaction was proven to be right during his talk entitled Perspective is Everything:

By applying a lot of these psychological studies to advertising or graphic design you begin to see why some brands become more successful than others or how to gain the response you want from your audience.

Although I found that one first actually I think I prefer his 2009 talk:

The first part overlaps a little but stick with it, as in just 20 minutes, he describes saving as “consumerism needlessly postponed,” likens Rupert Murdoch to a breast feeding woman and shows brilliantly funny market research from Diamond Shreddies.

These insights into placebo effects, perception and happiness generally are invaluable when looking at ways to make companies more successful. Although some of the things Sutherland mentions don’t instantly link to making better graphic design, the principles behind them can, and in my opinion should, definitely be applied or at least considered.


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