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DXD MINOR FONTYS EINDHOVEN

Symphony Aptitude & Persuasive Design

Essay for the media class of Suzanne Kuijk

Timothée CAPALDI (I396732)

09/11/2017

“How can the symphony aptitude of a media designer (according to Pink) contribute to behavioral change in the persuasive design of media (according to Fogg)?

Symphony Aptitude & Persuasive Design

How can the symphony aptitude (according to Pink) of a media designer contribute to behavioral change in the persuasive design of media (according to Fogg)?”

Introduction (Definitions)

“Symphony” First, and because it’s not obvious for everybody, you may want to know what symphony is? Etymologically, the word comes from the contraction of Latin words “sun” (together) and “phōnē” (sound) so it’s basically a musical term. By extension, a symphony means anything characterized by a harmonious combination of elements. For example: a symphony of color, a symphony of taste…

According to Pink, symphony is seeing the big picture, it’s the ability to link apparently unlinked elements together and make the all thing harmonious. He even says that in this “conceptual” age, people must think symphonic. For pink, symphony is a designer aptitude to take into account in anything he makes.

Persuasive Design”

According to fogg, behavior of a individual is altered to an action depending on three factors:

motivation, ability and trigger. He even translated his theory into a formula: B=mat.

Symphony Aptitude & Persuasive Design “ How can the symphony aptitude (according to Pink) of a

(This graph on the left shows the correlation)

For an individual to take action, he needs to be:

  • Motivated enough

  • Able enough

  • Triggered.

If those three factors are sufficient, the individual will cross the action Line (buy you’re product). Trigger can then be considered successful.

This is Persuasive design: Think to be persuasive.

If symphony is a useful designer aptitude, can it be used to persuade an individual to take action? I will try to answer this question in this essay. I will begin with arguments that prove symphony has nothing to do with persuasive design and then I will destroy this thesis with counterexamples.

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Thesis: Symphony isn’t supposed to be a tool to persuasive design

A symphony is no joke” – Johannes Brahms Symphony isn’t basically linked to persuasion. It’s just expression, art.

Listen to the symphony

Let’s take the first example of a symphony that might come to mind: a musical symphony. Isn’t it art? What’s the goal of art? Does it have one? Is it to persuade? I think a musical symphony is art. Art is symphony. What’s the goal of art? What’s the goal of a symphony? Nothing! Or anything but persuasion.

I’m thinking about Mozart composing symphonies for the Opera. Important people weren’t always convinced by his work. Emperor Joseph II even said “there is too many notes” about The Marriage of Figaro. In fact, Joseph wasn’t the only one to complain about his music, nearly everybody including Amadeus admirers used say his music was sometimes "too strongly spiced"; "impenetrable labyrinths"; "bizarre flights of the soul"; "overloaded and overstuffed".

Mozart didn’t change anything because he thought his music wasn’t meant to convince Mr. Emperor or

anybody else. He made a symphony using just as many notes as he needed. No more, no less. (In a

musical symphony, notes are the apparently unlinked element linked together). Watch the symphony It’s the same thing for a symphony of color in a painting. For example, look at this artwork.

Thesis: Symphony isn’t supposed to be a tool to persuasive design “ A symphony is no

Autumn Journey Jennifer Vranes

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This is a perfect example of a symphony of color. The artist mixed hot and cold colors that are basically not meant to be together. This combination is Symphonic. But it’s not meant to be persuasive.

Taste the symphony

What about a symphony of taste? In cooking, bringing different flavors together is an art. Some might say sugar and salt doesnt mix, some others will create delicious salty-sweet ditches. It’s all about the symphony.

Have you seen that Disney and Pixar movie Ratatouille? In the clip, the main character (Remmy the rat) loves how the flavors of food are delicious individually, but he loves them even more together. They create a symphony of flavor!

Why do I tell you that? What’s the link with persuasive design? There is none. That’s the point. This was just to talk about different types of symphony that are apparently unlinked at all with persuasive design. In the next paragraph, we will see that it can finally collapse very harmoniously.

Antithesis: Symphony and persuasive design. Create the symphony!

If you create something, whether it's a painting or a company, I think if you care about it, you have some obligation to go out and tell people about it” – Daniel H. Pink

As I said in the introduction, Symphony is by definition “the ability to link apparently unlinked elements together and make the all thing harmonious”. Maybe we can create a symphony linking the symphony aptitude itself with persuasive design!

Business of Art, Art for the business

In the previous paragraph, I told you about musical symphonies and art in general. I told you it wasn’t

linked to persuasion but nowadays, everything is. Art and music became commercial. Artists create to sell CDs or masterpieces. They create to persuade us to buy their creation. Sometimes it shouldn’t even be called “art” anymore. It’s just something designed symphonically to convince people it is art.

Symphonic Propaganda

As an example, let’s go back to colors. This image on the right is also a symphony of color. You can see about every primary color and the two dominants are red and blue. These two colors are opposite, one is hot and one is cold. One means war, one means peace.

This image was actually used by Japanese government to motivate people to fight. This is propaganda. Propaganda is definitely persuasive design. It’s designed to make people act in the government’s interests.

This is a perfect example of a symphony of color. The artist mixed hot and cold

Representation of the Japanese attack against American fleet (WWII)

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Dutch Design!

The picture below shows the working space of Symphony Solutions, a Dutch software technology company headquartered in Amsterdam. This office is actually located in Ukraine as they have most of their development centers abroad.

Dutch Design! The picture below shows the working space of <a href=Symphony Solutions , a Dutch software technology company headquartered in Amsterdam. This office is actually located in Ukraine as they have most of their development centers abroad. As the name of the company may suggest, they love symphony. They think symphonic. This office was imagined to be an inspirational, peaceful and motivating working environment. In other words, this atmosphere was designed to motivate. Remember Fogg’s behavior model? Motivation is one of the three fundamental factors of persuasive design. This company isn’t the only one to have a harmonious environment for their employees to work better. A lot of innovative society as Apple, Google and Facebook also use symphony for motivation purpose. The reason why it works is neurologic. Something symphonic is harmonious and relaxing for our brain which releases large doses of dopamine when we are at our most chilled and content. Dopamine is the chemical associated with creativity. In conclusion: the more you are relaxed, the more you are creative and symphony helps in the process. To conclude with that antithesis I would say that thinking symphonic can be a way to motivate individuals to do something. This can be a tool to persuasive design . 4 " id="pdf-obj-4-9" src="pdf-obj-4-9.jpg">

As the name of the company may suggest, they love symphony. They think symphonic. This office was imagined to be an inspirational, peaceful and motivating working environment. In other words, this atmosphere was designed to motivate. Remember Fogg’s behavior model? Motivation is one of the three fundamental factors of persuasive design.

This company isn’t the only one to have a harmonious environment for their employees to work better. A lot of innovative society as Apple, Google and Facebook also use symphony for motivation purpose.

The reason why it works is neurologic. Something symphonic is harmonious and relaxing for our brain which releases large doses of dopamine when we are at our most chilled and content. Dopamine is the chemical associated with creativity. In conclusion: the more you are relaxed, the more you are creative and symphony helps in the process.

To conclude with that antithesis I would say that thinking symphonic can be a way to motivate individuals to do something. This can be a tool to persuasive design.

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Synthesis: Symphony as a tool for persuasive design, a good idea?

“If the persuasive element serves to boost motivation, then the team can adapt this secret sauce to its own design project” –BJ Fogg

I first told you that symphony had nothing to do with persuasion at all. Then I told you it could actually be used meaningfully as a tool to persuasive design. Let’s get clear.

Yes, symphony wasn’t made to convince but it makes a lot of sense to think symphonic to persuade in this “conceptual age”. If something is harmonious and smooth, as symphony is, it will impact on motivation to trigger one individual to take action. In a company for example, it makes a lot of sense to apply symphony as a tool to motivate the employees. Symphony as Pink described it could be the persuasive element BJ Fogg is talking about.

Symphony is a tool for persuasive design if you design it for persuasion, for commercial or productive issues. In another hand, when not meant to be persuasive, symphony is only art.

Conclusion

This essay demonstrates that even if some elements (like symphony and persuasive design) might not seem to be connected at first sight, they can become powerful when they finally combine. This is the miracle of symphony.

So when you are confronted to a situation in which you need to be persuasive, remember to always see the big picture. In any case, feeling the symphony will definitely make you happy.

“Modern life’s glut of option and stimuli can be so overwhelming that those with the ability to see the big picture have a decided advantage in the pursuit of personal well-being” – Daniel H Pink

References:

Synthesis: Symphony as a tool for persuasive design, a good idea? “I f the persuasive elementhttps://sites.google.com/site/pinks6senses/symphony http://bjfogg.com/design_files/page8_1.pdf https://www.officelovin.com/2017/07/31/tour-symphony-solutions-cool-lviv-office/ 5 " id="pdf-obj-5-37" src="pdf-obj-5-37.jpg">

D. H Pink (2005). A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.

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