Relationships are complex.
Any hopeless romantic will tell you—it’s not always easy to see the world through rose-colored specs. Crossed signals can have heart-wrenching repercussions, often leading to embarrassment, confusion, missed opportunities or worse. We designers know these feelings all too well. You see, in addition to crafting poetic copy and stirring graphics, the writers and designers at BatesMeron Sweet Design are entangled in love triangles. Let me explain.
Users, providers, products, services, systems, categories and environments are all involved in overlapping love triangles. At the intersections of these triangles, you’ll find providers seducing users, users playing hard to get with services and services exploiting the environment. And when it comes to design, you better ante up or risk losing your love interest to someone, or something, with better looks or a more charming personality.
We see these courtships all the time. They keep the competition between Pepsi and Coca-Cola alive and exciting, as the soft drink giants compete to be the winning suitor in the market. Perrier and Evian’s wooing makes them seem more tantalizingly pure than Aquafina and Nestlé’s Pure Life. Consumers, too, can play the field. Some consumers date brands while others take the plunge down the aisle—the grocery store aisle, that is—like your mom, who will use nothing other than Tide in her washing machine. And a love affair gone bad can tarnish a brand’s reputation. BP, Bank of America and Toyota have all been on the wrong point of a love triangle, losing customers after PR debacles turned them into a bad brand boyfriend.
These courtships, these love triangles, serve as the building blocks of not only the design industry but also the global marketplace as we know it. Designers, in turn, are more than just the architects of this market foundation. They’re Cupids who have the power to erode relationships or forge lifelong love affairs.
I’m on a personal trek to better understand how and why design-enabled relationships form or crumble. Why do some things tempt us to touch while others spur us to split? In the weeks to come, I will make my blog entries an untethered and intimate sound-off, exploring queries such as this to better make sense of design love. I invite you to come along as my wingman, posting questions and comments where you see fit.
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