Loving It: Seduction, Satisfaction and Graphic Culture

Why should people buy your product?

People buy things they love. Our stuff becomes part of us, like a permanent accessory. Objects help us define ourselves and identify with each other. Through them we find mutuality and acceptance.

How do people fall in love with stuff­? How does a product carve its niche in the hearts of consumers to become that “gotta have” item that, if you don’t have it, you just don’t quite measure up? It’s first an issue of seduction, and second of satisfaction.

The things we love help us feel good. When we feel good, we look good — we feel desirable, attractive and valued. Whether it’s designer coffee, that special pair of skinny jeans, or a robust Harley-Davidson, our things reinforce what we believe is good in ourselves; they bring out the best in us; we see them as positive reflections of who we are. We build our culture around the things we love, both personally and corporately.

The things we love are precious. We associate them with good friends, good times, favorite places and activities. They become irreplaceable items, necessary to our daily function, and meaningful because of how they help us connect, engage and get things done.

The things we love are sensual, providing pleasure and contentment through sound, sight, taste, smell, and touch. These are very individual choices. What pleases one person will not please another. We need to first connect personally with the aesthetics (that would be the design) of the thing. After that, further connections are made. The more connections we make, the more we fall in love with the item.

How can you invest your product or service with “lovability”? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Love it yourself. If you’re not passionate about it, how can you engender passion in another?
  • Know your market. Your market is people, not statistics. Spend time with your market before you offer your product.
  • Be patient. Give people time to react and respond to your product.
  • Design it well. Design adds value and meaning to your product. Visual communication should be consistent and noble. Don’t rely on your own sense of style; invest in design created by an expert. And finally:
  • Follow-up. Find out how your product is really being used. Do folks like it and talk about it? If so, they’re creating a culture around it, making it a necessity for lifestyle maintenance.

To be promoted in our design-driven culture, a product must be packaged in such a way that it becomes meaningful to the person using it, so that they become an evangelist for it. This requires thoughtful planning and execution of a design strategy. Although you cannot ensure a desired customer response to your product  just because you have a plan, investing in good design increases the likelihood of lovability because it increases recognition, differentiates in a visually-cluttered world, communicates reliability, and creates affinity. In short, good design increases overall desire and appeal.

You cannot market anything these days without creating some sort of culture around it. You cannot can’t create culture without design.

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and principal of Alvalyn Creative, an independent consultancy providing brand strategy design and bespoke illustration for more than 30 years. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business school and podcast for creative freelancers. She teaches design and design practice on the college level with design schools and programs.