Refreshingly, we can choose our very own topics of interest for our midterm contextual studies essay. I am enjoying the freedom of self-direction this year. After a session of brainstorming in groups, my group came up with the topic of Seduction to research over the next few weeks. We chose to name ourselves ‘The Pheromones’ which sounds like a band name, doesn’t it? The Ramones, the Hormones… Pheromones are like chemical signals for sex and dominance status in animals, and are responsible for social and sexual behaviour among members of the same species.
Back to the point. Since there are 5 of us in this group, we have broken down Seduction into the 5 senses that it covers: Taste, Touch, Smell, Sight, and Sound. Since my chosen elective at Chelsea is ‘Textile Innovation’, I chose Touch, for its vast array of seductive textures, fabrics, surfaces, etc to explore. Combining my research and experience at 100% Design this summer (a photo I took below), a large design trade fair of some of the most cutting edge and innovative companies, my Textile elective, and contextual topic research, I feel it concludes nicely and I’ll be happy to have solidly covered this ‘territory’, so to speak.
Here are some of my interesting initial finds:
“Attraction is built through touching. Plain and simple. If you don’t touch a date, lover, or mate, then attraction will not build.”
Studies show that products with a pleasant surface feel are preferred to those without. A particular surface feel can be created through the choice of printing stock (paper, card, foil, foam, etc.), coatings, flock coating, die-cutting, embossing and perforation as well as with relief and high-build coating and thermo-chromic inks. The latter offers an increased surprise effect since the colors change according to different temperatures or touch.
This can be interpreted more literally. See this bas-relief porn for the blind (‘Tactile Mind’ book by Lisa J. Murphy):
"Paper gives us a certain feeling of warmth, of calm and repose. It gives off no sound when it is crumpled or folded, it is quiet and pliant to the touch as the leaf of a tree." - Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
“Yes, a good design should speak for itself—but what if the client isn’t listening? Well, that’s when designers employ methods that are not taught in design school. Psychological methods. Machiavellian methods. Used-car-dealer methods. Manipulation. Intimidation. Seduction.” - PrintMag.com: The Art of Seduction
If you want to save money, don’t touch things while shopping, says a research study:
“When you touch something, you instantly feel more of a connection to it,” says Suzanne Shu, a marketing professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and co-author of the study. That connection stirs up an emotional reaction — ‘Yeah, I like the feel of it. This can be mine.’ And that emotion can cause you to buy something you never would have bought if you hadn’t touched it. Touching something gives you that little sense of control,” she says, “and that alone can increase your feeling of ownership.
The Apple Store openly invites its customers to fidget with its gadgets, and once you start playing with the iPhone, it’s awfully hard to leave the place without one.”
And finally, brace yourselves: A touchscreen that comes alive with textures and edges that users can FEEL. Yes, through the screen. The company has built a prototype of its displays into a tablet. The tactile panel uses electrostatic fields to simulate different levels of friction, allowing it to generate the sensation of texture on a totally flat screen.
Innovation from Senseg.