Another interesting review i came across explaining how graphic design has helped to develop the change and expansion of consumerism.
The evolution of graphic design over the past 100 years from purely aesthetics to meeting functional, cultural, social and production requirements, helped to develop the change and growth of consumerism.
Graphic design helps advertise and separate products from one another, often encouraging waste. Design thinking helped introduce product innovation — so more products could be produced and sold.
Communication design develops a dialogue directly with the consumer, and is inherent in visual and physical design. Research in to behavioural patterns have made it more effective too. Emotional connections with consumers are built by targeting basic human needs. “The three levels at play in design: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. Visceral design is about how things look, feel, and sound. Behavioral design is about getting products to function well, and about making that functionality easily accessible. Reflective design is about the meaning of things, about message and becomes more important as products mature”. Norman’s book Emotional Design explains it very well, recommended reading.
Consumers demand for news and information has dramatically risen of the past two decades, and now not only do the public consume products but also content. The media marketplace was created to help companies reach consumers. It uses a variety of mediums and provides information and entertainment as well as advertising.
Consumers are used to products being customised to suit their needs and demand the same with content — Designers have been assigned the task of shaping this content. Media plays such a large role in shaping consumers beliefs of the outside world so these Designers also inherit the responsibility for shaping culture to an extent as well.
Design is also responsible for social and personal interactions becoming commodities. Advertising often employs images of families set against a product to suggest certain personal interactions are only possible if you own their product.
Consumption supports the economy and in return supports more consumerism. Tony Fry’s book: A New Design Philosophy, An Introduction to Defuturing, provides some great insights in to design sustainability, and the future of design.