Designing messages to a purpose

Purposes of messages in visual communications (Creative Arts Today, pages 112-115):


Aims: to convince, entice or direct the viewer for commercial, political or social ends. Can be used also to positive ends for example in social campagning, or can be used as propaganda.

Used in: advertising, marketing, packaging.

Relies on: understanding human behaviour or psychology to trigger desires, fears, emotions, social aspirations.


Aims: to deliver information or content.

Used in: books, newspapers, leaflets, road signs, safety information, instructional diagrams.

Identity design

Like some persuasive design, it aims at creating emotive responses or associations with brand identity, logo or other visual identity.

Authorial content

Generates new and engaging content through comics, graphic novels, animations, other media.

Aims: to entertain, satirise or educate.

Interactive design

Used in new media like games design, web design

Users may: get visual feedback, contribute content, feel a part of something

All contains some element of interactivity.

Alternative messages

Used as a subcultural and grassroots tool for protest, creating identities or alternative ways of communicating.

Often used in do-it-yourself and self-produced forms by global protesters, pressure groups and cultural movements.


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