The Feminizing of Design

The Feminizing of Design

Female consumers are leading design trends and message development. In fact, roughly 80 percent of today’s buying decisions are influenced by women. Design, like all other elements of branding, must make an emotional connection.

Emotional design is usually design + style. That does not mean that men are being forced to buy “girly” products. It means that design must be driven by the emotional aspects of lifestyle, culture, and aspiration.

Too many designers are still caught in a time warp; they fear that designing to appeal to women means that you must color everything pink.

It doesn’t. But what it does mean is that you must seek to forge an emotional connection that would persuade women to buy.

More women are living alone these days, which requires them to be more deeply involved in all aspects of household purchases. They are not just buying appliances, window treatments, and cleaning products anymore, or the occasional can of wall paint. They are buying plywood and gypsum board and hammers and nails and drill drivers and nail guns. They are looking for independence and control. And enterprising product designers are designing products and promotional materials to accommodate them, both aesthetically and functionally.

The smartest designers know how to filter outside research, input from other strategists, and environmental stimuli and arrive at their own unique design interpretations. Their emotional connections to culture, art and people have become much more than a casual or complementary research approach. Research, in the new economy, should be driven by inspired ideas, as opposed to letting ideas be driven by research. Designers must seek fresh, innovative ways to elicit emotional responses from design.

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