Empathetic Awakening: Reaching a resistant male audiencethrough emotional design

by Christina M Holtkamp

Institution: University of Cincinnati
Year: 2016
Keywords: Design; Empathy; Design; Visual Communication; Language; Depression; Mental Health
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2064968
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin1459438464


Marketing and society over decades have manipulated the archetype of male depression. So much so, the visual approach to a communication strategy approach for men has become primarily focused on private moments of the mental condition. Although this current strategy is successful in depicting pain, the imagery does not relate with outside viewers (family and friends) causing a disconnect in awareness. As a communication strategy, this formulates a false symptom appearance. This thesis argues the appearance of depression the symptoms are not unfamiliar to suffering males so the visual reminder is unnecessary. This problem calls for a design need that contrasts todays current scare-tactic marketing. Today’s tactic of scaring the viewer/audience lacks an empathetic understanding of the mental health condition. These tactics contribute to men’s unwillingness to ask for help due to the social stigma. More specifically, first-year college freshman. A small pilot study was developed to understand the target audience further and test a visual language using an empathetic design approach. Advisors/Committee Members: Puhalla, Dennis (Committee Chair).