natural systems grow through self-organization

Natural Model: Mangrove islands

Living organisms act in their own interest, establishing a greater system that is conducive to life.

Mangrove islands grow through self-organization [1]. Seeds float in the water until they embed themselves into a sandy shallow area. Roots grow, sand and sediments collect in the area, allowing seeds to grow into trees. These islands provide shelter to marine animals as well as birds,who give back by fertilizing the soil. Photo credit

Graphic Design

If a product is well designed and available to the correct audience for an attractive price, very small amount of advertising is needed. As Thaler and Sunstein stated in their book Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness “Humans are easily influenced by the statements and deeds of others” [2]. Because of this notion, each individual person contributes to the success or failure of a service or a product.

Through today’s connections and instant expressions on social media platforms, human nudging happens at a very saturated rate. Advertising campaigns strives to go viral, where each viewer encourages another viewer to see the campaign. The higher the excitement the piece evokes, the higher the possibiltiy of a viral turnout.

As designers, we make claims about products and services. Do our own values align with what we are saying? Does our message promise untrue facts and therefore run risk of disappointing the customer? Can the product be improved upon to avoid need for excessive advertising? For each project, consider the energy that could be leveraged by individuals “liking” or “following” your piece. Like a snowball turning into an avalanche by law of gravity, the principle of self-organization can be a very effective tool to get high response rate with minimal resources spent. Photo credit

1. Biomimicry Resource Handbook
2. Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New York, NY: Yale University Press.

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