We absorb information through all of our senses simultaneously. This speeds up our ability to judge situations and react quickly and is fundamental to our ability to recognise signals and communicate. This played a vital role in human survival when our ancestors needed to respond to danger quickly, often relying on sound or smell when it was dark and a large proportion of our genes are still devoted to detecting odours.
We live in a visually dominant world, it is estimated that over 80% of all brand communications are designed for sight alone. But less than half of our brain is involved in processing what we see and research shows that all of our senses are important in creating brand relationships.
Our mood can be affected by any of our senses, and it’s important to consider how our senses are processed by different parts of our brain. Sight is largely a rational and “screening” sense, while smell, taste and touch go directly to the area of the brain that deals with emotions and memory, according to psychologist Antonio Damasio.
What this means is that some senses have a more direct and emotional impact on us, creating brand intimacy and trust. Designing for multiple senses is a way to ensure that our work is noticed in an increasingly visually noisy world, to make emotional connections with the audience, and gives us the opportunity to inspire positive change.
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