When do we first begin to acquire taste? Why is it that we feel inclined towards one type of genre out of the many fish in the sea? Who gets to decide our taste for a particular art style?

While these questions keep brewing we must take a second to retrace and back track from the topic of discussion. I’ll try my best to break down the next concept as easily as I can.

Let’s start with behavioural psychology as an appetiser shall we?

Are you familiar with Pavolv’s theory? Ivan Pavlov a Russian Physiologist known primarily for his work in Classical Conditioning, conducted an experiment with his dog to see if a stimulus would produce a conditioned response. In behavioural psychology Conditioning is the theory according to which the reaction to an object or event (the stimulus) by a person or an animal can be modified by learning or conditioning.

From Pavlov’s experiment we understand how behaviour can then be conditioned. Another behavioural psychologist B.F Skinner suggested that conditioning requires reinforcement or reward(s) of the same behaviour in order for it to become a conditioned response.

The gist of the matter is to understand how conditioning of a certain behaviour or a specific hobby (let’s keep it simple) can lead to the development of a newly acquired taste. So the next time you wonder how you developed a taste for classical music, link your train of thoughts to the theory of conditioning and see if you can find the roots of this exotic taste.

Part of a designer’s task is to develop and create new tastes for the users and consumers every time a new product is launched and shelved in markets. They create new ‘needs’ based on the type of packaging, ad campaigns and the functions of the product that they advertise for. For this it is essential to understand the consumer demographics to see whether or not the new ‘taste’ fits the requirements of the consumers. This leads the discussion towards another tangent that doesn’t fall far from the topic. This is the tangent of the class system.

My intention to loop in the concept of the class system is to further elaborate on the practice of advertisement and design and to see how each product is marketed to the right target group using the right principles . Perhaps Nescafé Coffee won’t be enjoyed and well accepted by hardcore tea lovers from the heart of Nagarparkar (for the sake of example) because of their definite love for their local tea. The aim is not to discourage the consumption of coffee in the deserted regions of Sindh rather to understand the taste regime of the demographics of that region. Hence advertising for coffee in that area might not do as well as the advertisement of a strong tea brand might please the locals and result in a surge of tea consumption.

As a designer you may not always create new taste regimes but you might have to enhance and rejuvenate the existing regimes to appease the crowd. This modification or development if carried out rightly may result in greater profits for the brand.


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