CREATING A SOCIETY OPEN TO DIVERSITY THROUGH GENDER NEUTRAL PACKAGING DESIGN
The stereotypes of women and men are very strongly planted in to our minds already in our childhood. The visual language that surrounds us has a big impact on how we perceive things because objects are not passive; instead, they powerfully influence the way we behave. People use objects as symbols that communicate status, intentions, personality, and culture, and thus objects affect the ways in which people react to each other. The most basic aspect of a product, the function, is lost in the run of making more profit. Packaging design is our first interaction with the product and our current packaging design perpetuates gender stereotypes - something I want to change. I believe designing gender-neutral packaging will encourage gender equality and will create a more sustainable world.
To tackle this topic, I looked into the history of gender roles and stereotypes and the effect of colors have on us based on our gender. I analyzed the gendered visual culture and how marketing and branding are done for men and women. After a thorough background research, I created a survey, where I studied people’s visual preferences now. I gave them a feminine, masculine and a neutral option to see which one they would prefer and why.
I got over 400 responses on the survey. The results of the survey and the research led to a project called BASIK, which examines gendered visual language as a tool for communicating an attribute of a product and as a means of conveying the intended target audience of a product. I explore the former by taking a look at regular household products, while the latter I analyze by focusing on personal hygiene products.