Designing for Aesthetics: tipping the cultural balance to influence choices

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JULY, 2016,
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This thesis reports on a study that explores ways of enhancing the quality of culturally generated content, as it relates to the design of television brand identity (ident) that have sensibility for its socio-cultural values. This is due to the adoption of digital television broadcasting across the world, which has heavily affected the market size and consumer preferences towards foreign rather than local television programmes. The challenge for stakeholders (governments, regulators, broadcasters, journalists, content producers and civil societies) in developing countries, particularly in Africa is how to preserve the local cultural values in the new digital environment. Where consumers decide when, what and how they watch television programmes. Using the mixed method approach, the study pragmatically employs the Kano theory of attractive quality (Kano et al., 1984) and its methodology, as a frame of reference in designing and collecting of quantitative data from 380 random sampled size television viewers. To inductively analyze the impacts of eighteen (18) relevant aesthetic quality attributes of television brand identity (ident) from consumers’ perspective. So that broadcasters and content producers can align television brand identity (ident) design efforts with the classified consumer’s requirements or need. Sequentially, the Culture-Orientated Design Model adapted from Moalosi, (2007) was also employed as a frame of reference to capture qualitative data from six (6) culturally orientated viewers and eight (8) viewer designers. It reports on the extraction and categorization of relevant Ghanaian socio-cultural values enshrined in the concept of human dignity into emotional, social practices, material, and technology/design values. It also reports on the analysis, compatibility, visualization, and the translation of socio-cultural values into brand identity design features at the early stage of brand identity design. The outcome of the research indicates among other relevant requirements that: iv consumers (viewers) assumed that television brand identities have meaningful (applicable) content and are therefore dissatisfied if the brand is not narrative (meaningful). It further indicates that brand identities that have creative value, reflect socio-cultural values, and are consistent in terms of style; and brands that are technologically advanced in terms of look and feel are mostly desired. Also, the evidence further indicates that fusing associated socio-cultural values into television brand identity design features is like adding spice to soup or food to give it good taste and a memorable aroma that connect consumers to their traditions. Thus, grounding television brand identity (ident) design on associated socio-cultural values in a creative and consistent way will not only make the brand unique and relevant in this ever increasing multichannel era, but will help tip the cultural balance due to its functional value (providing repeated identity to television broadcaster).
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Communication Design in the Faculty of Art, College of Art and Built Environment in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Philosophy(Communication Design).