Back in 2011 Adrian Shaughnessy wrote a post on Design Observer on the possibility of designers having a responsibility for the UK riots. The post had some points I agreed with, some that maybe I didn’t, but in all it was a valid raising of an issue in graphic design.
The post gained some rather unfriendly, and some downright ignorant, comments which I think the author felt the need to respond to. Having read, some time ago, a book entitled Propaganda by Edward Bernays I commented that there were theories raised in this book which were relevant to a discussion on the issue of the riots. In response the author pointed me in the direction of a BBC documentary series entitled The Century Of The Self.
In the words of the series creator, “This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”
I have say that it is one of the most interesting, thought-provoking, powerful and downright terrifying documentary I have ever seen. Although it is primarily based around PR, marketing and advertising, the issues raised are very relevant to brand. Anyone keen to learn a little about the consumerist, democratic, capitalist society which we are clearly a part of should watch this series.
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