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PuRsuasive Design

Inju Heo
April, 2020

Design with Aristotle’s 3 persuasive appeals

Creating a persuasive appeal is a main key to a successful design. What makes someone a good communication designer? Luckily, it is not a mystery. We can find a solution from the Aristotle’s Rhetoric theory to being a persuasive public speaker. The three elements identified in his theory can be used as an effective guide to creating a successful communication design.

Aristotle’s three appeals are Logos, Pathos, and Ethos.

Logos - Logical Argument - Analyze

Does your design display a logical mode for appealing to users' sense of reason? Try to find a way to portray a clear message that makes sense to your users and audiences. It is typically done by analyzing facts and statistics, empathic approach, and/or user testing.

Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design. – Charles Eames

Pathos - Emotional Connection - Persuade

Does your design appeals to humor, fear, imagination and hopes? Making emotional bond is the reason people believe that your design will matter to them. Giving a vivid impression with competence will make the greatest influence on users' perception on your design.

Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful. – Dieter Rams

Ethos - Credibility - Trust

Your audience will judge the propositions of your design as being more true and acceptable. It is important to show a credibility in your design. Social proof such as testimonials from credible sources or badges of affiliated industry or well known individuals will help to establish the credibility.

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. – Edward R. Murrow

In order to make a successful communication design, consider these elements to create a persuasive appeals. These three elements of communication - Logos, Pathos, and Ethos - reinforce one another. The right mixture of these elements, based on the understanding of users’ perspectives, will be the path to creating a memorable medium.

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