DARE Studios – London


On our last day in London we visited DARE, a partner company to OLIVER which is the fastest growing design agency in Europe. Their unique business model involves creating agency branches within clients to inspire greater cooperation and understanding. For example, a corner of a Starbucks may be given over to agency workers .

We were not given a standard overview of the goings on at DARE that I had initially expected. I had assumed we’d hear about a number of high profile briefs for big clients and learn how the company went from brief to finished product with some anecdotes peppered in. Not the case.

Behavioral Science

One of the key themes I have heard throughout my  studies, from current designers. Is the importance of proper preparation and research. At DARE this was taken a step further.

We were asked to perform a number of group activities including in pairs, getting as far off the ground as possible. The aim of this was to demonstrate when one pair saw a way (standing on a chair) everyone else immediately followed. The point of this was to demonstrate how the human mind works. We mimic each others behavior in order to work as a social species and foster bonding.

The issue, we were told. Is that as a Graphic Designer, the very last thing you want is to simply reproduce work that has already been done. The aim of a designer is to create new and novel solutions for problems. Human’s spend 96% of their day using their animal or automatic brain, it is able to answer simple questions and solve simple problems which is generally sufficient.

Type [1] Automatic Brain   —  Type [2] Thinking Brain

In the world of design, the trick is to understand human’s tendency to be unthinking and exploit that. Overcome it yourself so as not to be limited by it. And study it in others so as to understand what draws people to a brand or product.

Theory of planned consumer behaviour


This theory involves tracking the passage of the customers experience. You think about something, decide you want it, buy it, convince yourself after the fact that it was a good purchase and then feel you’re part of a group of individuals who own something. This feeling of being part of something is something humans innately crave, as a social species to be an outsider is detrimental. Hence why kids who want a new thing often say ‘Everyone else has one’. I am guilty of this myself.

An excellent example of the utility of this process was given to us. In Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport they had a problem with drunken revelers making a mess in the urinals before boarding flights home. It would have been perfectly easy to place a sign in the urinals asking that users be more careful. However Klaus Reichardt had the idea of placing a target within the urinal, giving patron something to aim at, thus solving the problem by appealing to the automatic (type 1) brain.

‘Guys are simple-minded and love to play with their urine stream, so you put something in the toilet bowl and they’ll aim at that, It could be anything. I’ve seen a golf flag, a bee, a little tree. It just happens that at Schiphol it’s a fly.’ – Klaus Reichardt

My Thoughts

All of this behavioral science we were taught was a very brief overview, I found myself looking into it online rather deeper as I found it very interesting. Appealing to a person’s subconscious to change their actions is a very impressive thing when done effectively. I have watched numerous Derren Brown shows where he uses subconscious nudges to navigate a persons brain to say the word he has already written down, making it appear magical.

While I understand marketing may not work on such a level, it is amazing to me the level of theory and research that goes into mapping out every stage of a consumers thought process so as to manipulate them to the greatest effect. The short time spent in London has completely changed my perspective on the career I am attempting to enter, giving me greater understanding of how it all actually works.


Author: David Rothwell

I am a Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan School of Art and Design If you like any of my work, have feedback (good or bad) or would like to get in touch, please do

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