Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Assignment 4B & C

During the interview stage I asked four individuals a list of semi-structured questions which I primarily felt would help me understand what people were heavily influenced by and why. My subjects were of differing gender and from a broad age range to gain the most accurate information possible. My results should not be age or gender biased. Here are the questions I asked them:
1. What magazines do you read regularly ?
2. Where do you read magazines ?
3. Do you read newspapers/ newspaper supplements (if so why) ?
4. How often do you watch television/ see advert breaks ?
5. Could you name an advert which sticks out in your mind ?
6. Can you name and advertisement or campaign that has encouraged you to buy/ participate in something recently and why?
7. Could you tell me if you have a favourite brand ?
8. Are you brand loyal and what elements make you this way ?
9. What was your last and will be your next major purchase ?
10. How would you describe your personal taste ?
11. Has a product been designed during your lifetime that has had a huge impact in you personally ?
12. Do you have a favourite designer ?
13. Why do you feel their designs are successful/ you are drawn to them ?
14. What do you spend the majority of your money on ?

My first interviewee was a female business woman who placed importance on the necessities for her and her family as well as work. I got the feeling after discovering that she read only a couple of magazines regularly that she wouldn't be influenced majorly by them. Although, the fact that these days we are surrounded by the promotion of new design where ever we are and what ever we are doing she may be affected more dominantly by online or television advertising. She stated that aesthetics were quite important to her and this is reflective in the magazines she reads which are known for being full of fashion and beauty advertisements. Her loyalty to certain make up and supermarket brands shows she does not spend money on extravagant things although she does appreciate a certain level of quality and also value for money. She obviously doesn't spend money before considering these factors.
My second subject was a female social worker. She stated that her taste in her own opinion was traditional and told me that she only bought products which were completely new to her on the odd occasion. She reads the highest amount of magazines out of everyone I interviewed and yet she seems to be least likely to spend money on the latest products being advertised within these magazines. Once she discovers a brand she likes and trusts she becomes loyal to that brand and is unlikely to change. Her traditional tastes are reflected in her choice to read a women's home interiors magazine which contains exactly the type of lifestyle she portrays through her answers. This is an indication that magazines in some way influence and reflect the readers tastes. She concludes that most of her money is spent on household bills and her car as it is a necessity allowing her to get to work.
My third interviewee, a male history student stated that he was in his opinion fairly traditional. His choice of magazines were traditional in a sense although not all overly common as he reads an army based magazine. He is logical in his purchases and doesn't over spend only buying newer products if the deal is worth it in the long run. He seems to be influenced more heavily by other means such as television advertising due to watching 5 - 6 hours approximately a day. He is not interested at all in fashion which clearly reflects his choice of reading as it is more about practicalities rather than extravagant purchases.
Finally I interviewed a younger male student who seemed to have a completely different opinion on what is important. I put this down to age and the time in which he is growing up. Continuous innovation within technology has given him a totally different outlook. Saying he watches two to three hours of television a day means that he is exposed to advertising frequently. His choice of magazines shows he is interested in film although, he still understands and cares about what is going on around him in the world today due to reading cultural newspaper supplements. His money is spent mainly on concert tickets as he has no financial responsibility yet. He seems to have some interest in fashion stating that he finds designers collections to be inspiring yet this does not relate in any way to the magazines he reads on a regular basis.
I have found through interviewing this group of people and discussing my findings with others that women seem to be more likely to focus their attention on magazines with interiors and cooking in their content. Three out of four read newspaper supplements which in turn suggests they read newspapers often. This should make them aware of issues and surely mean they will understand the value of most things. The younger generation watch a greater amount of television which along with the magazines they read could be part of a great sphere of highly visual influences. Magazine advertisements and television adverts to an even greater extent stick in your mind due to their repetition. Everyone is brand loyal to a certain extent confessing to purchasing familiar products because they feel they are of a high quality or good value for money. These brands are usually well established through advertising in magazines where my interviewees will have undoubtedly seen them. Products mentioned frequently as having a huge impact were all technology based. They included iPods, laptops, mobile phones and the Internet. These products are mainly advertised within magazines usually with price reductions and deals attached for potential buyers which encourage them to spend money. It is the design of innovative products which entices the magazine reader to spend.
From completing this assignment I have concluded that magazines are highly influential in regard to the advertisements and design they contain which is seen by the reader who automatically thinks the design/product is 'good'. Critics opinions may sway the reader but ultimately if they genuinely like something it will not change their opinion completely if it does not completely appeal to them. This is evident in my findings that my first interviewee would not buy a product unless it was in her own opinion aesthetically pleasing in for example colour or outward packaging. It's is clear that magazines do not always determine a person's individual taste entirely as by not reading fashion magazines in particular an individual can still be aware of designers collections through other connections such as the Internet. I believe design on the Internet, billboards and television to be more influential than magazines as they are viewed more frequently by both genders.