Reaching disengaged communities usually doesn’t include building an app or a Web site but creating a more tangible experience—And, inspiring those who are long lost to apathy to even consider taking part in this experience is the first and most difficult step. Designers often end up using stereotypical and common forms of serious, logical argument in communicating pertinent issues.
But many designers have failed to acknowledge a common tool as one of the most powerful rhetorical strategies for use in their work: humor. The majority of publications within the field of humor research have surfaced in the past decade. Design is the one field that has been barely explored as a humorous rhetorical genre. Neglecting humor’s potential eliminates the chance of mastering a method of communication that has an unlimited usage scope because of its cultural role and human value.
There exists a need for humor to become better understood in communication design both in use and in evaluation. Humor in design, through this panel, can be explored to establish a way of communicating serious issues in a non-intimidating fashion. Discussions would provide advocacy organizations or individuals with new and more effective methods for deeper poignant messaging. The hope in furthering awareness of humor research in design is to significantly add to the area of design for social change using strong emotional approaches. As Mark Twain said, “The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow.”
11th–15th March 2011