Invading minds ….street billboards: weapons in the right hands

By Tareq Neman

When you walk through the street of Damascus, you will face giant artificial paintings, photos, or pictures filled with fresh and brilliant colors with some short sentences on them. During your short or long distance walk you will be clogged with such new creatures, if we can call them. It is nice to know that those street billboards were created for you, and only you. They are there to serve you, they are created exactly as you like, sometimes as you love. “I study people and psychology, and I choose exactly that colour and design that makes the public fall in love with the product and dream about buying it,” Samer Assaf, media designer says. Samer pointed out that designers are not working impulsively; they know what they are doing. They create new internal human needs. Areej. D, designer, said: “We as designers are supposed to give the product its identity and make it important, luxury, and public. It is not easy to do that. We have to study the product first, to then determine the market of the product. After that we choose the suitable colour and the elements that should be in the design. Actually, we are briefed with some statics about the product and these statics help us to decide how to design the product. Colours, identity; sometimes we create the slogan first, then we put everything together, to create a kind of harmony to present to the public.” Soha Sharyfe, a designing office manager, says: “My job is to supervise everything relating to the design. I accept and refuse, I discuss the structure with the designers, I always ask them why they chose this colour or I discuss the characters within the design. If I aknowledge that this design will serve the aim, I discuss it with the sales and marketing department. The main idea is to make the product alive in the heads of every one; it should live in others’ heads, it should drive and lead their emotions. The best design as I see it is the design that hunts people and stops them, staring at it with wide opened eyes without a blink. Omran. A, marketing manager, said that all what they need is to sell their product fast. “Sometimes they call me to shout: ‘sales are down, do something!’ The first thing I do is calling the art department and shout in my turn: ‘I want suggestions for new advertisement! ’ I assure you that the best way to hypnotize people is by street billboards. Street billboards hunt minds; every time we advertise on street billboards, sales rise so fast! It is magic. As designers, we work to make the design as attractive as it should be. We have two kinds of plans: direct advertising and indirect advertising. Direct advertising is when we use the product directly in the advertisement, whereas the indirect one is when we use hints and questions about something we want to publish. We apply those kinds of designs for a short time in the city, and then we use the product in the design. This will attract attention to the product and make people more interested in what we have to offer. Every design is unique in everything; we might use hot colors, cold colors, illustrators, or fonts, as for example when we design something cosmetic, we use hand writing fonts because it looks soft and gentle, like the tenderness of the women face. We have to be careful when we design for Syrians because our society is still unfamiliar with symbolic advertisement. I can’t, for example, use white sheets with a small name in the corner; it will be strange. Syrians like details and colors, so we use tender and warm colors,” said Mr. Alaa Abdoullah (designer in UG ). Manal Said Ali, head of design/production in Baladna magazine, said: “Any campaigning needs more than advertising to promote the quality of the product. I think it is very important that every detail in any advertisement should serve the aim of the brand. I don’t believe that there is anything called psychological effect or secret combination that could have a unique effect or an unseen message that could be delivered to the audience, even though these are the theories.” Amjad Hashem, freelance designer, said: “Colors are related to the social environment. For example, a Syrian understanding of the three colors black, white, and red might be that this advertisement is about something national, or it is just the official flag of Syria, while in Africa they hate black colors and love to see bright unusual colors, such as yellow and neon lime. In Europe they like dark colors; they feel relaxed with it. So I believe that colors have a magnifying effect on people. I love to design according to color theories, but here in Syria producers refuse such theories and guide me to use the familiar theory, which is to use the color of the product.” Controlling consumer’s thoughts is the main goal that every producer aims to reach. They send huge amounts of money to achieve this goal and sometimes it becomes dangerous and causes harmful side effects. Dr. Ahmad Foda, psychologist, said: “The mind is like a baby. No matter how old the man or woman is, their minds acts like babies, or even animals sometimes. The way you teach them to act or respond, they will act, so once we know the way the mind works, we can force it to obey us and to follow our orders . Russians and Americans are the best in this domain; they managed to find out all the keys that can open the secret doors of the mind, so they ruled the world. The results of this knowledge are so many, but one of them is the talent of advertising and creating street billboards. They can hypnotize people and overwhelm their minds.” According to Dr. Ahmad, “paper advertising, especially on street billboards, is very good to sell. The best advertisement should focus on three aspects: the color, the illustrations, and the words (the slogan). As for colors, human minds obey specific combination of colors. These combinations can force the mind to do specific things. For example, when the designer uses red, white and black, our brain will read this as ‘Stop, this is important. Hold it and read it’ This is only if the designer used the white and red in equal formation and wrote the text in black, but if he used black and red as a background and wrote the text in white it means ‘This is secret, good manufactured and a masculine product, and you are nothing without it’. As for cosmetic and chocolate brands they use hand writing in their advertisement, because women all over the world pay much attention to unique hand made products and pay more attention to the product that has been signed by the producer himself. So when you use this type of writing or this font, the brain of any woman will explain it as being signed by the producer. Sometimes we see such fonts on the back of very expensive cars. The mind will understand that this car is made especially for you and signed for you only. Thus, street billboards are just like nuclear reactors among people. They have the same dangers and the same benefits.


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