Welcome to Persuasion.

Today’s class was split into three modules. Dan introduced the course and lectured about propaganda, and Eugenia lectured about semiotics.


So, what is this course about?

In this course, students will be exploring persuasion, looking at persuasion from different perspectives, both design and other disciplines to gain a broad understanding of what persuasion is, why it is an important skill for designers, and how it can be applied within a design context.

The class will be split into 3 modules:

  1. How you are persuaded
  2. You as a persuader
  3. Persuasion installation


Dan introduced the concept of propaganda and spoke about the power and historical uses of it.



Eugenia introduced the concept of semiotics, which is the study of signs and their meaning in the context of communication and social interactions. The founders of semiotics are Ferdinand De Saussure, a Swiss Linguist, and Charles Sanders Peirce, an American Professor of Philosophy and Logic. 



In-class Exercise

We asked the class to break into groups and choose a video, such as a music video or commercial, and analyze it looking for the signs that are represented within it. Students looked at a range of videos from Katy Perry’s California Gurls to Dos Equis’s The Most Interesting Man in the World commercial.

Instagram Homework

We also introduced the Instagram assignment, which will be a weekly activity for the duration of the semester. Each week the students will need to take a photograph or video of something that relates to the topics introduced in class and upload it to Instagram and describe their reasoning in the caption. Students also need to use the hashtag of the week and always use #cmupersuasion2019.

This week we want them to document 1-2 signs and categorize them as iconic, indexical or symbolic using the hashtags #index #icon # symbol #cmupersuasion2019.

Tags: persuasion, propaganda, semiotics