Why the book title makes so much sense. Are consumers really ridden? Not literally of course, but, if true, in what sense is it so?
The advent of the industrial revolution brought about an incredible amount of product variation and competition. This in turn lead to a much welcome increase and liberating variety of choice. The ability to make a choice is a celebrated God given right, a gift From God to all generations of man in the form of a Free Will. It is a gift whose certificate is imprinted in our DNA and whose forced deprivation is met with ferocious natural resistance. The wide range of variety in commerce resonates very well with this Free Will and right to choice.
But, even without this right, variety and commercial competition naturally result in the manifestation of choice. However, industrialisation also brought about standardisation which has blurred the lines along which the Free Will and choice can be exercised. Left to chance this makes sustainable commercial success no less of a gamble that a game of roulette. Consumers must therefore be guided or forced along a particular path in order to influence sustainable commercial success of any commercial enterprise. But, in order to minimise resistance, an illusion of choice and exercising of the Free Will must be maintained. Graphic Design plays a big role in creating this illusion.
Day after day, year in and year out, consumers make important buying decisions, decisions which appear independent and made through choice. Few stop to consider the parameters on which one would make a choice between often identical products or even a choice in favor of products deemed by health professionals to be, bad for one’s general health. Because the force is subtle, the strings virtually invisible and due to the weightlessness of the rider, few realise that like a horse with reigns, they are ridden along a predefined path, with the only choice being, perhaps, to remain ignorant.