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Old 04-24-2006, 07:54 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Archetype???

I decided to take a look at what the internet has to say about the use of archetypes in web design. It turns out "archetype" is essentially a template. Hmmm--- not what I had a mind.

I look at archetypes in three levels. 1. formal psychology (a virtually useless theory, IMO); 2. literary archetypes (essential for all good writing); 3. archetypes used in advertising. Of course, the use of archetypes in advertising is most often subliminal, and has a reputation for being quite immoral. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that one way or another archetypical (no, I don't mean template) significance of design is going to affect the way a person looks at a web page or advertisement. Therefore, I think a designer has to have a theory regarding archetypes and an awareness of how their conception might be at play in the perception of a site. Although the designer may well not want to consciously employ archetypes in design, he/she should try to be aware of when they could be influencing how the site is understood.

I was just reading some 18th century American history, and once again an author was emphasizing how Americans had consciously chosen to be a plain people. Indeed, the desire of Americans to be plain and common has always been a driving force in their history and culture, and they are even very suspicious of people who try to be sophisticated in communication. That type of thinking affects the way I look at web design. I'm always careful to make sure that I do not go beyond being plain.

However, then I was looking at a local news broadcast. A journalist was at a coffee shop interviewing people about current events. She seemed like an ordinary housewife, and compared to the morning news programs on the national networks, the level of reporting seemed like a step down. However, the segment was actually quite good, but the physical image of the journalist was too common. The station needed a reporter with an archetypal look. That's a shame for the reporter, but at the same time, it is a fact of life.


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