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How do graphic designers participate in lifestyling? What are the ethical issues?

Lifestyling in today's world refers to a broad range of planned activities like advertising, publicity, promotion etc that 'market' a certain lifestyle to the consumer as desired and necessary. The key is to make that product an essential element of the consumer's aspirational lifestyle. In this essay we will focus on the role that graphic designers play in lifestyling by looking at two very famous examples; the Sony Walkman and now the latest innovation the Apple Iphone. Through these examples, the role of the graphic designer as a 'lifestylist' will be highlighted.

The Sony Walkman was first introduced in 1979.  It came with two headphone jacks so that people could listen to music together. Before the product was released, it came under severe skepticism and the press wrote it out even before its launch. The Japanese company however was unfazed and came up with a unique marketing strategy. Sony hired youngsters and made them walk along the streets offering it to passersby to listen to the music. They also arranged for a bus filled with actors to tour Tokyo with the walkman. (From:

Likewise when Sony launched its first Sony walkman with the two headphone jack in 1979, it did so under the assumption that youngsters like to share their music and do not enjoy listening to their music alone. They quickly discovered however that this was not the case and soon adopted this change into their model for walkman. So there is ample evidence to suggest that companies tailor their products according to the needs of their consumers and not vice versa.

Also, many of the 'lifestyling' campaigns have been extremely beneficial for the public. Like the 'Got milk' campaign that was launched.

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