The Power of Sex in Design


We all do it (no pun intended), it’s a basic human need like food or water… Yes I’m talking about sex. Let’s face it sex is EVEEERYWHERE. But how does it play a role in the design community?

Tobacco print ad

Well, let me tell you a dirty little secret, sex is one of the most powerful driving forces behind design. From sexual innuendos to just flat out shock value, the sexual content displayed in design can make you go out and buy a product without even a second thought, we’ve all done it even if we weren’t aware of it before or grab your attention so fast you can’t help but to pay attention to the message the designer is trying to convey. I would get into a whole thing about sex and semiotics, but thats another topic for another day. However, there is a recipe for good sex in design. Its not just ALL shock value. Sometimes all it takes is a little fore play with the viewer. There is a line between design and pornography. It’s fun to leave things to the imagination versus “putting it on the glass.”

This ad is for a sexy stiletto. It shows the bottom of the shoe, but it looks like it suggests something else. Hmmm, clever?

So to all of you fellow designers who are relatively new to this design game, using sex as a weapon can be an advantage but you should use it responsibly. Don’t be wreckless with it, handle it with allure. Do some research on how to integrate sexual content with a message to get your point across. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to experiment and push the envelop, see what you can explore. Let it out, play with it. Be clever. Have fun. There’s nothing better than a good combination of good design and good sex. -JM


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