Oregon State University|blogs.oregonstate.edu

“The medium is the message.” -Marshall McLuhan  January 13th, 2021

Trying to understand this idea is easy, but the more you think about it the more it makes sense. What is a medium? A medium is defined as,”the material or form used by an artist, composer, or writer.” (Google). In the idea that the medium is the message, the media plays the biggest role. The example we watched in our learning this week talked about the different kinds of mediums messages can take on. Messages can be spoken, heard, seen, and felt. How a message is given to you can change how you feel about them or see them at all. So how have messages changed over time? 

Messages started off as oral tradition, hearing stories from an elder that was passed on. This kind of message medium was oral, you had to hear the messages to digest them. Next came written messages. This type of message was easier to share and became more of a personal experience. To understand this idea, think of a newspaper, only one or two people can read a newspaper at once but multiple people can hear a story at the same time. In this way messages became more personal and closed off from the rest of society. After the written word came the visual medium. The visual message is where our society lives now. This medium can be tv, advertisements, and much more. 

So how do these different types of mediums affect the way messages are interpreted, and perceived? At one point anything that was shared orally was taken as fact, today with visual messages people often are unbelieving of the messages they are seeing because they can be falsely shared. As our society has been able to connect closer with communication being so easy, it has created a sense of insecurity in the messages we receive and a huge [art of that is how our messages are derived to us. 

The importance of communication and the way we communicate is also something to think about as a designer. As a designer we have the ability to try different forms of mediums to create messages to distribute to our focus groups. We need to always think about the way messages are perceived and how many different ways we can show people our messages. It’s our job to create messages that are built for the medium. 

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