Brand strategy | Pop-up Experience
How might we challenge the assumptions of our own political ideologies?
Taking place on the day of the 2016 US presidential election, Eyedeology is an "eye exam" to help participants look past party affiliation and discover where their political beliefs lie across social and political topics.
In collaboration with Bernice Wong, Oscar Pipson, Michael Kenney, Kuan Xu, and Sebastian Harmsen
Research and Strategy Lead, Ideation, Copy
The tension surrounding political affiliation and beliefs prevents deeper discussion of critical issues.
The US is a two-party political system, with Democrats and Republicans in a constant dispute for influence and power. In a heated political debate, the conversation often goes down the path of insults, rather than critical aspects of policies. Neuroscientists have found people become more stubborn when faced with contradictory evidence, giving clues as to why that may be the case.
But politics isn't as binary as the media portrays. While it may often get reduced to "the left" or "the right", the political spectrum is more nuanced.
A proper eye prescription alters the way you see the world.
In an eye exam, you optometrist checks your vision to ensure you are seeing clearly. Using this metaphor, we applied the same process to create "Eyedeology" where patients could ensure their stated political ideology matched up correctly with reality. We began to prototype with a Viewmaster and custom reels to develop a new type of exam.
An Ideological Exam
Eyedeology is an "eye exam" challenging the assumptions we all have about our own idealogical beliefs.
To simulate the experience of a phoropter machine, examinees were presented with a series of public policy conundrums through special glasses - from Censorship in the Media, to Gender Roles, Income Tax Spending, and Minimum Wage Laws. Multiple scenarios were shown for each, and a final prescription was made based on the participant's answers. They then received a copy of their prescription and a pair of custom eyedeology glasses.
The Political Spectrum
Political ideologies ranged from Anarchy to Fascism, across topics ranging from censorship to taxes.
The political spectrum used for the experience was, in part, dictated by design constraints of the ViewMaster - with 14 slots and 7 images, (where two needed to be reserved for 'start' and 'finish') we chose 5 ideologies to explore that covered both the extremes as well as included common affiliations: anarchism, socialism, liberalism, conservatism, and fascism.
Topics were distilled from facets of political ideology, including attitudes toward censorship, family units, taxes and benefits, and meritocracy. Each category was then prescribed a relevant sub-topic: Censorship in the Media, Gender Roles, Income Tax Spending, and Minimum Wage Laws. A visual metaphor was designed for each. Below are the images used for Censorship in Media.
A complete exam
Participants selected topics they were interested in, and received "prescription glasses" based on their answers.
Each of the 4 custom reels featured a start and finish image, as well as five images representing five points along the political spectrum. Participants chose the three topics they wanted to look at, which were used to determine their final political affiliation.
Each ideology corresponded to a set of unique descriptors - for someone that was diagnosed as "Anarchist", the participant could select from the stickers "Soapbox Rebel", "Spandex Vigilante", or "Artfully Badass MF", which was then stuck onto a set of custom laser-cut glasses. Rather than writing the name of the ideology, a perplexing combination of words were used to inspire conversation, rather than judgement, from others.