What is real and what is fake?  In the world of marketing it’s not always easy to tell the difference between the two.  An example of this, that I admire, is the DermaBlend viral advertising campaign.  This reversed the usual beauty advertising premise of enhancing features through make-up and instead promoted it’s ‘cover-up’ capacities returning the heavily tattooed ‘Zombie-boy’ to a more natural look.

ZombieBoy: Before (left) and After (right).  [Image from adweek.com]

This has started me thinking about how optical illusions could be used to create interesting spaces.  By ‘faking’ it initially, can interest be drawn towards the real product/narrative?

Kumi Yamashita’s 1997 installation showcased how light can be reflected against a series of objects to produce an entirely different image.  I particularly like how simple this concept is, utilizing just two properties, wooden blocks and a single light source.

33-building-blocks1997 Installation by Kumi Yamashita.  [image from kumiyamashita.com]

Another simple but effective ‘trick’, was used by Ford to promote its Explorer range.  By using the optical illusion created when starring at one object, then diverting your gaze to another area, people were able to ‘park’ the SUV.


Ford Explorer advert by BBR Saatchi & Saatchi. [image from campaign live.co.uk]

Again I admire the simplicity and effectiveness of this example, whereby clean, crisp graphics have been integrated with a simple illusion to create a memorable advert.  It might be possible to take inspiration from this piece when designing experiential and immersive spaces.




Beltrone, G (2011) ‘Ad of the Day: Dermablend’ posted 25 Oct 2011, available at http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-dermablend-36070 [accessed 22.11.16]

http://www.kumiyamashita.com/portfolio/building-blocks/ [accessed 22.11.16]

Edwards, S (2015) ‘6 clever optical illusion ads’ posted 04 Jun 2015, available at http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/1349932/6-clever-optical-illusion-ads [accessed 22.1.16]