The great Italian polymath, Leonardo da Vinci comes to my mind as the master of subtle suggestion. He aggressively exploited the technique of sfumato (the fine shading that produces soft, imperceptible transitions between colors and tones to form a smoky effect) to bring forth this power of subtle seduction. His fabled work, Mona Lisa is a masterful manifestation of this technique. Da Vinci was well versed in the seductive power of limiting knowledge. He recognized that when things are open to interpretation, we are driven by our imaginations and our creative interpolations. The result: the bliss of an eternal enigma; Mona Lisa.
Mathew May, author of Shibumi Strategy says "Leave something to the imagination by limiting information". He says, because human spirit is indefinable the power of suggestion is exalted as the mark of truly authentic creation. Finiteness—dotting every "i" and crossing every "t"— is thought to be at odds with nature, implying stagnation and loss of life. In Zen terms this is the principle of Yugen. As Mathew puts it Leonardo Da Vinci and Steve Jobs both recognized the power of Yugen in art and business. The mysterious smile of Mona Lisa seduces us to arrive at different interpretation every time we look at her because, of the missing definition of her mouth. Leonardo was a master in blending light and shade. He used light to define forms, model them and create the illusion of depth. His softened sfumato contours dissolve into the shadows and into light.
May goes on to mention, when Apple launched iphone, Steve Jobs only demonstrated it once at Macworld 07. It did not go on sale until June. In between there was this long silence. The bloggers and Apple loyalists took over and interpreted with creative modulations. The iPhone "tipped" over even before it went on sale. Rest is history.
The seduction of suggestion is very evident in the design of Pivot Point Regatta Pop Up trade show booth. It seduces the viewer into fancy contemplation. It creates a sense of informal restlessness. It entices the viewer and acts as a silent prompt to engage in a conversation with the booth staffer.
The Art of design now becomes the Art of Business!
Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka