I’m working on a brand-new product at the moment, part of which highlights the link between two legendary hypnotherapists – Milton Erickson and David Grove (creator of Clean Language). One of the key things they had in common was a passion for metaphor.
They took slightly different viewpoints, of course (more on which when the product launch gets closer). But both of them recognised the importance of metaphor and story to influence the way we think and behave at both a conscious and subconscious level.
As been part of the development process, I’ve been gathering some great insights, and great quotes, about metaphor. For example:
“Metaphor is the engine of imagination.” Gerald Zaltman
“Only the human mind can think metaphorically and see relationships thatcomputers could never detect.” Daniel Pink
“Metaphors can help bring consumers’ important – but unconscious – thoughts and feelings to the surface.” Gerald Zaltman
And so, as I set about giving the website a new look over the last few days, metaphor has been at the top of my mind. (Hmm, what kind of “top” is that?)
When I set up this site and company, I used “X-Ray Listening” as a metaphor for Clean Language. It wasn’t original – it came from an article in Psychologies Magazine – but like many metaphors, it seemed emotionally engaging, memorable, and packaged a lot of information into a short phrase. The initial design of the website emphasised the “X-Ray” idea with lots of white-on-black.
A year on, it seems as if X-Ray Listening has a life of its own and I can make a reasonable answer to the question: “X-Ray Listening is like what?”
Maybe it’s the influence of the environment – I’m currently staying opposite a ruined medieval castle, and it looked stunning by the light of the full moon last night – but it seems to me that X-Ray Listening is like a Harry-Potteresque magical cloak.
It gives you the ability to cast spells, to influence people, particularly in a “white magic” way. And it can be a cloak of invisibility: it’s often best not to be seen if you want to make the magic happen.
But I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to being too overtly metaphorical in web design. It’s all too easy to go over the top, and sacrifice readability. So you won’t find any “monsters and magical sticks” here.
I hope you like the new look – I think it’s clean, bright, professional, and well-connected to social media. Many thanks to my friends Rob and Linda of 24 Hour Trading for their help in making it happen.
Feedback welcome. And in particular, what metaphors (implicit or explicit) are you noticing in the new design? Please feel free to use the “comments” function.