The visual search tool in the Amazon app occupies a space between the digital and the physical. I created a visual identity for the tool to explore how graphic design can be used to investigate boundaries.

Through the creation of various artifacts like flags, stamps, shirts, shipping and packing material and printed material, I identified the in-between area the visual search tool occupies and how it connects the physical world to the digital world, and vice versa. The feature turns our surroundings into an online store, normalizing and extending Amazon’s reach into every aspect of our lives. My first step was developing a map and diagram for the space to identify the iconography and language that represents the space. I then created artifacts to legitimize and claim ownership over it.

In a way, the visual search tool represents Amazon’s total takeover of the physical world. It presents itself as being purely beneficial, not wanting us to think or care about how it is tracking us, analyzing us and turning us into commodities. It’s manipulative, telling us what we want to buy and therefore shaping our behavior through it’s suggestions. The more we rely on it, the smarter it becomes by using our valuable data to strengthen it’s power and knowledge.

Speculative Design
Identity System
Fall 2020