Traditional graphic design and marketing rely heavily on visual forms of communication. With advertisements all around us, the constant visual bombardment has led to an over stimulated consumer, creating a challenge for designers to invent alternative ways to capture the audience's attention. Multi-sensory integration overcomes this challenge in my opinion, by integrating more than the sense of sight and is more effective and memorable, because it conveys the core message through multiple senses rather than one. The integration of additional senses within the field, particularly olfactory in my opinion, helps to enhance the overall communication and facilitate a more potent user experience. According to National Bureau of Economic Research, the United States suffered a significant decline in economic activity resulting in the great recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Following the recession, many United States citizens still faced unforeseen financial crisis, sudden loss of income and housing foreclosure. The impact of the recession continues today, causing suffering and severe crisis. As a result of this, many families and individuals continue to find themselves newly poor. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, currently in the United States there are 643,067 people experiencing homelessness on any given night; roughly 22 of every 10,000 people are homeless. Of that number, 238,110 are people in families and 404,957 are individuals, 17% of the homeless population are considered chronically homeless and 12% of the homeless population are made up of veterans. The objective of this thesis is to show how utilizing multi-sensory integration to raise awareness of poverty in the United States is effective and to explore the effects of the great recession by allowing observers to digitally experience homelessness. The intention is to give observers a new appreciation of life, inspire individuals to take action and stimulate change within their community.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Poverty--Interactive multimedia--Design; Smell--Social aspects; Senses and sensation--Social aspects
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Skrok, Daniel, "Perception of poverty: Promoting social responsibility through multi-sensory integration" (2013). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus