Designing Inclusion Amanda Sepanski
Graphic Design and the Non-Designer
Designing Inclusi n Amanda Sepanski
Graphic Design and the Non-Designer
Designing Inclusion: Graphic Design and the Non-Designer By Amanda Sepanski Bachelor of Fine Arts University of Dayton May, 2009 ÂŠ 2014 Amanda Sepanski
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts, Communications Design, School of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, May 2014
Designing Inclusion: Graphic Design and the Non-Designer By Amanda Sepanski
Received and approved:
Alex Liebergesell | Primary Advisor
Jennifer Bernstein | Secondary Advisor
David Frisco | Secondary Advisor
Jeff Bellantoni | Chairperson
Amanda Sepanski | MFA Candidate
Thank you to my thesis advisors, Alex Liebergesell, Jennifer Bernstien and David Frisco for your guidance and advice. Thank you to my classmates, BĂĄrbara AbbĂŞs, Rogier Bak, Rachna Batra, Jonathan Frey, Jeannette Hodgkins, Xiaoping Ma, and Diego Zaks for supporting and contributing to my learning process. A special thanks to my studiomate and frequent collaborator John Hallman. Thank you to Mom, Dad and Lauren for your excitement and support. A special thanks to: Jeff Bellantoni Jean Brennan Ned Drew Matt Martin Gala Narezo Alan Rapp Andrew Shea Ryan Waller Pirco Wolfframm Karin Wood
Seven step poster, Design for Mindful Interaction Studio, Summer 2013
Abstract 14 Introduction Design and Subjectivity 17 Problem Statement 20 Delimitations 22 Inclusion Levels 26 The Process 28 Active Inclusion 32 Inspiration 36 Projects 42 Summary 57 Controlled Inclusion 58 Inspiration 60 Projects 66 Summary 84 Passive Inclusion 86 Inspiration 88 Projects 90 Summary 113 Final Case Study 114 Conclusion 124 Annotated Bibliography 130
You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
â€” Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (Nonsuch Publishing, 2008) 187
As human beings our lives are individually shaped by the social conditions surrounding us and communication is fundamental in establishing our connections with each other. When initiating, sustaining or adjusting our relationships, communication design serves as a tool for the common good. It can cultivate our unique subjectivity to include individual perspectives that help drive the design process.
Design and Subjectivity Every person on Earth lives with their own set of life conditions. As philosopher Martin Heidegger once said, “the possible ranks higher than the actual.” * People are constantly driven to find new possibilities within their lives. While this can be a good thing, sometimes it is necessary to embrace the actual. To that point, Friedrich Nietzsche asked people to stop romanticizing the world around them and embrace the reality of their lives. Whether it be their gender, geographical location, social status, health conditions or any other factor, big or small, we react to our conditions in ways that we see fit. With the world around us constantly changing it is important that we be aware of how our work fits into existing conditions that affect people. Graphic design is a discipline with rules and systems in place that designers use as guidelines. Though the rules of design can be both functional and aesthetic, I believe that design should aim to function within the conditions of life rather than adhering strictly to the rules in place. Society is constantly changing and the field of graphic design has to change and evolve as well. With the designer often at a distance from the issue at hand, it is impossible for us to experience and understand the life conditions of the audience members, just as it can be difficult for them to understand each other. It is from this point that I began to explore ways in which to empower audience members to contribute to the design process, allowing their individual perspectives to factor into the solution. What happens when we embrace the chaos of our life conditions and allow them to drive the design process? This area of personal exploration began with a question: “is it possible and effective to merge the practice of graphic design with service work?” At the time, I was addressing graphic design as the simple formation of visual messages, with service work being the contribution of time to create positive change in other people’s lives. I came to discover that many designers and creatives are already doing this. Some common terms are used to help define and set limits for this type of design, such as “design thinking,” “human centered design” and “social impact design.” Those terms fit well with my goals as far as design practice goes but I wanted to create a foundational methodolMartin Heidegger, Being and Time (Harper Perennial/Modern Thought, 2008) 36
ogy in which design and people interact. In the end my goal as a practicing designer is to use this interaction in order to create positive change. Contemporary design has always been used to facilitate positive change. With technology constantly advancing, however, people can more easily play a role in subjectively shaping the way we communicate rather than fully accepting the designed systems created for them. Whether we like it or not, designers receive ongoing participation from our audiences. Take design criticism for example, which is a major factor in realizing that the audience has a comprehensible level of control and awareness. In Michael Bierut’s essay “Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport,” he speaks of a world where everyone is a design critic. By referencing how ridiculous it was for people to have casual conversations critiquing the design of everyday products in the late 60s and then pointing out how normal it has become forty years later, he makes an important indication about the changing role of the audience. Helen Armstrong points to the reason why contributions such as criticism are more prevalent than ever: Today’s audience in changing. Viewers have become users, and professional creatives suddenly face a newly activated public. No longer content to simply digest messages, these users increasingly approach design with the expectation of having to fill in the blanks and actively insert content. The daily use of website such as Vimeo, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube has conditioned the public to contribute. And contribute they do. *
Helen Armstrong, Participate: Designing with User-Generated Content (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011) 11
Audience criticism is an external factor that provides one reason to break the rules of graphic design and find a way to adhere to the conditions of our lives. From my standpoint as a designer, I would like to call attention to an internal factor as well. The design discipline has evolved through decades of practice and the demand for visual communication. When something great is created that fits a need, it can last forever. In this case take the example of the typeface Helvetica. It emerged from 1957 modernism due to the need for a neutral, rational typeface. * It was extensively applied and widely dispersed to the public because of its functionality and legibility. Helvetica quickly became a trend and still exists as a dominant typeface in contemporary design. Much controversy surrounds it modern-day use and many designers believe that it is overused. I question whether Helvetica, when it was born and in modern day society, fit needs as well as it was believed to. Can such a thing as a â€œneutralâ€? typeface really exist? Helvetica created a sub-system within the rules of modernism that immediately trended as designers adhered to itâ€™s functionality. On the flipside, many designers refuse to use it, disgusted by its popularity and overuse. No one seemed to second-guess their opinion of Helvetica at any point, not because of how it realistically fits into the conditions of our lives, but because of the romanticized culture and representation surrounding it. How can we frame the design process in a way that allows for participation and input from the people affected by our work? Approaching design at the foundational level of human subjectivity is essential to my process. Focusing on existential philosophy as a platform for exploration, I hope to outline methods that begin with human subjectivity and lead to a better general understanding of graphic design.
Gary Hustwit, Helvetica (2007) http://www.helveticafilm.com/
Problem Statement We live in a world in which the conditions of our lives determine our needs and actions. Though human beings often share certain life conditions, no two people in the world are subjectively the same. Friedrich Nietzsche said it best, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” * Nietzsche believed that there is no such thing as ideal and we must embrace the chaotic conditions of life while recognizing how different we are from one another. For this reason, communication is fundamental in allowing us to establish an understanding of each other. Graphic design is a powerful communicative tool and although the designer is usually at a distance from such fundamental issues, we can cultivate our individual subjectivity to help us gain a deeper knowledge of others. Graphic design has the potential to tap into the subjectivity of individual people and extract their point of view, empowering them to communicate to others, even if it’s on a very small scale. We use many forms of person-to-person communication but design has advantages that other forms do not, including scope, creativity, simplification, systematization and consistent interaction. While the voice of a single person can articulate information, design can easily reach a much larger audience while transmitting complex messages in a simpler—perhaps more inclusive—way. Nietzsche and other existentialists argue that we do not need to subscribe to existing systems that carry no relevance to our life conditions. Graphic design is a constantly evolving discipline with established rules and boundaries that do not always fit together with the human condition, which I define as the ongoing methods in which humans manage and react to situations and surroundings. Because human conditions are dynamic, the design process cannot be exactly replicated across more than one issue. Candy Chang, an artist and designer from New Orleans who uses public space and visual messages to facilitate conversation between members of the community, points out, “we don’t bump into every neighbor, so a lot of wisdom never gets passed on.” * Her form of response, a simple interactive public installation, allows anyone to transmit a message without being present at the time of reception. Public response Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (Nonsuch Publishing, 2008) 187
is one example of a starting point in the design process to gather thoughts from an audience as to what their needs are, rather than speculating. Graphic designers are in a position of control and we can use our control to lead groups in a particular direction rather than dictate it for them. We can choose to take on a more passive role and allow for active participants to help shape our work. But how much control should we give to participants and when is it more efficient for the designer to dictate the entire process? My thesis seeks to define three levels of inclusive design methods that can allow for meaningful contributions from participants, while approaching a problem through a lens of subjectivity and the human condition. My intention is to ensure that the dynamic practice of design never outgrows the systems I set up, because human subjectivity is never static. From identifying a problem all the way to implementing a solution, the designer remains in an active position, but we can allow for participants to enter themselves into the process. No matter what context, designers can foster individual subjectivity in a positive way to communicate on behalf of anyone and help us uncover unknown connections and similarities.
Graphic designers are in a position of control and we can use our control to lead groups in a particular direction rather than dictate it for them.
Candy Chang, Before I Die... (TED Talks) http://www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to
Delimitations Participatory Design Participatory design is an expansive discipline and I do not intend address in detail the depth and span of what already exists. I would like to acknowledge the field of participatory design and emphasize my own viewpoint of a system that fits within the discipline. My reason for investing in the importance of a participatory approach, first and foremost, is because cultivating individual subjectivity is the only way for us to express ourselves to each other and help us understand others. This is both about creativity and subjectivity. Liz Sanders Liz Sanders is the founder of MakeTools, a company that focuses on co-creation and co-design among other developmental design concepts. At the core of co-creation is the belief that every person has a sense of creativity and the need to express it. Sanders outlines the difference between co-creation and co-design: The authors take co-creation to refer to any act of collective creativity, i.e., creativity that is shared by two or more people. Co-creation is a very broad term with applications ranging from the physical to the metaphysical and from the material to the spiritual, as can be seen by the output of search engines. By co-design we indicate collective creativity as it is applied across the whole span of a design process, as was intended by the name of this journal. Thus, co-design is a specific instance of co-creation. Co-design refers, for some people, to the collective creativity of collaborating designers. We use co-design in a broader sense to refer to the creativity of designers and people not trained in design working together in the design development process. *
Liz Sanders and Pieter Stappers, Co-Creation and the New Landscapes of Design (Taylor and Francis, 2008) 2
Within my own methodologies, I do not separate designers from non-designer as contributors. Any subjective contribution from a human being other than the designer who leads the process is equally valuable. Unlike Sanders, I do not mean to emphasize the creative side of participants in the design process, rather their contributions to push the problem-solving process forward. Participants, as I see them, inform the design process by contributing their true subjective thoughts based on the conditions of their life in order to help solve a problem. I want to emphasize collective problem-solving rather than creating outlets for individual creativity. To me, design is not always a creative process. It is about solving problems and finding new perspectives for approaching an issue. When combining many subjective viewpoints, the multitude of differing perspectives will naturally build a creative platform for problem-solving. Hilary Cottam Hilary Cottam is a designer who works with social issues and interaction. She is a founding partner of Participle, where she works to incorporate individuals and communities into the creative process and allow them to contribute to solving problems that impact their lives. She works specifically with existing issues to empower those affected to take action and contribute collectively to a solution. My values align with Cottamâ€™s in that I wish to allow people to shape the world around them in a meaningful way. Participle works mostly with public issues to bring about change in communities. While public places, social change and communities is a part of what I intend to explore, I do not intend to extensively explore the realm of social change. My intention is to lay a foundation for the instigation of interaction between people and design that must take place in order to create participatory results. As she points out â€œDesign practice has never been static.â€? * My foundational methodologies are meant to ensure that the dynamic practice of design never outgrows the systems I set up, because human subjectivity is never static.
Colin Burns, Hilary Cottam, Chris Vanstone and Jennie Winhall. Red Paper 02: Transformation Design, http://www. designcouncil.info/mt/RED/transformationdesign/TransformationDesignFinalDraft.pdf accessed March 6, 2014
Helen Armstrong Helen Armstrong is writer, designer and educator. In her book â€œParticipate: Designing with User-Generated Contentâ€? she creates open-ended, generative systems in which non-designers creatively contribute to the design process. She talks about soliciting content from users and translating it into something greater than the original contribution. Along with building her own systems, she points to existing social media platforms to allow for contributions. Using participant contributions as a platform, she expresses how participatory projects can begin to democratize media culture. The way we consume media is shifting with the advancement of technology, and so is the need for approaching the design process through a participatory lense. While the idea of balancing the role between designer and participant interests me, I do not wish to emphasize the democratization of the design process. It is my belief that design is a specialized area of communication that requires proper education and discipline. Armstrong concretely writes about participation as a useful tool in the world of design practice. I am experimenting from a more theoretical context and intend to create systems that can be taken out of their original theoretical context and applied to practical issues * Philosophy and Existentialism Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre are the three main sources from which I derived my own philosophical stance. Nietzsche is an especially controversial philosopher whose mental stability deteriorated toward the end of his life. While I cannot justify all of their individual viewpoints, my thesis contains my own philosophical stance drawn from their thoughts about human existence. My interpretation of their writing serves as the starting point for my exploration. It is from this point which I draw a basis for introduction to the discipline of graphic design. I would like to position design as an integral tool for communication between people. I believe design should conform to the human condition that already exists, as Nietzsche emphasizes, rather than fitting our issues into the rules of graphic design. Embracing the chaos of human existence will allow for designers to respond and adapt to the conditions of life. Participate: Designing with User-Generated Content, more information at participatorydesign.net
Transformation Design, Shifting Behaviors and Empathy I am positioning design as a central communicative tool that enables people to understand each other. While some of the work described is meant to draw empathy and shift behaviors, I donâ€™t mean to imply that design and itâ€™s subject matter has to take on this role in every situation. In some situations a one-way message is sufficient and, while it cannot be measured, it can be assumed that the audience is interpreting and responding to the work. User-centered Design User-centered design has to do with the needs, wants and limitation of the end users. My interests are not simply user-centered because that does not specify that communication is taking place. A message must be involved and the work has to communicate to an audience. DIY design I do not mean to create a system in which everyone is a designer. I believe the opposite, that designers must have a comprehensible level of training and visual competency. I simply wish to outline a process in which the designer includes the audience to ensure that the end results adhere to the needs of the participants. My methodology is meant to probe individual perspectives while the process is still in the hands of the designer.
For more information on User-Centered design: http://www.usabilityfirst.com/about-usability/introduction-to-user-centered-design/)
non-designer contributions and designer control
Active Inclusion Contributor > Designer
Controlled Inclusion Contributor = Designer
Passive Inclusion Contributor < Designer
1. Identify the Problem Active Verbal and written participation as well as allowing for observation from the designer and possibly observing and recording information about themselves to share with the designer. Controlled Somewhere in the middle. Passive Simply being observed by the designer as a subject.
2. Research Active Subjective written and spoken information that serves as a form of qualitative research. Controlled Somewhere in the middle. Passive Simply being observed by the designer as a subject.
3. Conceptualize Active Conversations in a workshop/design thinking style that allows participation from the audience as far as conceptualizing. This would be like building ideas through team exercises and brainstorming together. The designer could ask participants to actively sketch their ideas. Controlled Somewhere in the middle. Passive The designer uses mostly objective and widely accessable information.
4. Test and Iterate Active Actively using and adjusting the design work based on audience feedback. Again this could be verbal or written feedback that is used to measure thoughts or active sketches and ideas. Controlled Somewhere in the middle. Passive The designer can observe a test group interacting with the work and adjust based on observations.
5. Implement Active Controlled Passive The process may be completely controlled by the designer and allow for participants to interact afterwards whether this is simply viewing the message or taking part in an interactive piece.
6. Measure Active Controlled Passive Documenting thoughts and ideas of participants along the way in written or visual form will allow the designer to measure the end result. However, because the process is based mostly on subjectivity, the measurements are mostly qualitative. Any quantitative measurements are contingent on the subject matter.
“It is only in our decisions that we are important.” — Jean-Paul Sartre
Participants help drive the entire process from beginning to end while the designer takes on a more passive role. As a result participants actively influence the form. This is a framework for a process that incorporates participants and can be centered around any issue. The first step to the design process is identifying the problem or subject matter. Using a method of active inclusion means that the designer starts off by using the thoughts and opinions of audience members to inform subsequent steps. As the word active indicates, the participants would be actively included in the entire process. Jean-Paul Sartre believed “it is only in our decisions that we are important.” * Allowing for active contributions can give the audience a level of choice in the process and allow them to make important decisions. While the designer creates a high level of transparency, the participants’ thoughts, opinions and decisions are the main force behind the act of creating. Helen Armstrong has valuable insight as to why this involved level of participation is important: The best design solicits content from users—visual form, thematic content, physical movement or action—and then translates it into something greater than the initial contribution. In this way the designer provides value to users, rewarding them for their participation, typically in a non-monetary way. The initial contributions are simple, easily carried out by the user: a photograph, a sketch, a doodle, a word, a movement, a vocalization, a touch. But when put into the context of a larger participatory project, user content flourished in unexpected ways. * The designer is still the form maker but only within the constraints of what the participants are asking for. Another approach, though more complex, could be to ask participants to help in the formal development. The final solution would incorporate visuals that were actually created by the participants and arranged accordingly within constraints set by the designer. Either way, the designer takes on a more passive role which allows for
Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotion (Reissue edition. Citadel, 2000)
Helen Armstrong, Participate: Designing with User-Generated Content 12
the audience members to determine each phase of the process. In each case, the designer will have a close relationship with the participant group and work as an equal partner in the process. This method is beneficial to the final results because it connects the designer with the audience members who are experts on the issue at hand. At the same time it is very time-consuming because it relies heavily on other people and the designer has to be sure to create the incentives needed for people to want to contribute.
The best design solicits content from users—visual form, thematic content, physical movement or action—and then translates it into something greater than the initial contribution.
Community members participating in the “Good Fences” discussion. See page 76
HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention Posters in Kenya In 2003 a group of American design educators and a graduate student set out to design posters in Kenya to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. In the book “Design Studies, Theory and Research in Graphic Design,” the designers outline their research and present the results. “Audience as Co-designer: Participatory Design of HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention Posters in Kenya” begins by explaining the problem that has already been identified. HIV/AIDS is a substantial and well-recognized problem in Africa and they wanted to create a poster campaign to raise awareness in Kenya. As designers, we specialize in forming visual messages, but Africa does not have access to much of the skills and expertise needed to create a poster campaign of this nature. On the other hand American designers, while familiar with the issue in their own culture, cannot relate to the culture in Kenya, nor do we understand the communication methods and visual languages already embedded into Kenyans’ lives. Because of this disconnect, the designers decided to take a participatory
approach that allowed members of the community in Kenya to drive the design process and contribute directly to the visual aesthetics of the results. They outlined a process that allowed members of the Kenyan audience to be co-designers. The designers remained in the US and communicated with the group of paid Kenyan participants through various digital technologies. As an early step they asked the Kenyans to generate ideas on how to communicate through awareness posters. They than asked the Kenyans to write copy that they believe and understand, draw graphics that matched the copy and create visual layouts that they like and understand. This allowed self-reflection and individual identity to ultimately compose the visual pieces of communication. From the writing and drawing phase, posters were made into final poster prototypes that the American designers critiqued for typography and other basic technical and visual elements. This process is an excellent example of Active Participation. Aside from the successful process itself, the situation displays a need for participation of this extent because the designers are so far removed from the target audience. The designers could not have created the posters with the same type of messages and visual language that the Kenyans did themselves.
Audrey Bennett et al. Audience as Co-designer: Participatory Design of HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention Posters in Kenya. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2006)
Janet Zweig: Columbus Never Christopher Columbus, credited with discovering America, influenced the naming of Columbus, Ohio. Though his name directly influenced that of the modern day city, the city did not even exist until after his time. So why is the city named after him? What do the people of Columbus think? Janet Zweig, an artist working primarily in public spaces, asked the same question. In 2012, while the city celebrated its bicentennial, Zweig set up a collaborative installation to build out the story of Christopher Columbus. She installed the first few words, “Columbus never came here but” on the side of a building in downtown Columbus. Then a system that she set up was used to allow members of the city to participate in writing the rest of the story. In the form of a contest, Columbus residents could submit three to five word entries to continue the sentence. Every two weeks a winning entry would be installed. In the end the sentence read: Columbus never came here, but when the city sleeps, what our dreamers discover is that we have always created our own collective inside joke, one is still looking for a punch line, that begins with “Columbus never came here, but…” That’s why our city, if you want it to, will wake up with the Santa Maria floating down the Scioto, and our bronze Christopher shouting, “Better than never!” All of the copy, with the exception of the first five words, was directly written and contributed by the residents of Columbus. It turns out that the installation had more to do with the city’s identity than justifying the name and its connection with Christopher Columbus. The simple act of asking for participation created conversation between members of the community. Along with the visual installation, videos were taken of residents giving their own verbal input. Most of the participants spoke of an inspirational and collectively positive city. Though the final installation expresses a more humorous mood, the process itself brought the participating community members together to take pride in the city that they share.
Images from http://columbuspublicart.com/ project.php?project=zweig
More information at http://www.janetzweig.com/
Call Yo Momma Circle, Square, Triangle
Call Yo Momma; Creating More Meaningful Conversation with Your Long Distance Mother A habit is an automatic response to a specific situation and the formation of a habit starts deep within our brains. I used to share a common problem with a fellow classmate, Kristen Myers. We both lacked the habit of regularly speaking with our long distance mothers. This project began with the intention to help both of us regulate the phone call cycle between ourselves and our moms. The goal was to create more meaningful and consistent interactions with them despite the distance between us. We initially decided that we would each call our respective moms twice a week, setting reminder alarms and creating simple visual cues like changing the background images on our phones to photos of our moms. Though we began with a similar problem and ended up collaborating to the end, our solutions for each othersâ€™ problem were created separately. I started with response cards to record how Kristen felt about her interaction with her mother and to monitor whether or not the first scheduled phone call was helping. The response cards revealed an important factor: Kristen was not struggling with making phone calls, she was mostly frustrated by the frequency of Facebook interactions with her mom. After figuring out that her problem was not centered around phone calls, rather on the magnitude of meaningless Facebook activity, I changed my course of action. I changed her call schedule to once a week and created a private Facebook page just for Kristen and her mom. I switched the comment cards to specifically compare Facebook and phone interaction and quality. Together we created a more universal journal that can be used by anyone who has the same problem of keeping in touch and creating meaningful conversations. We made a final video that explained our process and how design decisions led to a solution for this problem. The results were positive for both of us. I began using my phone more habitually and found that the people on my 'to-call' list were also calling me more often. Kristen found that the private Facebook page led to more frequent, meaningful conversations that may not have taken place otherwise. The feedback cards functioned as both a place for
documenting calls and as an effective form of self-reflection. In the end, recording our thoughts and feelings about the calls not only made us more self-aware but also helped to enforce a new habit. Since the act of talking on the phone involves a second person, the habit is two-sided; we hope that momentum is maintained on both ends and our newly-formed habits remain. Participatory Form Though Kristen and I are both designers, we both acted as active, non-designer participants for each other. The participation happened through verbal conversation and written feedback. The feedback cards were specifically set with the constraints that allowed the comments to directly shape the next step of the process. Along with Kristen being an active participant in the process, her mom began to participate in shaping the project as well. From the beginning, Kristen informed her mom that this project was happening and that she was attempting to form a new habit. The mutual private Facebook page created a space for Kristenâ€™s mom to participate and inform the process as well.
Kristenâ€™s Daily Log: feedback cards used to record qualitative information
A journal resulted from the collective feedback
Circle, Square, Triangle Every person approaches a situation with their own subjective outlook. We all see things and interpret them however we choose to and we all have our individual values. We derive meaning from the world around us in distinctive and personal ways. I was interested in cultivating and visualizing the differing ways in which individuals approach, view and interpret identical elements. I created a system to visualize the transition from a simple geometric shape to a drawing of an object within a specific context. With this system I set out to test the varying approaches and responses from people while starting with the same content. First, I created three different but simple feedback cards, one with a circle, one with a square and one with a triangle. This idea was influenced by a creativity test conducted at the Bauhaus in 1923 by Wassily Kandinsky, a painter and art theorist. * His goal was to find a correlation between the three shapes and each of the three primary colors. Beginning with black shapes, I hoped to create a more open system for creativity. I asked people at random to interpret the shape and draw an object on the card. From the first step I received a multitude of different responses. From those responses I curated a list of nineâ€”three of each shapeâ€”and aed the next phase of response cards. The circular objects I chose were the moon, the sun and a cookie. The sun and the moon are similar in their contextual existence in space. I was interested to see how they would relate to each other in the second phase of drawings. At the same time the moon and the cookie looked very similar and it was possible that either could be mistaken for the other. The square objects I chose were a building, a puppy and a sandwich. I thought it was interesting that someone made the leap from a simple square to a drawing of a dog. The triangles were a pyramid which several people drew, a triangular street sign with the detail of two people drawn on and a tipi. I then printed new response cards with the nine objects and repeated the first step. I asked participants to draw a context around each of the object, leaving the visual decisions up to them.
Ellen Lupton and J. Abbot Miller, Triangle, Square, Circle: A Psychological Test
The final responses proved to show differing interpretations. For example, the moon was drawn into context as a moon in most cases. Some participants interpreted the moon from an Earth view and others created their own visual rendering of outer space. One person out of ten, however, interpreted the moon as a snowmansâ€™ head. The dog was drawn mostly in a setting where a dog would exist, but one participant turned the dog into a lion and another turned it into a tiger. The tipi was seen mostly as a reference to Native Americans, but one participant drew it as a bird beak while another thought it was a tiny umbrella in a tropical drink. In the final presentation I used the drawings in their original form, allowing for the participant contributions to remain the active visual elements. I created an interface with which audience members could interact as they viewed the varying interpretations of each shape. Three circles, three squares and three triangles created a gridded layout. When mousing over each shape, the viewer can see the initial object drawing that accompanies that button. Each was attached to an 30-40 second video beginning with the shape, moving onto the object and then playing through each of the contextual interpretations. Each video is paired with a song that relates to one of the more obscure interpretations that is shown at the end of the video. The project as a whole metaphorically presents the idea that the world is made up of differing individuals and we each see the world in our own way. Participatory Form A system was created to allow for participants to create the visual pieces of communication. As the designer, I curated the images and decided which would yield the most interesting results. I also organized them in a way that communicated my own view. Though I created the interface, each short video was made up of 8-10 drawings created by people other than myself. Allowing for their creations to live in a raw format helped communicate the process, as well as create meaning which an end viewer can derive.
Participants drew objects based on one of the three shapes
The first round of drawings were curated and distributed to a second round of participants to draw a contextual image
Videos were made of each to transition from one context to another. An interface with clickable links and rollover images contains the nine videos
Summary Because we all have different life conditions, everyone views an issue from a unique perspective. Designing a system to incorporate active participants into the process is an effective way to develop a communicative piece. Involving participants from the audience empowers them to influence the work, which should ensure that the outcome serves more of a collective point of view than if the designer had sole power over the process. Though the solutions may be the best possible, allowing active participation is time-consuming. As time-consuming as design already is, creating systems in which non-designers can make contributions can be even more so. The fact that design can create this type of inclusive system does not relieve any workload from the designer. It simply allows space for open contributions, but the designer must know how and where to bring in the active participation and set up the constraints to keep the participation relevant to the subject and goal. Whether we create a space for participants to actively make, like I achieved with Circle, Square, Triangle, or design a way in which they can contribute their thoughts, as Janet Zweig did with Columbus Never, we can make use of active participants to dictate the final form and message of our work. I could have drawn all of the shapes myself, just as Zweig could have written the story of Columbus on the side of a building, but what would we gain from that? What would our audience derive from this type of interaction? It is important to consider the way we frame a project and think about where the audience lives within the process, as well as what it means for the final piece of work. Asking the audience members to contribute draws out their individual perspective and creates or builds upon a shared experience.
“A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Participants influence the process but the designer remains the active form giver. Like Active Inclusion, this is a framework for a process that incorporates participants and can be centered around any issue. Controlled Inclusion is obviously the middle ground between Active and Passive Inclusion. As the word controlled indicates, the designer remains in control of the process while the participants move back and forth from an active to a passive state of participation. Participants are more likely to be contributing thoughts and ideas rather than making and creating. As Nietzsche said â€œA thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.â€? * Participants help to inform the process while the designer works through a solution. While the participants are not actually making or actively forming the results, the designer takes them into consideration as a main form of research. This could work in different ways. First the designer could gather subjective information from participants as a form of problem identification and research. As a main method of research, this would be applied throughout the stages of the process as the participants move from an active position to a passive one. Another method would be to include participants in a passive way at first, then actively incorporate them toward the end of the process. In any case the designer has a specific need for including participants and sets up controlled systems for participation and feedback within the process. Having a controlled process can be both efficient and effective because it does not rely as heavily on the influence of participants, but uses direct audience members as a source. The designer decides the level of participation needed, but the process still requires time, trust and incentive for contributions.
Charles B. Guignon, The Existentialists: Critical Essays on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre. (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004)
Human Rights Campaign: Making Equality the Social Norm In May of 1954, the United States of America received an anxiously awaited Supreme Court ruling that would change society forever: the victorious case of Brown vs. Board of Education banned racial segregation in schools on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. In the months leading up to court hearings, rallies and demonstrations were happening across the country. Large gatherings of activists showed their support with a variety of hand-written signs, giving people a visual representation of their stance on the issue. Honorable gestures such as this may not have had an effect on legislature but their impact on society and other individuals was immeasurable. People influenced each other significantly through this visual expression of support, taking a significant step toward making racial equality the social norm. This triumphant story of activism and support should sound familiar. Almost sixty years later, on March 26th and 27th of 2013, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two new civil rights cases: The Defense of Marriage Act and Californiaâ€™s Proposition 8. Both laws restrict marriage rights for same sex couples, causing
Images from http://www.adweek.com/ news/advertising-branding/doma-nation-148206
discrimination. Much like the case of Brown vs. Board of Education, people all over the country were showing their support. The difference is that this particular campaign literally reached millions of people overnight. Human Rights Campaign, an organization that advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, planned and released a logo on all of their social media platforms the day before the cases were heard in court. It was specifically formatted with pink and red, instead of their regular blue and yellow, to symbolize this specific battle for love and equality. Anastasia Khoo, the Marketing Director at Human Rights Campaign and creator of the pink and red logo, traces the story of the campaignâ€™s development and implementation to its measurable success. From the beginning, Human Rights Campaign had a larger focus on the two court cases. In the weeks leading up the the court hearings, their marketing team sent out blog posts, image shares and other content every day. They sent out emails to inform loyal followers that both cases had made it to the Supreme Court. Monday before the cases were heard, they changed all of their social media profile pictures to the new logo and asked their followers to do the same and share it with their friends and family. In the digital age of social media, information can be rapidly circulated with little effort: within hours of its release, millions of people had changed their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram photos to show that they supported marriage equality too. But does this lower level of effort devalue the meaning of the act? Khoo explained their intentions, beginning with the fact that she knew from experience that people would want to get involved. Activism can present itself on different levels, and in this case she was looking for ways to simply allow people to take a public stance on the issue. Some may have found comfort in voicing their opinion with the crowd. Others may have decided for the first time that they support the issue rather than remaining silent. Seeing supporters all over the internet is hard to ignore. Perhaps for some, seeing their social media friends share their support was the first involvement they have ever had with the issue. It seems as though this campaign provided a platform for some to expand and share their opinion, while others were perhaps being swayed or realizing their stance for the first time. Whatever the individual situations amount to, this campaign
initiated millions of conversations. Khoo stated “So much of the work we do here is about changing hearts and minds. For us, changing hearts and minds comes one conversation at a time.” Although conversations are just the beginning, that factor of intention makes this campaign a clear success. The hope is that these people will move past conversation and be influenced in other situations. For example, people that had never considered the issue before may vote for equality next time they have an opportunity. Showing your support for racial equality with a written sign in the 1950s or changing your Facebook page to the HRC logo to express your support for marriage equality are very similar. Regardless of the medium, both start conversations, and that’s what it’s all about. Change begins with a conversation and the conversation has to start somewhere. If people had not taken to the streets with signs manifesting their stance on the issue of racial equality, it might never have become a social norm. The digital world has created an easier, more accessible space for this type of activism and the biggest difference is the speed of information. The current fight for marriage equality might become a social norm faster than we think, if it has not already.
More information at http://www.hrc.org/ and http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/one-year-outthe-little-red-logo-that-transformed-the-marriage-equality-nar
Candy Chang: I Wish This Was Candy Chang is an artist who utilizes public space to foster human connections within communities. She often utilizes or creates shared experiences between groups of people. “I Wish This Was” is a project she implemented in New Orleans in 2010. She created name tag stickers that stated “I Wish This Was” and distributed them throughout the community. The community members then took the stickers, placed them on empty spaces and wrote what they wished that space to be. The act of distributing the stickers and prompting people to participate through writing and posting was an effective method for gathering feedback from the community. I took an interest in this project as a form of participation that feeds into the research and problem identification process. Written responses are an effective way to gather feedback from audience members. Chang takes this form of participatory input to a different level by putting them in the context of public space. Not only does the artist receive feedback from community members, but the community is also having a visible conversation with each other. This process empowers the participants to be publicly heard even when they are no longer present.
Images from http://candychang.com/
Projects Good Fences Red Hook Helps Designing Voice
Good Fences A fence is a physical barrier between two spaces that defines boundaries for each side. This divide can be practical in terms of security, structure, indicating separation and so forth. Pratt Institute’s main campus is a fenced-in space located in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. In collaboration with a classmate, Joseph Cuillier, we decided to explore the existence of the fence. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?” is an exploration into the literal and metaphorical meaning of this physical barrier. Our goal was to create an installation that gave a clearer meaning to the fence in some way. Starting with two groups, Pratt students and Clinton Hill residents, we canvassed the area and asked people what the fence meant to them, if it made them feel safer or if it made them feel unwelcome. We started out with the notion that the different sides of the fence would have two separate but collective opinions. What we actually found was that not only did everyone have their own unique position, but they were interested in the conversation. We began to see a much larger framework for conversation that included deeper issues with cultural, spatial and generational implications that we did not anticipate. Our final solution was to keep the conversation going on a larger group level. We chose a public model from projects done by Candy Chang for written community response. Taking inspiration from a Robert Frost poem, we installed the question “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?” on the outside of the fence near one of the campus entrances. We provided a platform for writing responses. We found that people were stopping to talk to each other, write responses and even pose further questions. Some people were indifferent and others had strong opinions. At one point, before we added the question mark, a man driving by rolled his window down to scold us for installing such a critical sentence and assuming that everyone liked the fence. As soon as he realized that we were asking a question rather than stating an opinion he commended our efforts on shedding some light on the topic.
We referenced IDEO’s Human Centered Design Toolkit: http://www.ideo.com/ work/human-centered-design-toolkit/
The results created conversations about Pratt, Brooklyn, fences, space, location and philosophy among other topics. We identified a few points of tension between the school and the neighborhood and helped create a space for people to voice their opinions and give each other feedback. Participatory Form This project asked active participants to respond to interview questions directly from the designers. Though we took the middle part of the process into our own hands in creating and iterating the physical installation, the end result and follow-up required responses from active participants to the question in either written or verbal form. Much like Candy Changâ€™s work, the participants were able to leave their own thoughts behind, allowing for their input to be communicated even in their absence. In the end, the participation was advantageous. If we had not started by interviewing community members, we would have worked off of our own assumption that the communities had very differing opinions of the fence and the results would have been speculative.
Red Hook Helps: Hurricane Sandy Resilience People deal with natural disasters all the time and it’s impossible to control when, where, how and what happens. The most that we can do is educate ourselves and be prepared for the worst. With a group of three other classmates, Bárbara Abbês, Rogier Bak and Xiaoping Ma, we set out to investigate an area of the Brooklyn waterfront in post-Hurricane Sandy conditions. Our goal was to create something that would empower the community to be more resilient in the face of future disasters. Our first important decision was to focus specifically on one neighborhood, Red Hook. Red Hook is an area of Brooklyn that is prone to flooding due to its proximity to the water and its low elevation. Focusing on a smaller community, we were hoping to make a larger impact in the short amount of time that we had to work on the project. We began the process by visiting the community. With this being the first time any of us had visited Red Hook, we were
Image from the days following Super Storm Sandy from http://www.businessinsider.com/hurricane-sandy-flooding-pictures-2012-10
surprised to see that a large number of public buildings were still running on generators. Though we found a list of obvious issues like the generators, we also instantly found that the community was friendly and very tight-knit. We walked around and approached members of the community to interview with some open-ended questions. While the feedback they gave us was all verbal, we took video and wrote down responses as they told us their stories. The aim of our first interview was to assess their current situation. Our questions were left intentionally open in hopes that the participantâ€™s choice in conversation would reveal a natural hierarchy of needs. The main point that most interviewees made to us was the fact that they felt neglected, and rather than constantly seeking help from outside their community the began to take things into their own hands. While they obviously cannot fix all of their problems on their own, they began to fix the things that were within their scope of abilities. We found that a few volunteer organizations set themselves up in Red Hook after the storm specifically to help with Sandy recovery. We chose to focus on the strength of the community to help itself and, though this is not an all-around solution, we decided to empower the community members through resources from within their own community. Including our first visit, we went out into the community a total of six times over the course of the semester. Each time we talked with community participants and had more specific information to speak about as our project developed. The feedback we gathered during each visit directly informed our decisions that led to the final piece. We created a small booklet of simplified information about what to do before, during and after a storm or flood situation. Though this already exists, we centralized information that applies specifically to Red Hook for which the community members expressed a need. Along with the booklet we created a system that allows for the community members to communicate their needs. The system consists of window signs and door hangers that indicate the need for help in a public way. An empty space on the composition allows for the user to write what they need before posting. Based on participant feedback, we used the hashtag â€œredhookhelpsâ€? to create an online space for conversation. The signs and hashtag can help before a storm, immediately afterwards and even in their current situation, more than a year after the storm.
We packaged the materials together and distributed about a hundred of them to the community. We also put up fifty posters around the community that matched the posters in the packages that we handed out. Based on previous feedback from the community, we wrote on the posters some of the things that Red Hook still needs after the storm to encourage the community to understand and begin using the system on their own. Participatory Form The form of participation in this case was mostly verbal. We took a lot of video of participants telling us their stories to which we referred throughout the process as well. Though the formal decisions were made by the designers, the content of the final deliverable was developed and directly informed by community participation.
We initiated our process by interacting with members of the Red Hook community
A Printed toolkit resulted from our interaction and gathering of the communities needs
The website expands on the information in the printed toolkit
Designing Voice: Expression In the fall of 2012 I participated in a Design Advocacy class. We collaborated with New York Universityâ€™s Center for Latin American and Caribbean studies to find creative solutions that would allow local school teachers to incorporate immigration and identity as subjects into the classroom. Through bi-weekly meetings with the teachers at NYU, in-depth research concerning K-12 education and visits to the schools where the teachers work, we came to the conclusion that focusing on Latin American immigration was too specific for the problem we were facing. With the teachers, we mutually decided that we should emphasize identity as a whole to ensure that no student would feel left out. After reframing the problem in this way, we thought about how we could possibly create educational classroom materials that were universal enough to facilitate learning for all students. Our solution was to empower the students to create design and artwork for expressing themselves. We created a short video, starring ourselves, which outlines the design process in the simplest way possible. The video is meant as a learning tool that teachers present to their students and is accompanied by a teachers manual.
The teachers guidebooks
The video consists of 6 steps: 1. Identify: We chose New York City as the starting point for creating visuals. In the video, we ask ourselves what New York means to us as a way to uncover the idea of identifying a topic. The teachers are able to choose the topics that steer the activity in their class. 2. Learn: Now that the teachers have a topic chosen, the video walks the viewer through a concise definition of visual communication and the use of visual form to express a message through typography, color, imagery and composition. 3. Look Closer: We take the ideas from the Learn section and explore them through concrete visual examples. 4. Visualize: With a topic in mind and a brief lesson on how to use visual elements, we teach the students how to visualize their ideas through mind-mapping and conceptualizing. 5. Create: Now that the students have a clear message and a concept, we briefly show them different ways to physically produce their message such as collaging, drawing or painting. 6. Reflect: The last step in the video is about critique and reflection. Together with the teachers we decided that it is important for the students to have an audience, to be able to speak to each other about their work and compare their results.
For more information on NYUâ€™s Center for Latin American and Caribbean studies visit http://clacs.as.nyu.edu/page/home
The teachersâ€™ manual along with the video provide a toolkit for any teacher who may not have experience with art and communication. The guidebook provides in-depth information to guide the teacher through the creative process while the video gives students a step-by-step guide to the process of creating and communicating. With the process being open-ended, it is easy for the teachers to address immigration and identity in their curriculum for all students. Participatory Form With regular meetings, the participation from the teachers was mostly verbal. We also attended a few of their presentations about their teaching structure and ideas for improvement, which helped to inform our work. We also visited their schools and observed how the students interact with the teachers as well as each other. We conducted conversations with the students about our ideas and gained feedback directly.
Summary Designing a system for participation does not allow the designer to escape from the standard workload. A system that allows for active participants to shape the final outcome is difficult because the results of the process are not determined by the designer. When incorporating controlled participants, the designer has more control and can reshape participant contributions to fit their own needs. As with the Human Right Campaign logo, the designer decided what the image looked like. They used the campaign to create a space in which participants can make the logo their own. Though they did not have control over the use of the logo after its release, designers set up the visual boundaries that the user had to maintain in order for the logo to display the meaning they intended. The participants were not actively creating but they were helping to communicate on behalf of HRC and indicate that they, as individuals, supported this message. In much the same way, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors created a conversation that shifted perspectives about the fence surrounding Pratt Institute. Community members contributed their thoughts and opinions which led us to decisions about what we wanted to create, but they did not actively contribute to the making of the final piece. A second pool of participants were able to contribute to the final conversation in a visual manner, but only within the boundaries that we set up and presented to them. Controlling participants is likely to be less time consuming because there is no need to adhere directly to the contributions. With an end goal in mind, the designer can take what they need and leave behind the elements that do not apply.
“We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
The participants are passively included while the designer creates content through observation of facts or the use of commonly shared experiences such as media or cultural references. The final message serves as a piece of information that helps influence individual thoughts on a topic. The designer is using the position of certain participants as subject matter to communicate to a larger audience and create a sense of empathy. As the word “passive” indicates, the group does not actively participate in the process but their existence serves as a simple form of research. Using people as a main form of research generates a specific type of content. The purpose of the content and message is to inform an audience about a topic or issue surrounding a group of people. Of the three methods I have outlined, Passive Inclusion is the least time consuming for the designer to execute. Because it calls for little or no active contribution from audience members, the designer works at his/her own pace. Without needing to be embedded into the participatory group, less time and incentive is needed in most phases of the process. The designer needs to be mindful of the way they choose to visualize their message. Nietzsche points out “We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.” * Given the lack of active participation the audience may be less likely to identify with the message so the designer must make the connections.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs (Random House LLC, 2010)
Images from http://aaronkrach.com/
Aaron Krach: The Author of This Book Committed Suicide Artists and designers often shed light on an existing situation that are commonly ignored or seemingly irrelevant. A lot of times, we make things that raise questions and start conversation rather than make an answer. When the topic of a piece is centered around human beings, a space is created for reframing and recognizing people in a way that is commonly ignored. As a designer, I constantly ask myself how to use visual communication to send meaningful messages about people to others who may not understand them. How can design reframe a situation and shift people’s perspectives of each other? In July of 2012, New York artist Aaron Krach checked out every book he could find from New York City’s public libraries that was written by an author who committed suicide. He stamped each one with the phrase “The Author of This Book Committed Suicide” and then returned it to the library from which it came. Before doing so, he stacked all of the books together and photographed them to show the volume of authors who fit into this category. Now each book lives in the New York Public Library system with a surprising message about the human being who wrote it. This is left open to some interpretation, but Krach hopes that people will see the message when reading one of the books and that this will change their perspective. It humanizes the statistic of authors who commit suicide and hopefully creates dialogue and mindfulness surrounding the situation. The system has a didactic function that can be applied to other situations and groups of people.
Freedom of the Internet Walk a Mile The 27 Club
Freedom of the Internet Earthâ€™s population is estimated to be over 7 billion people living in about 190 independent countries. Each country has a distinct culture and government. Though we all live under the structure of our own governments and rules, modern technology allows us to communicate and learn about one another. All that is needed to browse the worldâ€™s events is a computer with internet connection. Along with using the internet as a source of information, we can also use it as a space to disseminate information with automatic access to an audience. It is important to note that a large portion of the world does not have internet access but even within the countries that do, some are censored to such an extent that they cannot use the internet for gathering information or self-expression. The map below displays four levels of internet censorship throughout the world. While there are slight variations within each category, the world is easily broken down into four separate levels of censorship. This map is an effective way to communicate censorship in a geographic system, but how many people are in each category? How is the population of the world affected by these different levels of censorship? In collaboration with another designer at Pratt, John Hallman, we set out to visualize censorship in a new way. Rather than the traditional geographic view of the world, we wanted to create a visualization of global internet censorship through the
population in each of the four categories. We broke down the countries on the map into categories and wrote out the estimated population of each to use as our corpus of data. By adding up the countries in each category, we had four different numbers that showed the relative population of each. We decided that a digital environment would be the most appropriate avenue for visualizing the data we created. Rather than just placing the information into four levels and visualizing it as we found it, we created a user experience that gives the idea of what it feels like to be a member of each category. Sticking with the four original colorsâ€”blue, yellow, red and blackâ€”we created an interactive page and four tabs. Each tab is relative in size to the population in each category. This also allows the viewer to see one category at a time. Each page has two layers. The top layer is a solid color indicating the level of censorship and the bottom layer contains text relating to freedom of the internet from Amnesty International. Each layer has a section with an open viewing panel that allows for the user to read the text underneath. In the more censored categories, the viewing panel is constricted in size making it more difficult to read the text. The user can move the layer of text at will to view the information. Along with restricting the information with a decreasing viewing panel, selected words from the text are censored with black bars, making it impossible to read everything. Participants were not actively involved in the creation of the piece, though I would argue that every person in the world was a part of the process. The final piece is relatable to anyone and allows individuals to measure conditions in their life against the lives of others. Freedom of the Internet is successful in visualizing global censorship. Despite the fact that a large portion of the world population does not have internet access, this method for humanizing data hopefully creates an experience for people to gain empathy for those who do not have the freedom to express themselves freely. Participatory Form The participants were not active, though everyone in the world was included in the process. The main idea is to humanize complicated data in a way that can allow people to understand their position within the system.
LEAST Albania Angola Bahamas Belize Benin Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Central African Republic Chad Chile Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Costa Rica Côte d’Ivoire Croatia Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Gabon Gambia Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Honduras Iceland Jamaica Kenya Kosovo Liberia Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mexico Moldova Mongolia Montenegro Mozambique Namibia Nicaragua Niger Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Philippines
Each country in its respecitve category
Rwanda San Marino São Tomé and Príncipe Serbia Sierra Leone Somalia Suriname Swaziland Tanzania Togo Trinidad and Tobago Uruguay Vanuatu Venezuela Zambia MEDIUM Afghanistan Algeria Argentina Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Bangladesh Belgium Brazil Bulgaria Canada Colombia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Timor Estonia Ethiopia Finland France Georgia Germany Ghana Greece Hungary India Indonesia Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Libya Liechtenstein
Lithuania Monaco Morocco Nepal The Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Norway Oman Pakistan Palestinian State Peru Poland Portugal Romania Senegal Singapore Slovakia Slovenia South Africa South Sudan Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Uganda Ukraine United Kingdom United States of America Yemen Zimbabwe HEAVY Russia Andorra Australia Belarus Eritrea South Korea Malaysia Myanmar (Burma) Qatar Sri Lanka Thailand Turkey MOST China Cuba Brunei Egypt Iran North Korea Saudi Arabia Syria Tunisia Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Vietnam
Freedom of the Internet interface
Walk a Mile We are born into the world under conditions over which we have no control. The early parts of our life stories are controlled by conditions that our parents and immediate environment set up for us. As we grow older and gain more control of the world around us, remnants of our previous life stages follow us and remain as part of our story. Even though we gain more control over our life story and freely make decisions, life always has constraints. While some people have more constraints than others, every personsâ€™ present-day story is influenced by their past. Life does not allow us to move backwards, start over or delete pieces of our story. We can only move forward. Walk a Mile is another project I worked on in collaboration with John Hallman. Our goal was to create an interactive story-creating experience in which the viewer is prompted to make decisions. Though we hoped to allow the user the freedom to decide which direction to take the story, each path was to be predetermined by us. We wanted the user to make decisions and follow a path but only within the constraints that we allow. Along with a written story, we decided that each choice would be accompanied by other elements that led to a second and third final output. One form was set up to be a layered poster and the other a sound. On the back end of the interface, each choice determined a specific layer of the poster and a layer of the sound piece. We planned for each element to stand on its own as a narrative, as well as fit together to show a clearer image of the narrative. â€ƒ We created seven stages of questions that places the user in the life of someone else, in this case a twelve year old child. The stories all begin in the same place and branch out as decisions are made. Each phase has at least two possible answers, giving the user the freedom to write the story but only within the predetermined paths we set up. As the viewer clicks through their decisions the written story builds up and the last prompt allows for open input of up to 150 characters. Together with the written story the layers of the poster and sound are also being built up. The poster decisions include vertical or horizontal orientation, background texture, color overlay, typeface and location of open word input, and a black visual element.
The final click leads to an digital gallery page where the visual piece can be seen on-screen along with the visuals from other usersâ€™ stories. Inside the final gallery is a second experience in which the viewer is able to compare their results with that of other people. Similar elements can be viewed from one poster which enables the viewer to understand the final outputs as a whole better than a person who has not gone through the story-building experience. Along with the digital gallery, each posters can be printed out and hung on a wall to be displayed all together. Participatory Form The participants were not active in this case, rather the participants were present in our process of humanizing data. The content itself, being about human beings, indicates them as a participant group. As the designers we took on a completely active role in the process of communicating our message while the participants exist mainly in the idea. The end result is to allow people to find a better understanding of each other and their internet freedom.
Walk a Mile interface
Walk a Mile interface
Final poster example
The 27 Club An obituary is something written not only to announce a death but to commemorate a human life. It emphasizes important aspects of someoneâ€™s former existence and though most people do not write their own obituary, the writer is usually someone close. I have never written an obituary but I do collect them. My mother has always kept the obituaries of people we know as a memory to revisit. I like to think that, through obituaries, people who were important in my life are being recognized and remembered, if even for an instant. This small bit of honor and remembrance brings about a moment of visibility. But what about people who die famous? They are already widely visible. Does an obituary honor them in the same way as everyone else? They have pieces written about them all the time, so what makes their death announcement as meaningful as any other? The 27 Club is a project in which I set out to glorify a collection of obituaries about famous people by using information directly from The New York Times. In order to keep the collection cohesive I chose a very specific method for curation. Each person in this collection is a famous musician who died at the age of 27, mostly from drug-related deaths. The five people I chose are Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. The New York Times printed an article about each musician that served as their obituary. Unlike standard obituaries, these were extensive and globally read. Given that they started out as glorified obituaries, I wanted to glorify them even further to point out the strange facts of their age and drug use that tie them together. Using the actual obituary photo and copy, I began to experiment with layout and image manipulation. I found that enlarging the photos made their faces hard to see up close and easier to make out from afar. This reflects the way that most of us knew them while they were alive, only from a distance. I then came to the conclusion that I wanted the form to resemble a folded newspaper to create a familiar interaction. At that point I had created five posters that fold down to abstract their faces. I chose to place the actual copy text from each musicianâ€™s death announcement on the back of the posters. I set the type in an oversized Cheltenham, the typeface of the New York Times,
and emphasized that each was said to have been 27 years old. The five pieces fold into each other in the way a newspaper folds into sections. Each one can be unfolded and hung on the wall as a tribute to the life of the famous rock star. Participatory Form The participants in this case are no longer alive. I used an experience shared by the group to compare their lives. I also hoped that their common age allows people to relate to them. We are all familiar with the metrics of age and everyone has a birthday. We often take advantage of the death of a famous person and revealing a common link, like the young age of 27, can lead to further discussion about related issues. This type of passive participation could be used to build empathy.
Summary While Active and Controlled Inclusion set up a designed process to frame any problem, Passive Inclusion is about the subject matter. The importance and scope of issues will change with the values of each individual designer. When passively including individuals and groups into the design process, they must have relevance to the issue being explored. In this case we are communicating about people as an objective topic rather than with or for them. In most places in the world, visual communication is a part of our daily lives in some form. Regardless of the message, human beings are on both the sending and receiving end of designed messages. As designers, we specialize in making visual pieces of communication easy to understand. Designing about people helps us to better understand each other and, whether drawing empathy or not, allows individuals to understand their position within the context of the issue. The designer has to be invested morally in the issue at hand. Once embedded in the issue, seeing no separation between personal agenda and the design process, the designer can create work that speaks out on behalf of a group of people. For passive participation to successfully communicate a message, the designer has to share a common cause with the audience to some degree.
Final Case Study
Final Case Study
Somewhere In the City The United States of America consists of a large number of different areas and distinct cultures. Those who have experienced the West Coast and the East Coast could certify that they have two completely different atmospheres and attitudes. Even for someone who has not visited either, the conventional idea of their most recognized cities, Los Angeles and New York City, is widely depicted through iconography and historical imagery. New York City is world-famous and in most cases, people mostly reference icons such as Times Square or the Statue of Liberty. The same goes for Los Angeles and the famous Hollywood sign. Even the great city of Chicago, located in the midwestern region of the country, is depicted largely through representations of the city rather than the city itself, for example its deep dish pizza or Lake Michigan. Even though all of these things exist within each city, the residents do not necessarily interact with them in their daily lives. As someone who lives in New York, I have been asked â€œso, do you hang out in Times Square?â€? on more than one occasion. This left me asking myself, how can I use design to juxtapose the commonly identified perceptions of a city with the viewpoint of those who actually inhabit the city? After forming a methodology, I ventured to test the three different methods of inclusion with this single topic. I chose this topic because I have a great personal interest in American culture. As someone who has lived in both Chicago and New York City, and having close connections to Los Angeles, I took an interest in comparing the three. I set out to create messages that express realities of each city. Due to the natural differences in my three methodologies, this provides a spectrum of divergent messages, from the stereotypical viewpoint of each city to the perspectives of single inhabitants. My main objective was to demonstrate the shifts in content, meaning and process for content generation between the three levels of inclusion. My intention as far as final medium was to use easily recognized and accessible forms to test the pragmatics of the inclusive process.
Active Inclusion To begin the process I asked three participants from each city to send me photos of their daily life for one week. I chose three from each city to ensure that I provide information from more than just one view-point. Because I wanted the content and message to grow out of the process, I did not place tight restrictions on them. Each person texted me up to three photos a day, depending on their own preferences. Occasionally throughout the process a participant would include a description or short narrative about a photo. I found that their descriptions created more of an impact when the photo was less distinguishable or not immediately recognized as a photograph from their respective city. Based on the ideas that grew out of the process, I tightened the constraints. I asked each person for a tagline or narrative statement about their city from their own perspective. I began making formal decisions based on my final goal to create recognizable and accessible pieces of media. I chose to organize the participantsâ€™ content into simple postcards, a medium that can be easily mass produced. I drew inspiration from Andy Warhol, who was a mass-producer of visual pieces relating to topics from mundane objects to celebrities like Marilyn Monroe. Despite the fact that Warhol would never admit to the meaning behind his own work, it was widely interpreted as a statement about how we consume media and how easily anything can be replicated. I was using a familiar medium with subjectively generated content that emphasizes the viewpoint of the individuals involved. After creating a preliminary series of postcards I received feedback from my pool of participants. They expressed that they would prefer more than one photo to be viewed in the final piece. It was brought to my attention that displaying a single image may lead to misrepresentations of their point of view, though itâ€™s impossible to express their lives in full. I then began condensing the images into three separate printed pieces, each one representing a different city. Combining images from the group of participants began to create a visual narrative. With the three design elements I collected from the participants, photographs which I desaturated for consistency, color schemes and taglines, I created a small booklet of images that introduced each person by name. The booklets serve as the Active Inclusion component of the project.
Final Case Study
Controlled Inclusion The controlled inclusion component was simplest within the whole of the project. I developed the color scheme for each city based on the photos I was given. The color scheme was applied to a set of icons that I developed on my own inspired by the participants’ taglines. The images were inspired by the subjective input of others, but I was in control of the decisions. The icons were used to match each person to their color and tagline within the booklet. Passive Inclusion As the least inclusive process, this was intended to visually represent information about each city that does not require interaction with the residents to obtain. I collected images of each city based on widely accessible sources. Most of the images were easily found on the internet through keywords and tour guides. After collecting and desaturating the images for consistency, I organized them into a booklet similar to the booklet with the participant images. Each city has three different nicknames, for example Los Angeles is “The City of Angels”. I used the nicknames to reflect the taglines submitted by the participants. The booklets are printed on brightly colored paper, inspired by the color scheme from the icons, to create a less natural feeling. The final form consists of three booklets, one for each city. Each one has an outer layer and an inner layer. The outer booklet stereotypical cover showing the city’s skyline along with the city’s most common nickname. After flipping through half of the book, the viewer will reach and access information from the actual inhabitants of the city. Though the purpose of this project is to test the different methodologies against each other, the end result can be deconstructed to examine each method. It seems to me that it would be more common to begin research and exploration into a topic such as a city or geographical location from an objective viewpoint. With this end result, we can see a subjective approach to the exploration as well. This leaves me with some insight as to how my approach to design through subjectivity could be widely applicable to design practice.
For more on Andy Warhol: http://www.warholfoundation. org/legacy/biography.html
Active Inclusion Contributor > Designer
“The traffic is much more enjoyable in a convertible”
“If you’re not in ‘ The Industry’ the you’re more interesting than someone who is”
“It’s okay to be jealous”
Final Case Study
“The weather doesn’t stop us from living here” “God’s City”
“Great food, great neighbors, great atmosphere”
“Many will enter, but IT’S OKAY TO few will BE JEALOUS succeed...” “My schizophrenic love-hate relationship”
“Where no one gives a shit”
Controlled Inclusion Contributor = Designer
“Great food, great neighbors, great atmosphere” “The weather doesn’t stop us from living here” “God’s City”
“Where no one gives a shit” “Many will enter, but few will succeed...” “My schizophrenic love-hate relationship”
Final Case Study
“The traffic is much more enjoyable in a convertible” “If you’re not in ‘TheIndustry’ Industry’ ‘The then you’re more interesting than someone who is” “It’s okay to be jealous”
Passive Inclusion Contributor < Designer
THE CITY OF ANGELS
Final Case Study
THE WINDY CITY
THE BIG APPLE
Any form of communication between people begins and ends with subjective thought and interpretation. We can only understand each other through accurately sending and interpreting messages. As Nietzsche points out, everyone is different and no two people share the same life conditions, so communication and shared situations are extremely important. Organizing and translating information has always been at the core of a designerâ€™s role but the world around us is dynamic and we should be able to adjust to each individual issue. Every issue involves a different set of people. While exploring the needs of a specific issue, audience members can be a very valuable resources. As the field of design changes rapidly, itâ€™s increasingly challenging to create meaningful work that people value and can relate to. As technology advances and people with access are able to shape their daily lives, their expectations of design change and the importance of our discipline moves along with it. Through my experimentation with process-oriented participation, I found that groups can collectively create within systems I set up for them. Whether the participants are physically creating, offering input or simply existing as subject matter, I was able to organize systems for individual contributions. The possibilities for concrete contributions are endless and in my explorations they ranged from verbal input and written response to submitting photographs, drawings and other types of imagery. As long as a system is in place, contributions can be a driving force for content generation and other phases of the design process. I cannot decide for the collective practice of graphic design where these systems would plug in and prove to be most useful, but they do form interesting results. Throughout the process of forming and experimenting with my methodology, my perception of the importance of this process and its need for practical application has shifted. My original intention was to explore a process that keeps up with the constantly-changing field of graphic design and I still believe that a subjective approach fulfills that goal. I also had hopes of revealing ways in which designers can communicate on behalf of anyone. Given that subjectivity is never universally understood or interpreted, the objective level of the design work I choose to focus on will always distill the subjective input that drives it. Also measuring
the results of a subjectively-driven piece of design proves to be impossible. Quantitative measurements depend on the issue and the content, but qualitatively measuring subjective output is difficult. Subjectivity cannot really be measured and because I take an individualized approach, any concrete response or measurement would be too much of a generalization. Iâ€™ve outlined three levels of inclusion and the most organic way to create an objective message is to begin with objective information, just as I have done with the Passive Inclusion category. While discovering a balance between subjective input and objective output, I have found benefits to using Active and Controlled Inclusion. Among those are using these methods as alternate approaches to proving the importance of design to non-designers, to help advance the design discipline and to generate unique and meaningful content. Within the processes I created, one thing became obvious: subjectivity can only be expressed on a small scale. No such thing as a universal viewpoint exists. My own viewpoint of my intentions have shifted. As it turns out, I am not necessarily solving problems in a more efficient way but rather making people feel more important and instilling in them an understanding of the importance of the design process. When asking participants to contribute to the process, a certain level of information has to be revealed to them. I found that giving them too little direction created confusion and giving them too much direction caused stress and overthinking. Regardless of the issue, the participants in each case took away something very important; a new understanding and value for the field of graphic design. A small percentage of the world understands graphic design and the motivations behind it and while they may not understand design as a process, they certainly understand how their own contributions fit in. Design practice, though it has many sub-categories, could benefit from using an inclusive process. Perhaps the most relevant to how a designer-client relationship functions is Passive Inclusion. But I feel that designers can utilize more active contributions as a means of content generation, even if only to create more unique results. As it stands, design requires in-depth research and iterations. Why not include subjective contributions in the process?
This road of exploration began with the need to merge design and social issues. I have proven that this methodology is effective in generating appropriate content. Graphic designers are in a position of control and we can use our control to lead groups in a particular direction rather than dictate it for them. I believe that this process lays a foundation in which design and people interact and can be effective when applied appropriately to any topic. Graphic designers are equipped with a powerful tool for communication and just like all other human beings, no two are the same. Structuring this process has revealed my innate values as a person and as a designer and though I cannot ask other designers to do the same, I hope to reference the idea of inclusion throughout my future design ventures.
Participant Comments “I’ve lived in Brooklyn my whole life and this is the first time anyone has asked me to comment on the issue of fences. It seems that in Brooklyn, everything is fenced into something. I’m glad I was able to contribute to the conversation.” — Steve from Clinton Park Cafe Good Fences
“Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion. I would be interested to know if my messages gets others to think about this physical divide.” — Anonymous Contributor Good Fences
“I drew this dog in reaction to, I think the circle? Living in NYC I see all these little blocky pugs and bulldogs waddling down the sidewalks, so circles and squares for some reason make me think of little chubby dogs. I love the video! It’s so funny seeing the dog that I drew go through all these different creative reiterations. It’s oddly satisfying.” — Alicia Burnett Circle Square Triangle
“Seeing my own interpretation of the given triangular form (a cocktail umbrella) amongst the other interpretations was very exciting for me. I think the designer succeeded in showing the endless possibilities of interpretation. The addition of the video and sound gave a very playful mood to the project, plus seeing the juxtapositions of everyone’s interpretation added another layer of complexity. The choice of medium shows that the designer has a great handle on concept influencing form.” — John Lunn Circle Square Triangle
“I think collaborative drawing is a great way to see things under a different light- it gave me the rare chance to take something with a known value and multiply it by some Unknown x value.” — Johnny Sanford Circle Square Triangle
“The booklets and video are amazing and I’m excited to use them in the classroom and share them with my colleagues. It helps a lot to see my ideas take a physical form.” — Anonymous Schoolteacher Designing Voice
“Wow, I never realized how much of the world is more censored than The United States. It’s also striking that we’re in the second least censored category, I figured we would be one of the least censored countries in the world.” — Anonymous Viewer Freedom of the Internet
“This is really interesting. The constricted structure really made me think about how constrained our lives naturally are.” — Anonymous Viewer Walk a Mile
Armstrong, Helen, and Zvezdana Stojmirovic. Participate: Designing with User-Generated Content. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011. Armstrong explores a bottom-up approach to design while exploring the generation of content through users and ametuer creators. Bennett, Audrey, and Eglash, Ron, and Krishnamoorthy, Mukkai and, Rarieya, Marie. “Audience as Co-designer: Participatory Design of HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention Posters in Kenya” in Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design, Edited by Audrey Bennett. Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. This essay unfolds an experimental design process in which the target audience members became a part of the making process through concrete drawings and creating poster slogans for AIDS awareness in Kenya. Berger, Warren. Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life, and Maybe Even the World. New York: Penguin Press, 2009. An introduction to the use of graphic design as a tool for transforming social issues, including David Kelley and Tim Brown of IDEO. Bierut, Michael. “Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport,” Design Observer, January 14, 2013. http://observatory.designobserver.com/feature/graphic-design-criticism-as-a-spectator-sport/37607/. A critical essay that observes a shift in user feedback from the late 1960s to present day, pointing out how design criticism can come from anyone.
Burns, Colin and Cottam, Hilary, and Vanstone, Chris and Winhall Jennie . Red Paper 02: Transformation Design. Accessed March 6, 2014. http://www.designcouncil.info/mt/ RED/transformationdesign/TransformationDesignFinalDraft. pdf A paper challenging accepted thinking methods while expanding on the application of innovative thinking and practice on social issues. Buchanan, Richard. “Human Dignity and Human Rights Thoughts on the Principles of Human-Centered Design” in Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design, Edited by Audrey Bennett. Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. An essay emphasizing the practical need for human-centered design thinking and describing how design contributes to social evolution. Chang, Candy. 2012 July. “Before I Die I Want To...http:// www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to In this TED talk Chang speaks about her passion for public and shared spaces and her project “Before I Die…” which created a space for public conversation. Chen, Andy. “The Value of Empathy.” Design Observer, October 13, 2009. http://changeobserver.designobserver.com/ feature/the-value-of-empathy/11347/. An overview of the value of empathy to designers and how design as a practice helps find solutions for social issues. Davies, Tony. Humanism (The New Critical Idiom). 2 edition. Routledge, 2008. An introduction to and simplification of the many concepts of humanism, emphasizing the importance of the individual person. Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. 1 edition. Random House, 2012. A new understanding of human habits, why they exist and how they can be changed to transform individuals and communities in beneficial ways.
Einstein, Albert. Essays in Humanism. New York: Open Road Integrated Media, 2011. A collection of essays written between 1931 - 1950 addressing the philosophical issue of humanism in a rapidly changing world. Fine, Allison H. Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006. A empowering framework for breaking social cycles of low expectations to initiate and sustain social change. Guignon, Charles B. The Existentialists: Critical Essays on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004. A compilation of essays written by the four most influential existentialist philosophers: Kierkegaard. Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre. Heidegger, Martin, John Macquarrie, and Edward Robinson. Being and Time. New York: Harper Perennial/Modern Thought, 2008. One of Martin Heidegger’s most influential books in which he writes about his philosophical issues with human existence. Helguera, Pablo. Education for Socially Engaged Art. Jorge Pinto Books Inc., 2011. Education and insight into the integration of art and socially engaged practices. “Human Centered Design Toolkit,” n.d. http://www.ideo. com/images/uploads/hcd_toolkit/IDEO_HCD_ToolKit.pdf. IDEO’s toolkit that guides the user through a step by step method of developing human centered design. Hustwit, Gary. Helvetica, 2007. A film that explore graphic design and visual culture through the global and expansive use of the typeface Helvetica.
Lupton, Ellen and Miller, Abbott J. “Triangle Circle Square: A Psychological Test” in Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design, Edited by Audrey Bennett. Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. A breif overview of a 1923 psychological test done by Wassily Kandinsky involving filling in a triangle, circle and square with the three primary colors. Niedderer, Kristina. “The Performative Object: Enacting the Humane Dimension within Design,” n.d. http://www. ub.edu/5ead/PDF/6/Niedderer.pdf. An explanation of the Performative Object which creates a method for humane and mindful interaction in social situations. Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. Translated by Walter Kaufmann Random House LLC, 2010. A collection of Nietzsche’s writings and ideas that are central to his philosophical themes in existentialism. — Thus Spake Zarathustra. Nonsuch Publishing, 2006. A novel expanding on Nietzsche’s idea of the Will to Power that began in a section of “The Gay Science” and continued throughout his life. McCarty, Maureen “One Year Out: The Little Red Logo That Transformed the Marriage Equality Narrative.” Human Rights Campaign. Accessed March 25, 2014. http://www. hrc.org/blog/entry/one-year-out-the-little-red-logo-thattransformed-the-marriage-equality-nar. A Human Rights Campaign article outlining the residual impact of their viral social media campaign for marriage equality that took place one year prior.
Sanders, Liz. “A Social Vision for Value Co-Creation in Design, Liz Sanders & George Simons,” n.d. http://www. maketools.com/articles-papers/Social_Vision_for_Value_CoCreation_in_Design.pdf. A paper that outlines and defines co-creation as collective making and the creation of joint experiences. Sanders, Liz, and Stappers, Pieter Jan. “Co-Creation and the New Landscapes of Design,” n.d. http://www.maketools. com/articles-papers/CoCreation_Sanders_Stappers_08_preprint.pdf. Tracing the development of design research from a user-centered approach to the idea of co-design with an emphasis on the designers role in the process Sartre, Jean Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotion (A Philosophical Library Book). Reissue edition. Citadel, 2000. Sartre’s easily digestible approach to human existence that gives man meaning and dignity while contradicting the generalization that existentialist do not view life to be meaningful. Shea, Andrew. Designing For Social Change: Strategies for Community-Based Graphic Design (Design Briefs). Princeton Architectural Press, 2012. A collection of case studies that help shape and define the term “social change” within the discipline of graphic design and empower designers to use their knowledge as a tool for social good.
Designed by Amanda Sepanski ÂŠ 2014 Typeset in Avenir Printed in New York, NY
As human beings, our lives are individually shaped by the social conditions surrounding us and communication is fundamental in establishing...
Published on Jun 18, 2014
As human beings, our lives are individually shaped by the social conditions surrounding us and communication is fundamental in establishing...