Designed Critical Report
C N C M ER IA A D OCI L ESI N COL A ORAT AN ILL T I S E PL RATIO NEA TH HE UTURE F RA H C D SI N
During this past year we have lived through a global pandemic due to the corona virus. This saw us segregated, socially isolated and dealt time to consider our priorities in life. When everything else was stripped away we were left with self-reflection. As a designer I was forced to look at the social price of what I was creating. I realised that my conscience as a designer was contorted and that my priorities for creation had to change. With this, I began to experiment with my skill set of commercial design with a new community based focus. There unearthed a realisation that social and commercial design do not need to be oppugnant but rather comrades. In definition; social design is the use of graphic design in the fight for good in society. This can be design that aids community centred issues, charitable causes, environmental concerns, protest or in generalised terms, its primary goal is to help people (Manzini, 2015, pp.65). On the other end of the spectrum is commercial design, a graphic force that is primarily used in the act of selling or to generate sales and profit whereby, advertising commodities or services (Rand, P and Bierut, M, 2014). Within this critical report I will explore the possible collaboration between these two constructs and understand whether this could paint the future for a more humane graphic language. As a graphic designer I am torn between the glamour of commercial design and the gritty good of social design. In his book Design For the Real World, Viktor Papanek (1971, pp.4) states:
advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don`t need, with money they don`t have, in order to impress others who don`t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today.
I will explore the possibility of a new definition of graphic design that can help make the world a better place through blending the best attributes of its two opposing counterparts (social and commercial design). I think that the words of Laslo Maholy-Nagy (Rawsthorn, 2020, p.7) best describe this:
LTI ATEL A P OBL MS F DESIGN MER E I TO ONE GREA PROB EM DE IGN F R LI E ~ Laslo Maholy-Nagy
Within history many movements have set out with the goal of improving society. One of which was The Arts and Crafts movement with its celebration of craftsmanship over cookiecutter mass-manufacturing and questioning of the industrial revolution and what it would do to the skill of craftsmen. William Morris, once said ‘we do not reject the machine, we welcome it. But we would desire to see it mastered’ (Ashbee, 1894). This directly relates to my practice in my attempt of blending social and commercial design together to steer the practice of advertising and branding away from commerce and navigated towards community centred issues. I along with Morris, do not frown upon commercial design itself, but the way in which it has been manipulated into a catalyst for profit and mass consumption. This is similar to the Bauhaus manifesto of attempting to blend art, craft and new technology to try to recognise the future. Within my practice, my goal is to understand what the future of communication design could look like post-pandemic. I also see my
practice represented amongst the modernists who believed they could design a better society, as-well as, the post-modernists who wanted to challenge audiences and force them to ask questions. I would say my approach is more gentle and encouraging in trying to shift my audiences perceptions through the use of bold colour, a sense of fun and charisma. This exploration of tension between the shiny glamour of advertising and the gritty good of social design is something that has provoked opinions throughout design history. The First things First Manifesto was written by Ken Garland and published in 1964. The manifesto was signed by Garland along with 20 other designers, photographers and students. It asked for the return of a humanist aspect to design instead of one used mainly for ‘the high pitched scream of consumer selling’ (Garland, 1964) that Garland states was generating nothing more than ‘sheer noise’. The written manifesto was published in many magazines, newspapers and publications globally and created food for thought for many designers. It is clear that this manifesto was a reaction to the turbulence of the 1960’s,
when arguably design could have been put to better use. Garland writes: ‘we hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesman and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes’ (Garland, 1964). I think Garland makes an apt point here and many others within the manifesto, however, I believe that the tone of the piece could have been altered to communicate his message better. In many ways Garland frowns upon designers who work in the branding and advertising sector, stating that they have ‘flogged their skill and imagination to sell things’. He seems to negate the fact that those who needed to pay bills and earn a comfortable living wage weren’t met with the broad kaleidoscope of jobs that graphic designers have access to today. His messaging to me feels derogatory to those who have chosen this career path. The manifesto was later updated and revised in 2000 and published in Adbusters magazine (Garland, 2000). This manifesto was very similar in its messaging to its original counterpart, but the tone seemed even stronger and importunate. Garland writes:
DESIGNERS who DEVOTE their efforts primarily to ADVERTISING, MARKETING AND BRAND DEVELOPMENT are SUPPORTING, and implicitly ENDORSING, a mental environment SO SATURATED with COMMERCIAL MESSAGES that it is CHANGING the very way citizen-consumers SPEAK, THINK, FEEL, RESPOND AND INTERACT. To some extent we are all helping draft a REDUCTIVE and immeasurably HARMFUL code of PUBLIC DISCOURSE. ~ Ken Garland
As stated before, I do understand and agree with some of the arguments Garland makes within the revised and original manifesto. However, I disagree with the public shaming and almost aspersive tone he uses within the written pieces. Yes, design holds incredible communicative power within society and it would be great if it could be more frequently used for the greater good of communities. But, I do think that Garland is blind sighted when he reprehends designers who devote their career to commercial design, when it is the need to advertise commercial goods where graphic design was born. I think that instead of scolding designers and providing them with guilt, he could have been more encouraging of the good that graphic design can do, instead of shaming it for blossoming into what it was grown to be.
The manifesto was also revisited in 2014, on its 50th anniversary and more recently in 2020. The newest version moves a step further in its inclusion of discrimination issues, equality demands and a strong notion towards the impending climate crisis. The piece asks for design to be altered to help solve or at least tackle these issues in a new form of design that moves away from consumerism and towards community. My evaluation is that the manifesto itself hasn’t been wholly successful in moving graphic design award from what Garland defines as ‘trivial purposes’. In actuality, the current global corona virus pandemic has been more influential. Creating a catalyst for brands to shape up to societies needs and consumers to be more mindful where they spend their money. This manifesto has existed for nearly 60 years now, which provokes the question what real change has been made? Michael Beirut (2007, pp. 54-60), a partner at Pentagram an industry leading commercial design studio, gave his opinion of the impact of the multiple revisions of the manifesto in his book Seventy-Nine Short essays on Design.
In short, with some exceptions (including a glaring one, the prolific and populist Milton Glaser, who sticks out here like a sore thumb) the First Things First thirty-three have specialised in extraordinarily beautiful things for the cultural elite. They’ve resisted manipulating the proles who trudge the aisles of your local 7-Eleven for the simple reason that they haven’t been invited to. A cynic, then, might dismiss the impact of the manifesto as no more than that of W T ESSIN A G OU O E NU HS T KE A O O H STIT ~ Michael Beirut
I have to agree with Bierut’s views. The manifesto is deemed as a pillar in graphic design’s history, however, to the naked eye hasn’t made a lasting impact to the way we communicate to audiences. In my view, the manifesto does nothing more than create a discrimination against commercial work and provoke a classist view on philanthropist graphic design. I’m proposing that the two can blend their best attributes to create a new visual language that doesn’t deem either one obsolete. I would say the pandemic has had more of a dominating impact to the way designers think. Now we are approaching what feels like the end of the pandemic, we will start to see a shift in the field of graphic design. I think that brands will have to alter their communication to reach audiences, who have spent a year self-reflecting, and will start to expect more as consumers.
Exemplary Brands creating a community based commercial design
Certainly there are some positive examples of brands trying to be more community focused and give back. Dove is one of those. Over the years the brand has done many campaigns to help bring attention to body image, self-esteem, confidence issues and championing female empowerment and feminism. Namely; My Beauty My Say and Beauty Bias projects, as well as, their most recent campaign; The Selfie Talk. Which, focuses on reversing the damaging effects social media retouching can have on young women and girls. In addition to, a Social Media Confidence kit for young people, parents and teachers to help aid discourse on the taboo. Brewdog is another exemplary brand that seems to use their commercial reach for community good. One of their recent campaigns saw them release a new beer called ‘street dog’. Where the majority of the can was used to house profiles of dogs that needed adopting. One hundred percent of the profits where donated to two charities; Dogs on the Street and All Dogs Matter. These campaigns are certainly a great step in the direction towards creating a more humane graphic language that benefits its audience instead of just encouraging a monetary transaction.
Fig 1: Street Dog Beer, Brewdog (Brewdog, 2021)
Fig 2: The Selfie Talk, Dove (Creative Review, 2021)
Sister Corita Kent a pioneer in the collaboration of social and commercial design
D IN A D A ING RE A TS O H PE A D S THA HOP GRO S WE STO FEELING VER HEL E B TH TR UBLES F TH W RLD E EME BER TH T WE A IN IVID ALS A D GR UPS C N DO S METING A OUT T OSE TROBL S ~ Sister Corita Kent (House of Illustration, 2019)
Fig 3: The juiciest Tomato of All, Sister Corita Kent, 1964 (The Guardian, 2021)
The words of Sister Corita Kent who was an American Catholic nun, artist, educator and designer who was most influential in the 1960s. Sister Corita Kent used to sit and observe supermarkets and bring back boxes and packaging to use as inspiration for her work. She effortlessly blended signage and commercial design materials with religious or social ideas such as her contentious piece The juiciest Tomato of All . Kent brought great joy to her work even when the implicit meanings were dark or somber. Seamlessly using her skill to create social justice, making prints to help protest against race inequality, poverty and the brutalities of the Vietnam war. This perhaps demonstrates that Kent was one of the first designers to utilise this new crafted visual language of commercial and social design.
Fig 4: For Emergency Use Soft Shoulder, Sister Corita Kent, 1966 (San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art, 2021)
Contemporary designers blending social and commercial design
Fig 5: Paula Scher for The Mental Health Coalition (Pentagram, 2021)
Fig 6: Paula Scher for The Mental Health Coalition (Pentagram, 2021)
Paula Scher, a partner at Pentagram, tries to blend her commercial approach with community led issues. Scher recently finished a branding campaign for the charity; Mental Health Coalition, creating a bold, energetic identity to get people talking. Other than Scher’s iconic typographic style the identity is “interwoven with pops of colour and fun to lighten the mood and increase engagement” (The Mental Health Coalition, 2021) which helps the audience more eagerly approach, digest and destigmatize mental health. In particular, Paula’s works for the public theatre in New York City are of great interest to me. Her use of mixed weight typography and bold, energy powers from the artworks. Paula has been said to take inspiration from the cluttered street signage of New York, I think that this is where the energy and vivacity originate from along with her own individual character. It’s encouraging to see that one of Pentagrams biggest stakeholders (Scher) has an interest and dedication to shifting the narrative of graphic design away from the sole definition of commerce. Instead, she is using it as a tool to help communities and causes aswell as a tool for commercial gain. This shows that social and commercial design can co-exist and do not to be mutually exclusive.
Fig 7: Studio Nari for Selfridges & Co (Studio Nari, 2021)
Fig 8: Coca Cola & George the Poet - Open Like Never Before by Seventy-two and Sunny (Coca Cola, 2021)
Similarly, Studio Nari is another example of a studio that is attempting to guide their way through a pandemic with a community-centred graphic language. Nari created a sticker campaign for Selfridges to create the sense of togetherness when the corona virus pandemic first emerged. The campaign drew people, otherwise segregated, together, with stickers that encouraged social media communication, when face-to-face was forbidden. The campaign was colourful, bold and fun with Bianchini’s use of crafted typeface and cartoonist illustrations that were successful in creating a glimmer of uplift in a dark period. This for me is a great example of a studio (Nari) and big company (Selfridges Co) working together to create work that is focused on community needs rather than profit. The work was commercial in its style and reach but community centred in its approach, demonstrating that the two can synthesise to create a new form of communication.
possible. The beverage brand took a seven month break from commercial advertising last year and used the money to help communities and covid-19 relief efforts instead. They generated $100 million globally for charities. As Rogers states (2020) ’The brand donated advertising space, including in high-profile spots such as the Piccadilly Lights, to charity partners Crisis and FareShare to promote their fundraising messages.’ To add to this Coca Cola launched a campaign with the help of Amsterdam based studio, 72 and Sunny called: ‘Open like never before’ (Coca-Cola Great Britain & Ireland, 2020) featuring a manifesto poem written by George “The Poet” Mpanga. The poem emphasises the message that people should be open minded ‘in a world forever changed due to the global pandemic’ (Coca-Cola GB, 2020). The campaign ran alongside a hospitality venue support programme that provided business owners with tools to create their own adverts their ‘Ad generator platform’. As well as, media budget and advertising spaces that were donated to place their advert as a way of showing that they were open for business. If a brand like coca cola, arguably a business that represents capitalism can adapt to this new blended communication style than so can others.
Coca Cola is another brand that is has demonstrated that commercial and social design collaboration is
Redesigning the dining table (self-directed 01)
Another example of this new blended visual language is Coca-Cola’s ‘The Great Meal’ campaign, which was one reference that powered my first self-directed project. The campaign overseen by studio Anomaly saw the brand focus on the simple pleasure of the dinner table as a safe space during the pandemic. The short film “features 13 real families from Kiev, Lisbon, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Orlando and Shanghai and demonstrates that the day the world stopped is the day we found where to go (the kitchen)” (Campaign Live, 2020) . This encouraged me to explore how I could re-create the dining table in a covid-safe environment. Fuelled by my love of cooking and commensality, I went on to design a recipe box brand that allows you and your loved ones to cook and share a meal over Google Meet. The idea enables you to embrace cooking a nourishing meal for your body whilst sharing the experience in a covid-safe commensal set-up that embraced the screen as a makeshift dinner table. This was very much a direct response to Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist monk who is featured in Netflix’s Chef ’s Table, who explains that ‘it’s that mindset of sharing, that is really what you are eating’ (Kwan, 2019). Sharing food around a table is one of the simplest and purest transactions in life. This is something that corona virus has stripped from us and that I wanted to recreate in a safe format. This idea of cooking and sharing a meal as a form of meditation and healing is something that people need in this dark time (corona virus pandemic). At a time when we have been segregated, why not use the humble ingredient of food and sharing to glue communities back together. I like how Shauna Nieguist describes it in Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes:
We don't come to the TABLE to FIGHT or to DEFEND. We don't come to PROVE or to CONQUER, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up TROUBLE. We come to the TABLE because our HUNGER brings us there. We come with a NEED, with FRAGILITY, with an ADMISSION of our HUMANITY. The TABLE is THE GREAT EQUALISER, the LEVEL PLAYING FIELD many of us have been LOOKING EVERYWHERE FOR. The TABLE is the PLACE where the DOING STOPS, the TRYING STOPS, the MASKS ARE REMOVED, and we ALLOW ourselves to be NOURISHED, like CHILDREN. We allow someone else to MEET OUR NEED. In a world that PRIDES people on not having needs, ongoing LONGER and FASTER, on-going WITHOUT, on POWERING THROUGH, the TABLE is a place of SAFETY and REST and HUMANITY, where we are ALLOWED to be as FRAGILE as we FEEL. ~ Shauna Nieguist (Nieguist, 2013)
Fig 9: Coca Cola - The Great Meal (Campaign Live, 2020)
Fig 10: Jeong Kwan - Chef’s Table Netflix (Chef’s Table, 2019)
Designer, Henrik Olsson states, ‘food connects people, it’s our cultural heritage and everyday life.’ (Bourton, 2020) The author and host of best selling book and Netflix series Salt Fat Acid Heat; Samin Nosrat says:
Fig 11: Table Recipe box - created by me for self-directed 01 (Tara Yeoman, 2021)
‘We all have incredible relationships to what we eat, to what we don't eat, to what we've eaten since childhood and what we were fed, to what food means to us. And so I find it a really powerful tool in storytelling and in opening people's hearts and their minds.’ (Nosrat, 2017) In my case, I have used food as a tool to bring together communities and increase interaction in new ways, when it is detrimental to our health in person. The project also lends itself to philanthropy with its proposed donation of all profits to the charity FareShare UK, a food bank charity that feeds people with food insecurity.
The effect of my first self-directed project
After, many tests with my friends and family both with the recipe box and the experience as a whole, I saw one example of a directly positive response to the project. In one occasion, I trialed the experience with my grandmother and sister. Before, we started to cook the meal my 75 year old grandmother seemed very lethargic and despondent, she seemed as though she didn’t have the energy to cook with us. Within ten minutes of cooking together and sharing the journey of the experience, her mood began to enthuse. She became very animated and started to have fun with the process. By the end of the meal she was completely transformed and I felt a warmth that my creation had the power to encourage happiness for another human being. Of course, this is just one example that I directly experience during my user testing of the project, however, it gave me reassurance and optimism that this idea could benefit peoples lives during this difficult period. During some of my research I came across a worrying statistic that:
Fig 12: Screenshot from the short film I made to demonstrate the Table experience - created by me for self-directed 01 (Tara Yeoman, 2021) watch the film here: https://vimeo.com/518108015
almost a MILLION (955,464) OLDER PEOPLE in the UK confess to relying on READY MEALS and CONVENIENCE FOODS to keep them FED with nearly a QUARTER (23%) saying they SKIP their DAILY MEALS at least THREE TIMES a WEEK. (Royal Voluntary Service, 2019)
I am aware that a large proportion of elderly people included within this statistic could have mobility or health issues that restrict they're eating and cooking capabilities. However, imagine if more people in our communities shared this experience with the elderly and vulnerable in their areas. This could encourage the elderly to get excited about cooking again, help control loneliness and give them something to look forward to everyday. Viktor Papanek (1971, pp.2) puts this into perspective in his book Design for the Real World when he states:
T E NLY I PORT NT THIN A OUT DE IGN IS OW I RE ATES T PE PLE ~ Viktor Papanek
Even If my work didn’t have a humungous impact, I would be incredibly encouraged if my project impacted my audience positively, even if it just boosted their spirits slightly in this difficult time. Which concretes the importance of unearthing an updated form of graphic language with a community focus.
Negotiating feedback and critique
Feedback has been a crucial entity in this project. Without some of the comments I received I would have not considered some of the problematic issues that arose during the project journey. Originally, I decided to name my brand; Break Bread, I thought it was a great representation of the brand values to bring people together during difficult times. During the prototype feedback session, I was told that the name could be highly problematic due to its religious connotations. I was glad that this was brought to my attention. The project, at its core, is meant to bring people and communities together over the act of sharing food, not as a new excuse to tear people further apart by creating divide over religion and politics. Another suggestion was the idea of getting furloughed chefs and struggling restaurants in the community involved in the project. This idea was fuelled with the symbiosis of helping chefs in need by getting them to teach restaurant quality cooking to the audience of the recipe box. I discussed this idea with my Dad who is a chef by profession, who brought to my attention the ethical discrepancies within the suggestion. It would have been unethical for me to encourage participation and collaboration with struggling members of my community (furloughed chefs) without the transaction of funds for time spent and without the certainty of a long term working relationship. As a student, I don’t have the funds to employ a chef and asking them to participate voluntarily would for me feel fraudulent. Especially when I knew that the project would last for the best part of two months, only for me to discard of their services, which could have been detrimental for their mental wellbeing. Although, I did really appreciate the suggestions’ good intentions, after discussing it with professional chefs and deliberating it myself, I did find it to be an unethical choice that would only serve to benefit me and not be beneficial for those who are currently vulnerable in my community. This is similar to how brew dogs ‘street dog’ beer served to benefit the charities: Dogs on the Street and All Dogs Matter without using the dogs in a fraudulent, selfserving or opportunistic way for the brand.
Exploring participatory design
Fig 13: Rirkrit Tiravanija - Untitled (free/still) (Museum of Modern Art, 2021)
Fig 14: Designed pattern for Table brand identity featuring participatory design tables (Tara Yeoman, 2021)
Whilst exploring the branding for the Table project I decided to look into participatory design and how I could create a more personal feel to the aura of the brand. To do this I realised that the dining table means different things to different people. Therefore, by asking my audience to draw their own dining table and send it to me, I was allowing them to have their vision of what the act of sharing food means to them at the core of the brand identity. By inviting my audiences involvement and contribution, I instantaneously allow the brand identity to become a community centred object that represents each individual and their personality. This reflects the beauty of the dinner table, in that, it's a great focal point of bringing together different people from different backgrounds, genders, ages who each bring the joy of their own personalities. This inclusion of my audience has created space for the community to own the brand through facilitating its identity with their creative input. Luck (2003, pp.523-535) aptly explains the premise in her journal article Dialogue in Participatory Design:
When engaged in a PARTICIPATORY DESIGN workshop the PEOPLE who attend are part of the SOCIAL PROCESS of DESIGN and play an ACTIVE PART in the ISSUE / problem raising, DISCUSSION and DECISION making PROCESSES that are part of the early design stage of a project. The people who are commonly known as users are ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS in the DESIGN PROCESS and hence the BOUNDARY between ‘DESIGNER’ and ‘USER’ become BLURRED. ~ Rachel Luck, Dialogue in Participatory Design
This creative emancipation allows the values of my audience to be reflected in the brand and therefore creates a more personable attachment. Rirkrit Tiravanija’s exhibition Untitled (free/still) hugely inspired the participatory aspect of my project. First taking form in 1992, at 303 gallery, New York, Untitled (free/still) is a ‘deceptively simple’ piece where Tiravanija converted the gallery into a kitchen where he served rice and Thai curry for free. The space allowed audiences to help themselves to the meal, commune on dining tables and socialise with fellow audience members. Tiravanija invited the audience to interact with contemporary art in a more sociable way which helped blur the distance between the artist and the viewer. Tiravanija invited this very simple offering to the gallery that is otherwise unheard of. The audience were not permitted to perform in any way that could be documented in the future and then called the artwork, instead the relationships and engagement within that gallery kitchen were the art.
Fig 15 & 16: Tablecloth I designed with the participatory design table drawings (Tara Yeoman, 2021)
THE WORK IS A PLATFORM FOR PEOPLE TO INT RA T WITH THE W RK ITSELF BUT ALSO WITH O HER EO LE A LOT OF IT IS ABOUT THE E PERIENTIAL RELATI NSHIP WHERE YOU ARE NOT ACTUALLY L KING AT SO ETHING BUT YOU ARE WIT IN IT THIS ALLOWS THE DIST NCE BETW N THE ARTI T THE VIE ER TO GET BL RRED - Tiravanija. (Stokes, 2012)
Duchamp famously said that ‘anything is art if the artist says it is’ (Art Gallery NSW, 2019), Tiravanija has helped us consider the act of commensality as participatory art by bringing it into the gallery space. I concur that their is beauty within commensality and the act of sharing food and that it should be viewed as art and something to be observed, interacted with and cherished.
Using nature as a catalyst for peace (self-directed 02)
My second self directed project looks at how nature can be used as a catalyst for peace and tranquility. This quote from Yale University propelled my project:
Studies show that TIME in NATURE - as long as people feel SAFE - is an ANTIDOTE for STRESS: it can lower BLOOD PRESSURE and STRESS hor mone levels, reduce NERVOUS SYSTEM arousal, enhance IMMUNE SYSTEM function, increase SELF-ESTEEM, reduce ANXIETY, and improve MOOD. ~ Yale Univeristy (Robins, 2020)
Using this academic research, I decided to design an immersive space that would help de-stress and relax people in a time of uncertainty. During the pandemic, we all looked to the simpler things in life to bring us small moments of joy and happiness. This is exactly what I wanted to achieve with my immersive design to help calm people in a time of heightened anxiety. The project formed into a campaign that drew inspiration from natural beauty to create uplift and peace to stressed commuters. The campaign took shape in the entrance tunnel space of Angel Station with the potential to be adapted to other stations as a Transport for London initiative to destress travellers. I was heavily influenced by Wendell Berry’s poem ‘The Peace Of Wild Things’ (1968), which was where my project really began to take shape. Poems on the Underground and Art on the Underground were two reference points that inspired this project. An attempt of using poetry and art to help create a moment of mindfulness within travellers, as-well as unearthing an opportunity to showcase the work of emerging, unpublished and unexposed creatives.
Fig 17: Kraken Rum Angel Tube Station Campaign by Oink Creative (Oink Creative, 2021)
At the first Crit, I was suggested a pivotal reference that really aided the projects progression. I was told about a campaign that Kraken Rum made in Angel Underground Station in London. Here, the design took over the entrance tunnel of the station allowing the commuters to be surrounded by the work. Of course, this was an example of a commercial campaign that’s sole purpose was to increase sales. With “pubs and bars who stock Kraken Rum in the area of Angel Tube seeing an increase in 80% volume uplift during the campaign” (Oink Creative, 2021). However, I decided to springboard this idea and use it as a catalyst for a moment of joy and tranquility, in a space that causes heightened stress. To create the tunnel I first experimented with the tactility of nature and how I could translate that to a space that is industrialised and artificial. To do this I played with creating my own paper using recycled materials and found foliage from my daily walks in nature. This materiality also transpires into the postcards that I printed onto seed paper that commuters can take from the experience. The seed paper is crafted with wildflower seeds that can be planted into compost and grown. This allows me to create a lasting form of communication with my audience who are not only receiving a small spurt of joy from the tunnel but also get to nurture that joy into growing something. This also helps me blend the characteristics of commercial design with a new community centred focus. Fig 18: The WILD typeface outcome for self-directed 02 (Tara Yeoman, 2021)
Creating an immersive experience
To create a fully immersive experience, I looked at satiating three of the five senses: sight, sound and smell, in an attempt to transport my audience back to memories of play in natural environments. The sight proportion would come from my design of the visual ‘skin’ of the tunnel that will surround the commuter. There will be speakers playing natural sound scapes that I have captured. As well as, the smell of provencal lavender essential oil diluted through the tunnel. Within one of the crits, it was brought to my attention that the highly stimulating environment could be challenging for audience members with learning difficulties. This was an important point that allowed me to research into this issue. Of course, the tunnel is just an idea and proposal and not existing in real life yet, but if it were to come to fruition it is something I would alter or change to meet the needs of everyone. One fully immersive reference I looked to was ‘L’atelier des Luminaires’ in Paris that crafted the works of artist, Van Gogh, in a 360 degree projected exhibition. The piece transformed an entire warehouse sized space into 500 of Van Goghs works, allowing audiences to step into his world through the aid of digital projection technology. The gallery space also used sound to transport the audience with the inclusion of contemporary music filling the space by artists such as Nina Simone.
Fig 19: Inside Van Gogh by L’atelier des Luminaires in Paris (Stenson, 2019)
Fig 20: My VR ‘Wild Tunnel’ final outcome for self-directed 02 (Tara Yeoman, 2021)
This report shows that the collaboration between commercial and social design is possible. Within my exploration I have unearthed some historical context of design used to improve society. I have challenged the success of The First Things First manifesto and its updated counterparts. Discovered exemplary brands; Coca Cola, Dove and Brew Dog who are trying to create a more community based commercial design. Found contemporary design practitioners who are trying to collaborate between social and commercial design. As well as, re-mapping my own self-directed work to create peace, happiness and community during a pandemic. I have unearthed that commercial and social design do not need to be mutually exclusive, but rather can exist together in a new community centred graphic language. Graphic design can evolve to become a tool for the future to create a greener, equilateral and happier world. I am hopeful that graphic design can move away from its bad boy persona as Papanek (1971, pp.4) defines as “the phoniest field in existence today” and show its true colours as a powerful tool for change.
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