Summation of journey for visual communication
To understand where a project has taken you, I feel the first thing we have to do is go back to its roots. Why did we choose this path? Why did we want to talk about when we show our final product? How did we get there? These are the few questions I attempt to answer before going into the final products.
The premise we were given at the start was interesting. When given the topic water and tasked to research on it, it feels open-ended, perhaps a little vague and more importantly, exciting.
What can we talk about water?
I went through a range of interests that I had before reaching the final topic I wanted to talk about. Below is a quick map to look at the thought process.
Water >> Naga and myths >> Conservation of spaces and movement of water in these spaces (Specially islands and water) >> Ecology of water akin to a cycle >> Water pollution and its roundabout effects of human
It took a while but when reading about water and water being part of the ecology, it just felt as if it were right topic I wanted to explore. How important is water to the cycle of life? Very important, as it turn out.
Here are some slides that were presented to the class in the process of thinking about what we wanted to talk about.
In the slides, certain key words were highlighted. Words like biodiversity, ecology; these words represents a relationship of similar things seen in different perspectives to me. How so? With biodiversity, we know that there is a wide range and variety of flora and fauna. With ecology, we deal with the knowledge of relationship between the environment and the living beings. With ecosystem, we think of these beings as a system. If one part were to malfunction, the whole system is affected. Therefore from small actions or changes come consequences. This brought me to the topic of a threat that we see far too much, anthropogenic threats, also seen as the impacts of the human ecological footprint.
The idea of relationship and systems interested me and I decided to look at places where we see tangible results of this relationship. One example was the Marine Dive Trail near St John’s island. Coral reefs are in danger of being damaged or destroyed by human activities hence the decision of NParks to protect the reefs. At the same time they turned the space into where people are able to join to admire and learn more about the reefs.
However, when researching more about the impacts of human threats on the ecology, I found that the impacts are way bigger and drastic than just the corals and the dive trails. That’s where my direction changed when I decided to switch the scope of what I wanted to say.
So I started researching. There were many articles and papers online about the effects of human action on the environment and I was admittedly unsure where to start.
When I was doing my research I tried to be as open minded as possible. There were many interesting articles about findings in Singapore and around the world. My initial interest was choosing between the mangroves in Sungei Buloh and the marine dive trail at St Johns. However my research led me to finding new terms such as microplastic, the circular economy, ghost fishing etc. These problems seemed so much bigger, so much more urgent that I switched my focus halfway and decided to talk about it instead.
Funnily enough, upon looking back, I felt that perhaps it might be better to stick to talking about these specific spaces. I don’t regret learning and talking about the plastic problem that the world is facing but I do feel that when talking about such a big problem, certain things get lost in translation, for example the sense that we can help as humans wherever we are, or even thinking about how this large problem has affected us in Singapore and how we contributed to it. I did talk about this in the booklet however I feel that it would work also if I kept narrowing the scope to these locations and let my research help inform the design and solutions I have for these spaces. Perhaps a continuation of this project?
In the end, I chose to talk about the impacts of human actions on the marine environment and focused on the effects of plastic pollution on the environment.
This came in the form of a project titled “The Ripple Project”. It is a fictional not-for-profit organization focused on disseminating information and educating the public about the effects of plastic pollution.
One of its main concerns was that the information about plastic pollution is too scattered at this point in time; there was no one place where all the information could be found. Similar to how the world is interconnected, the efforts of the other organizations should not be isolated. Share the findings! Talk about it! Link to other organizations and create conversations!
The Ripple Project’s first aim is to create an online space where the user gets connected with these organizations without having to go to many sites.
These are the three deliverables:
- A website
- A booklet
- The website:
The online website ties in with the posters and booklet because it is the product that the users get directed back to immediately. It has informations on upcoming talks where one can register online, a challenge for people to participate in and learn about mindfulness, and links to local and globals organisations that hosts different initiatives or provide information on the pollution.
F0r the challenge, participants are encouraged to post photos of single use plastic they used over a one week period. Through this challenge, it hopes to cultivate mindfulness in the participants while allowing them to understand that every small action has unintended consequences, thus linking back to the idea of the ripple effect.
Screenshots of website:
2. The Booklet:
This was intended as a print booklet hence the QR codes included where users can scan with their phones and it’ll bring them to the website indicated. The booklet aims to reach students and young adults and it will most likely be distributed in schools, cafes, and included as reading materials in company lobbies.
The information inside introduces the reader to the plastic pollution problem before narrowing it down to how people in Singapore could have contribute to the problem. It then suggests ways that the people can take to reduce plastic waste before introducing links to organisations that the users can look through for future action.
3. The posters:
The posters are large with taglines that have bite sized facts about the problem. With more information below the tagline giving context to the problem, it aims to inform and encourage people to find out more about the plastic problem through the QR code. This code links the user back to the website.
Conclusion and reflection
The objective of the project was to raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem. However the harder part would be getting people to act. There are certain setbacks to this style of campaigning that I realised upon hindsight. The things I liked about the project was the amount of time we had to research on the topic before designing for it. It allowed me time to think about my role as a designer when talking about matters that extend beyond the field of design. I find myself asking questions like, why does this matter? How can I reach people better with my designs? Where will my designs be distributed so that the issue gets more attention? My skills has improved somewhat too. Upon seeing the works of my classmates, I find myself being excited about other methods of presenting information as compared to what I’m doing now.
The setbacks would be that I should have started on the creation earlier. I found myself stuck with too many things I wanted to say but then I got overwhelmed when I think of all that I wanted to say. When I look at the works of my classmates, I realised they picked a part of the whole and worked on creating a solution for that. This was something I feel I could definitely do better in. Also some design elements, such as logo creation or poster design, could be improved on too.
In conclusion, the thought process took longer this semester but it allowed me time to really think about my project. I really appreciate the ample time given to us but I really should be careful of being stuck in the thinking process. Sometimes I get frozen when thinking about the designs because you start thinking questions such as How can I design well enough to convey my messages, or something like that. With more time, I feel that my message and purpose of designing is stronger. As compared to the last few semesters, I don’t find myself questioning what the whole purpose of the project is about because I chose this path myself. Although it was tough, I felt that I learnt quite a lot about the design thinking processes (Will want to improve on this too) and my technical skills this semester.