FMP Research – Fundamentals of infographics

The main part of my final major project is infographics to design a simple code system to go in the front of all products and packaging so that the public can make ethical choices when if come to purchasing a product or service. The design needs to be simple and understandable to all. Infographics are graphics that use visual elements to to present information, which in this case would be the recycling and carbon print elements of each product. Infographics can make complexed information easy to understand. This is a great way to simplify complex information, and as 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual it is a great way to get information over to the public. Which is the main aim of this project.

To understand more I started looking at Otto Neurath. He was the leading figure of Isotype. He was fully engaged in the use of visual methods for explanation and education. The basic elements are pictograms – which are simplified pictures or people or things. It came about in the 1920’s as Neurath saw there was need to communicate with people from all ages and nationalities as they travelled to foreign places. Initially in Vienna for the Gesellschafts und Wirtschafts museum.

Above is a small example of Neurath’s international picture language, 1936. As you can the Isotypes are simple and easy to understand, and can see the influence of these pictograms have had on todays information graphics. With this in mind I will need to deconstruct the information that I have on recycling / carbon footprint into a visual form which is simple for the public to understand.

FMP Research – Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is defined as the total emissions caused by an individual, organisation or product. Carbon footprint originates from ecological footprint which was developed by William E .Rees and Mathis Wackernagle in the 1990’s. It compared how much people demand compared to what our planet can renew. Equating then the number of earths that would be required if everyone on the planet contented at the same rate. The carbon footprint is one part of the ecological footprint, and was popularised by a large BP campaign in 2005.

This was one of the first campaigns that highlighted to the public that the need to be aware our own carbon footprint, so that we can all take responsibility for the world ecosystem. Even though this has been highlighted more and more over the years, I feel that by having a labelling system in place on product packaging it could bring again the carbon footprint to the forefront and encourage consumers to be more aware of the products that they are buying.  

You can check your own carbon footprint on the WWF website above. The results for my own carbon footprint shown below.

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My overall carbon footprint was 112%. This is slightly over the current footprint for the uk overall. If everyone made a concerted effort to reduce their own footprint we would be able to hit all our targets for the Climate change Act for the UK. The Climate Change Act 2008 set the country’s emission reduction targets. The “legally binding” targets are a reduction of least 80% by 2050 (against the 1990 baseline).

UK emissions were 43% below 1990 levels in 2017. The first carbon budget (2008-12) has been met and the UK is currently on track to outperform the second (2013-17) and third (2018-22) carbon budgets, but is not on track to meet the fourth, which covers the period 2023-27.

Meeting future carbon budgets and the UK’s 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels will require reducing domestic emissions by at least 3% per year. This will require existing progress to be supplemented by more challenging measures. By encouraging the public to have more care when buying products and services over the next ten years we could all make a impact. Hence having clear labelling on packaging and products could make all the difference in the years to come.

Touch Board – Bare Conductive

Touch boards make your projects interactive. You can turn touch into sound and make any surface interactive. This is something that I wanted create with my our piece of work. I have had previous experience with Arduino and programming to make movement, and luckily the Touch board can be used with the same program. The board basically works by creating sensors with the Touch Board’s 12 electrodes and trigger sounds through its MP3 player. However for my own project I wanted to incorporate lights as well, so went and found one of the technicians who was an Arduino whizz. He suggested that I use a bread board to extend the touch boards electrodes and a Cd4094 chip, which is a shift register. It enabled me to create more points for the touch board. Below is the PDF which I used to link up the different points on it.


The chip enabled me to control lighting (neopixels). Below is a picture of the boards set up.


After this was set up I attached mini LED’s to the bread board so that I could begin writing the code to co-ordinate with the touch board sensors. This is code that was written below for the programming of the chip. Its basically written as a loop which will made the LED’s turn on with a delay in between and then start again.

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Next step was to upload and record the sound files for the touch board. The sound files needed to be converted in MP3’s. They have to specifically named and then uploaded onto a micro memory card which can be inserted into the touch board its self. Once this was done, I was ready to start creating my piece for it to work on.

Significant Information Project

I was looking forward to getting into this three week project. This brief was to develop an outcome using information that find we significant or inspiring to ourselves. I started by mapping out a few things about my life. My children are a massive part of my life, so initially I was inclined to develop a concept around them.


A few ideas that came to mind, one where I could document data on my children’s will power. Possibly making them resist eating a sweets in-front of them and see how long they could last, and maybe moving it on other situations that test them.


Another was to collate data on our sleeping patterns, from their bedtime excuses to the musical beds routine that happens throughout the night. Thought it could have been quite funny to document what goes on in our house over a weeks sleep pattern.  However I thought that actually being coherent enough throughout the night to make notes on what was going on somewhat difficult. So I started to look at creativity. Its something I have always been encouraged to do from a young age and both my parents have worked within the creative industry. It comes naturally to both my children, especially my daughter, who spends from morning till night doodling and sketching. With this in mind, I was beginning to consider doing something to do with the education system and how creativity is integrated with the stem subjects.

I found this article that discusses how music has boosted students core subject results. “The focus on creativity has improved results across the school, not just among the musically gifted, Rotheram says, adding that it is “demonstrably more effective than drilling Sats papers”.” 

I found this really interesting. It seems that there has been a shift in the way that eduction top dogs look at how creativity in school as a positive thing and it should be given more importance within the curriculum. Its something that is our Dean of the Art and Design school is very passionate about, and I had a good discussion with her about her thoughts. We talked about the Stem subjects that have dominated education for many years, and how the introduction of more creative subjects has become more prominent and important for the development of students learning ability. Overall the discussion was very positive and Olwen gave me a few pointer for  researching data and statistics about the subject.


I found this infographic which looks Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) vs STEAM (which has interrogates art into all the stem subjects.) STEAM is an acronym for the fields of study in the categories of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The initiative began to include arts and design in STEM fields education. The founder of this initiative is Georgette Yakman, who in addition to raising the idea of adding the arts to the STEM acronym, claims to have found a formal way to link the subjects together and correspond them to the global socioeconomic world.


  • On average, students who study the arts for 4 years in high school score 98 points higher on the SATs compared to those who study the same for half a year or less.
  • Students who took up music appreciation scored 61 points higher on the verbal section and 42 points higher on the math section.
  • Of the elementary schools with arts, the most common subjects revolve around music at 94% and visual studies at 83%. Only 3% offer dance instruction while 4% provide theater arts.
  • Training in the arts has been shown to improve creativity and innovation. Students learn to approach issues with a critical mind and a positive attitude towards problem solving. Exposure to the arts enhances communication skills, which are essential tools for collaboration. It develops flexibility and adaptability. The government recognizes these and, indeed, 48 states have adopted standards for art instructions.
  • However 51% of art teachers are unhappy about what they see as the decline in art education brought about by the shift in focus. The difficulty in measuring art’s contribution to academic performance has led to its under appreciation.

I thought about gathering statistics about my children’s school and how much art and music they participate in over a week. From what I gather they encouraged creativity throughout the school, and my children have come home with some wonderful creations. However this might have been so what time consuming and as I only had a limited amount of time I needed to think of something where the data was readily available.

From this point I began to look at the Creative Industry as a whole within the UK. I was surprised to discover that the Creative Industry has become one of the fastest growing industries over the last ten years. I decided that the Creative Industies was to be the context of my project. I felt that it would be interesting and relevant to myself especially because it is something that I am going to be entering into hopefully in the next year.