Initial Ideas – Design as Activism

As Im all for the environment my initial ideas was to focus on the effects that we are having on our home (the world). Sustainability is one of the issues that I feel is important to be aware of as a graphic designer. After reading Green Graphic Design – Brian Dougherty it has given me a better understanding of how I personally can make a difference. The book breaks down the concept of green design step by step, reframing the way that designers can think about the work that they create. If all designers thought this way when producing their work it could be a huge step forward for positive change, and giving us a more sustainable solutions for a better future.

My thoughts were to make green design mainstream – graphic designers have a major role to play in aiding the development of a green market place, the knock-on effects give the corporations an understanding that they too have a responsibility.

To go about this I thought of the possibility of making graphic designers into super heroes to save the world. Below are some initial drawings for a logo. I imagine a super hero with a cape flying around the world.


All of us can embrace a green more responsible model for graphic design, we have the ability to shift the status quo, then making it the norm for future designers.

Unfortunately my ideas were a no go for our group. Perhaps something for a personal project that I could develop further in the future. Watch this space…….!


Guernica Adaptation

We were asked in our manifesto groups to produce a piece of work by adapting the Guernica painting by Picasso to represent our declaration of intentions within our Sustainability manifesto.

As a group we were able to come up with our concept by drawing a quick sketch of how we wanted the painting to turn out.


From this we gave each other different parts to complete and then bring it altogether at the end before it being presented to our peers and lecturers. Below is a progress photo, after painting part of the background and placing the different aspects on top. Looked really good and was coming together nicely.


This is our final piece displayed in the studio……img_2117

We wanted to highlight the destruction of the environment caused by over consumerism and the fat cats of consumerism. I think that we managed to show this well with our overall composition of the piece, aswell as taking inspiration from Picasso’s Guernica. The feed back that we received was positive, what I took from it was that maybe more emphasis was on the kind of rubbish that we are throwing out, making the viewer more aware to the types of things that they are throwing way willy nilly.

The photos above are the final pieces from others groups on the course. All of them I think are well thought-out and show the diversity that has come from being inspired from the original Guernica painting. I enjoyed this project, it was nice working with my hands to produce a piece along with working collaboratively with others, each of us contributing our individual skills.

Field – Manifesto

Within field we are given the opportunity to engage with other students from different disciplines to gain a perspective of how and different creative practices might help and with our own subject field. We were teaming up with illustration and animation as these are the subjects that we might work mostly with within the creative industry.

During our first session with field we were split up into groups which had the same vision for worries that we have in the world. My group was particularly interested in the environment, so we set about to write a manifesto to help with our pledge to save the planet.


From this manifesto we were asked to make a pop up illustration depicting our views and ideas.


We produced the pop up illustration above. The workshop was a nice change as we were working with our hands, as opposed to working digitally as we mainly do within our own discipline. The outcome was effective, and I think that we were able to get across our message for a sustainable future is all our responsibility.

Above are a few of the pop up illustrations that were created by other groups in our workshop. I particularly like the pop up which pledges for animal welfare.

First Things First – 1 day Project

first-things-first-manifesto-1964In this workshop we delved deeper into what the First Things First manifesto is and its impact that it could have on us as young designers. I would love to think that this manifesto and its ideas are pretty simple to be able to uphold, however I feel that greed, political advantages and lack of knowledge is partly why this manifesto has not been as successful as originally envisioned. The process have been slow, but changes are happening. Designer are becoming more aware of the sustainability of their work and actions, by going back to the basis of what creativity actually is and being responsible for what we put out into to the world, to not feed the corporate consumerism noise. The transition into a culture of sustainability will be most effective if it is a consideration from day one of the design process.

Of course this is a hard feat, consumerism has been in built into us from a young age, more than ever this generation has a need to have things that are not necessary or beneficial, we have been brainwashed into thinking that possessions will enhance our lives. These things that we are consuming are they of good design do they actually make my life better? As I sit here with my apple laptop and my iPhone I think about do these products enhance my lifestyle, yes they are useful tools with work and social life,  however not necessary of great design, (as pointed out by my lecturer today, the iPhone hasn’t been designed to with stand everyday life, I myself have broken the my iPhone screen recently) But do they make me happier, as marketed by apple!!! The answer for myself is no….they are of superficial happinesses, perhaps filling a void for a short time but ultimately they are just things that we possess. They don’t define us, but the work and they way that we live our lives does. Being self aware of our impact of the wide world is something I think about and try to live by.

So to be sustainable within design is to find a better alternative way of doing things, both for the future and the present, becoming aware of the environmental, social and economic limitations we face in society. As a designer I will ask myself what will the effects of my design be upon the wider world?  One way in which to do this is to begin your design at the end! This may sound odd but by thinking about what the message is that you want to convey you can generate the steps to achieve this.

Sustainability however does not just stop at what the message is that we are putting out there, but also how its produced. Is the manufacturing process environmentally friendly? What will be the energy used to produce it? Is the material used made from sustainable sources?

To get our creative sustainable heads on we were given a one day project within groups of 5 to come up with an effective way to market a sustainable design future. To get designers thinking about the bigger picture.

We decided as a group to market towards young designers, as they are up and coming into the design world we could open their eyes to the possibilities of sustainably design which could make a massive impact on the future direction of commercialism and the way in which the world operates.


Above is the initial concept that we came up with. With the use of the road signs we have tried to convey a message that the way forward is sustainable design. By asking a question rather than making a statement leaves the viewer thinking about their position. I think that this kind of marketing would work be most effected placed in design colleges and universities, with the possibility of being placed in design magazines aswell.

This workshop and lecture has really got my mind thinking about the future and how I would like to see myself as a designer. By being a more empathetic designer I can be a change in the world that I have always wanted to be.