Upon reflection of my second year on the graphic communication course at CSAD, my final academic project of the year would require us to think to ourselves as to what sort of designers we wanted to be.
Upon the reintroduction of writing a manifesto, I looked back to a blog post named Design History Made I had written in my first year on the First things First manifesto, first published in London, 1964, and then republished in 2000. At first designers pleaded to organisations from across the globe to recognise the importance of images and their makers to sell or promote services. But in 2000, many more designers had then asked for their skills to be put to more essential use, to change the world in different and more effective ways so designers jobs wouldn’t be wasted on selling inessential products.
By reading back through this manifesto, it had given me inspiration into what to put into my own personal manifesto which I had written. By writing this it would give me a strong sense of direction as to what to put in my curriculum vitae in the future. It would give employers a strong sense of what values I have as a designer.
Within my manifesto I had discussed what passions I had, what experiences had influenced my decisions as a developing designer, what changes I wanted to make in the world through the power of being a graphic designer, what effects my designs would have on the world according to my passions, and what motivated me to want to become a designer. Most of my decisions within the manifesto I had written were based on the lack of inclusivity that graphic design offers to their audience and the consumer. And I also discussed the environmental and economical impact graphic design has on the world, and whether it is effective or not.
After presenting our work to the client I considered my work, how well I had done, what I could have improved on, and my experience of working in a group with a live client.
Three things that went well, individually and collectively in a group:
Everyone that had put work together and presented in the presentation all had a great amount of things to say regarding the effectiveness of their work. We all understood each others’ projects and communicated clearly what audience we wanted to target and why.
We all worked really well with the client and communicated well, finding common ground with interest in brand new concepts and ideas.
We had supported and shared each others ideas giving constructive feedback and valuable criticism which had informed our outcomes really well.
Three things to improve on for next time, individually and/or collectively in a group:
When first being part of the group most people weren’t well informed of what had been going on. Communication was very weak and definitely could have been improved on to get a better understanding of what we were required to do for the project.
As much as we were willing to share our research, one person in the group had decided to do all their own research which left the rest of the group with a large burden of having to do their own research. It wasn’t fair on everyone since we had agreed to take parts of research.
We gave constructive feedback to each other regarding our work, however, when it came to presenting our work to the tutors and client, a few had done far much more work than the rest of the people in the group which I felt had made us look bad, as if we hadn’t put much effort in. A few of us didn’t know what was going on with people because we weren’t willing to show each other our work to the group very often. It was quite insulting. In the future, group members need to be cooperative with how much work everyone wants to do so none of us feel as if we need to be competing against each other throughout the whole project.
Three things that the client said about our work after the presentation:
They were all very impressed with our work and how forward thinking and fresh it was.
They all showed interest in each of our projects and asked us about how it could have been developed further.
It was an opportunity for us to discuss further concepts which hadn’t been talked about in the presentation. I had quite a lot of ideas that I wanted to discuss further. It was very pleasing to know that they wanted all of us to go to their office to present our work to their colleagues. It gave a sense of reassurance that a national organisation like Public Health Wales showed great interest in our work and expressed their gratitude for young people showing to them their ideas and what we would be interested in seeing developed.
After a tutorial where I had discussed my ideas regarding how plaster, stickers and badges could be used in different way to encourage people to get a flu vaccination, I had improved my designs according to the tutors’ criticism, as well as developing a new idea which had been mentioned at the interim client meeting.
Running along with the theme of a video or arcade game with the promotion of the flu vaccination, I did some research into what possible arcade games I could take inspiration from to create my own. One arcade game that had particularly caught my attention was Whac-A-Mole. According to Higgins (2010) in an article published by Mental Floss,
‘Aaron Fechter invented the original Whac-A-Mole game in 1971. Well…he took the idea from “some Japanese guys” who had created a creature-whacking game first, but Fechter made the mechanism work reliably by inventing an air cylinder system to power the moles and an audio-tape-driven pattern that governed the moles’ timing. Also, Fechter’s game used only moles, rather than a variety of animals in the Japanese game. In the video below, Fechter (who went on to create the Rock-afire Explosion animatronic band for Showbiz Pizza) discusses how he created the Whac-A-Mole and how it was then reverse engineered and mass produced by Bob Cassata. Fechter ended up buying hundreds of the games from Cassata for his Showbiz Pizza parlors.’
Here is an interpretation of the arcade game:
The benefit with designing an arcade game based on the concept of the original Whac-A-Mole was that it would potentially attract all audiences. I found a few photos in which it showed people of different ages playing the arcade game. What was interesting was the ways in which the game had been modified, and much to my surprise had even been modified to fit in with different cultures.
This video shows that the game has been successful across different cultures and countries.
I started by developing a brief idea in Adobe Illustrator of what the game would look like in terms of what the characters that would pop up through the holes would look like.
I had initially named the game Whack – a – virus, simply changing one of the words from the name of the original game. The arcade game would be a similar size to those that would be found in an arcade store, large and bulky. However, the game could have potential to be an app on a phone or a tablet, a computer game, or even a small board game. I designed the characters for the game so that they would correspond with shapes and colours you had seen in microscopic images I had found in my research from online.
I considered what else I could name the game after someone had said that my work didn’t seem consistent in terms of working together because I had decided use the arcade/video game theme with all my ideas. By looking back at the language I had used on the design of the plasters and badges, I considered what synonyms could be used for the word injection.
First I took a look at how I could make the collective design of the stickers more consistent. I had changed the word in the dark blue sticker from shot to jab so that it would fit with the words used in the red sticker.
I then changed the name of the game from Whack – a – virus to Jab – a – Germ. I had considered how the design of the logo for the game could be changed, which involved changing the stars to a splatter of paint or goo, what would look like a germ that had been jabbed. I decided to choose the design featuring the stars simply because it looked cleaner and sharper than a splatter.
The characters that I have designed have many strong possibilities for developments. They could be featured in a children’s book, another concept for a game, or simple promotion such as keyring’s, plush toys, and stickers.
After conducting valuable research into Public Health Wales statistics and information regarding the flu virus, vaccines, and risk groups to narrow down a target audience, I started to search for inspiration and what previous campaigns had caught my eye.
One of the websites that I had looked at in my research had an image featured of a plaster designed to encourage people to receive a flu vaccination. The language featured on the plaster may seem reassuring to viewers at first, however, it promotes the message that the flu virus is a much more serious issue than people may have originally thought. The fact that people receive a vaccination against a virus creates a sense of awareness that perhaps the virus may be causing more trouble than people would have originally thought, and if the vaccination is recommended by medical staff, pharmacists, researchers, or the government, campaigns designed to encourage people to receive a vaccination may therefore be successful, and in turn, preventing the virus from being spread because of herd immunity. As described by VaccinesToday, herd immunity is when a ‘high percentage of the population is protected through vaccination against a virus or bacteria, making it difficult for a disease to spread because there are so few susceptible people left to infect.’
The reason the language presented on the design of the plaster would be effective is because of where the viewer might be encouraged to read further about it. For example, the phrase presented on the plaster, ‘I GOT MY FLU SHOT‘, I feel inhibits the message ‘Did you get yours’, questioning the viewers decision as to whether to receive a flu vaccination. The language particularly looks at how the wearer of the plaster can spread a message which may not be directly spoken by them, however the words or images on the wearers body would encourage the viewer to receive the vaccination. This form of advertisement which would encourage people to receive their flu vaccination could act as a means of guerrilla marketing, because of the extremity that the designer or marketer has gone to promote the product or service. As described by creativeguerrillamarketing.com,
This alternative advertising style relies heavily on unconventional marketing strategy, high energy and imagination. Guerrilla Marketing is about taking the consumer by surprise, make an indelible impression and create copious amounts of social buzz. Guerrilla marketing is said to make a far more valuable impression with consumers in comparison to more traditional forms of advertising and marketing. This is due to the fact that most guerrilla marketing campaigns aim to strike the consumer at a more personal and memorable level.
Specifically looking at the remainder of the design of the plaster, it fully reads ‘I GOT MY FLU SHOT at (a particular aid).’ which would aid in helping the viewer choose somewhere to go to receive the vaccination.
Following my first project as part of ‘Who’s the Designer?’ module, I discussed how I wanted my research to influence my dissertation, and vice-versa. For my dissertation I had decided in my proposal that I wanted to assess the development of the history of the t-shirt, and more specifically the slogan t-shirt as a form of communication and how words can influence someone’s opinion or idea of the topic presented on the t-shirt and even the person wearing the item. I realised how the importance of spreading the question ‘ARE YOU AT WAR WITH YOUR BODY?’ could influence society and norms within that area of context. By designing a plaster, it would very much have almost the same significance and influence on someone’s opinion or decision regarding flu vaccinations and how important it is for those who are most at risk of catching the flu.
Instead of coming up with sketches I felt it was better to work straight into InDesign so get a real impression of what the design could be, in terms of type, colour, placement, language, and imagery. Based on what I saw of one of my group members, Tom’s work in the first client meeting where we had showed our work from our first persuasion project, I was inspired by how he used the video game theme to discuss the issue of the expense of a funeral and the burden of money left by the dead for their relatives to pay for the steep price of a burial or cremation. The client had shown great interest in the use of the video/arcade game style. Below are some initial designs I had come up with for placement onto a plaster.
One problem that may arise with encouragement being communicated through plaster design is the time of year people decide to get vaccinated to protect against the flu. According to documents I had looked at that were published by Public Health Wales, people who receive their vaccinations who are at greater risk of developing complications if they contract the flu, usually would be inoculated around October where the weather gets colder, in order to prepare risk groups for the Winter months. This raises issues as to whether the effectiveness of spreading a message on a plaster would be as effective as if the message were placed on a more visible and substantial form of communication, whether this be in the form of print or being designed to use digitally on computers, phones, tablets, etc.
I looked further into what other forms of communication would be more effective, and how an audience can be engaged into being vaccinated to protect against the flu virus. I considered how the designs I might create for plasters could be translated onto other similar deliverables, such as badges, stickers, and prescription packaging for drug boxes and paper bags.
The benefit of designing for stickers is that an adhesive sticker can be placed on almost anything. Stickers are cost effective and generally made of paper which makes them economical. These stickers could be given in a pack to children as a reward, placed on any prescription packaging, or stuck on documents or envelopes which could be sent in the post which would be particularly effect for those who find it difficult to leave their homes. If these designs were for pin badges then they would simply be effective as collectables for those who want to make a fashion statement, yet would ultimately be worn by medical staff so they would be worn when would be working to create awareness for their colleagues as well as patients, relatives, and those around them. Pin badges would create less waste than adhesive stickers because they would last longer and remain strong.
I translated the design of the plasters onto circular stickers/badges keeping the same background colours. For the lighter blue sticker, I wanted to see how well the use of the Welsh language would sit on a circular piece of ephemera. I translated the phrase ‘Have you received your flu injection?’ to Welsh. I needed to make the phrase simple enough for it to be translated effectively to Welsh in terms of the tone of the question and whether it would be understandable. One issue that may have arisen if I used a sarcastic tone of language is that it wouldn’t translate directly making it hard to understand when it came to a fluent Welsh speaker reading it. I kept the ‘JAB JAB JAB’ phrase on the red background, and only decided to use the image of the water pistol on the dark blue background. The reasons for choosing the colours of the backgrounds of the stickers and plaster was because it corresponded with colours someone would relate with the NHS which would be the direct place someone would go to receive their vaccination.
After going to a tutorial I was complimented on the fact that I had chosen to design for a plaster for the effective reason that it would act as a reward to the patient when they received their flu jab. This reward would trigger a nostalgic moment to your childhood when you would perhaps be given a patterned plaster after an injury, or a lollypop you would be given after a consultation with a doctor or nurse. One problem that the tutor had raised was the fact that I decided to use the water pistol emoji in the design of the plaster/sticker. Not because it was designed by someone else, but because it could have raised awareness on the issue of gun violence, or it would even promote gun violence. I would need to think of another image and phrase to encourage the audience to get their vaccination.
It had been a difficult and rather stressful first five weeks of the second term of my second year in university, regarding the challenges I had overcame in my field trip to Marrakech in Morocco. While experiencing my trip to Morocco, I had thought long and hard about what I wanted to research for my dissertation, and what exactly I had to put into my dissertation proposal. The end of the year was slowly creeping up on me, almost haunting me at the dread of writing a ten-thousand word dissertation in my third year.
What had interested me in my recent study group was the topic of gender stereotyping, and what defines beauty and monstrosity. I had looked back on the references I had made in my critical essay, and in particular looking at social opinions on beauty compared to monstrosity, in my study group with Cath Davies. And then I looked at a TV show, named Adventure Time, that I had always been interested in for it’s animated quality combined with miraculous imagination, and general issues that had been explored and catered to children and young adults. This combination of topics and styles make for an extremely intriguing topic to research for my dissertation. Adventure Time is an animated children’s TV series commonly shown on Cartoon Network. Set in the Land of Ooo, the main heroes, Finn the human and Jake the dog, take the opportunity to experience an adventure in each episode which involves a range of Princesses and villains, either ending in happiness or disaster. What I find most admirable about this TV series is the range of different issues that are presented to children, almost preparing them to think with more of an open mind towards real-world issues. One particular issue that takes charge over every episode is gender stereotyping. In several episodes the role of the hero has swapped gender to focus on the princesses being the hero of the story for once, and even the villain being the hero. And through this heroism, features that portray beauty or monstrosity shine through the personalities and appearances of these characters. For example, the character Lumpy Space Princess is portrayed as a hideous and spoilt princess through both her personality, appearance and even her name. However, I thought her title as Lumpy Space Princess challenged the frequent stereotypes of princesses we often see in fully animated Disney feature films. As for the main hero of Adventure Time, Finn the Human, he becomes quite attentive, emotional, and sensitive about certain events that become a part of his life in the series. In several episodes he is seen crying, again challenging the stereotype of the hero or the male classes as being insensitive.
Along with thinking about a topic to explore for my dissertation, I had also started a new project as part of the Subject module. The project was titled ‘Who’s the Designer?’, questioning how we would be able to persuade, empathise, and make our opinions more prevalent in society through the power of graphic design. As the first small project of that module, I decided to explore the topic of War, and instead of looking at the issue of war locally, I came up with the decision to think of War in a non-direct way. The more important question that had such an impact on gender stereotyping, relating to my idea for my dissertation, was ‘Are we at war with our bodies?’. This raised the question for all genders, addressing significant issues with how people of different ages look at their bodies, and most importantly how we treat them. It raised the case of ‘Mind vs. Body’. Thinking of an outcome that would connect with the body was difficult. I first explored what designs of posters I could use, which could then be applied to many other possible deliverables. I looked at how t-shirts had such an impact on society and people’s minds, and then I considered putting the poster design on the t-shirt to instigate the question as a means of spreading a message for the client, as well as putting the design on a badge which could be stitched onto denim, or pinned onto a piece of clothing or accessory. Along with creating the t-shirts I made a search of inspiration into slogan t-shirts, and then thought of what significance graphic design had on fashion, and vice versa. Slogan t-shirts had made a significant comeback in the world of high couture fashion, each slogan t-shirt designed to spread a hauntingly reflective message of a very significant and present issue of the modern world. How have t-shirts developed? How could persuasive messages become more memorable when placed on a t-shirt? How has both written and visual language been developed and translated onto a t-shirt? What makes a t-shirt so wearable? How are memories created by placing something on a t-shirt and wearing it? These were all questions I wanted to investigate further into, and so I made the decision to change my topic for my dissertation to look at the history of the t-shirt and what impact the t-shirt had on society.
This transition to a different topic to focus on for my dissertation was extremely important. By investigating further into what I wanted to explore in my practice, I would then develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of how persuasion can be used across different deliverables. This meant that the subject module was informing what I would research in constellation, and vice versa. T-shirts were also a piece of fashion I was extremely interested in. How simplicity could personify a message and make a message memorable, and in some cases a persuasive and effective form of communication design. Although I might have been neglecting what I had learnt in my term one study group, Goddesses and Monsters, I could still use valuable theories to inform what I would analyse in my subject as well as my dissertation.
The meeting with the client involved a brief chat regarding a document published by the Welsh Government, with NHS Wales and Public Health Wales, that evaluated the resilience of health and care services in Wales concerning the Winter months between 2016/17. This document would help in finding a way to improve healthcare services in Wales in years to come. Specifically, the document allowed officials, staff and public to look at various statistics and important cases that were deemed a danger to the public in order to grasp a sense of what actions needed to be taken in order for the NHS to work more efficiently and effectively.
In chapter 10. Influenza and Infection Control starting on page 59 of the document, the government looked more specifically at what influenza was, what effect it has on the public, and ways in which the virus can be prevented from spreading.
Influenza, commonly known as flu, affects the respiratory system (lungs and airways). It is the result of an infection that is caused by an influenza virus of either two types that affect humans. These are known as influenza A and influenza B, however, there are a range of differing sub-types within group A and B. This is because of a continual genetic change where the virus evolves and adapts to different conditions or attacks on the virus; as any other virus would. Symptoms of flu include:
The virus spreads in October and April, being spread easily from person to person. Flu has a significant impact on the building pressures on the NHS between December and March. Because of the genetic change a virus can take, people who have been immune to the virus in previous years can not be guaranteed to encounter it in the future. Therefore a new vaccine has to be developed each year to protect those vaccinated from viruses likely to be circulated in the following critical months of obtaining the flu. Those of the public who are most vulnerable to getting the flu include children between the ages of two and seven years of age, anyone over the age of 65, pregnant women, those under the age of 65 who would be likely to develop complications from the results of contracting the flu virus, and also health and social care workers who care for those that are vulnerable. The vaccination is offered free to the vulnerable.
I continued conducting research into the flu and looked on the official NHS website. The webpage provided more information in regards to giving information on what to do in the situation of dealing with the flu. This included more detail into symptoms of the flu, how to treat the flu yourself, how a pharmacist could help, when you should seek medical help and important information about how antibiotics won’t be able to help with the flu, how to avoid spreading the flu, and how to prevent it. Highlights of the webpage were boxes which featured important phone numbers, who is most at risk of developing complications, and when someone should call 999. The NHS mostly encouraged people to call 111 if they couldn’t seek access to speaking to their GP. The client at the first meeting had also mentioned that people who are suffering from the flu have seen the need to visit A&E instead of seeking help elsewhere. What I believe would be necessary is including information about the flu as well as encouraging people to get a vaccine to protect themselves from the virus, as to what was mentioned in the briefing.
I wanted to take a quick look at what the flu virus looked like under the microscope. This would give a possibility of me developing some interesting outcomes with regards to how I would use shapes, colours, and images. I referred to the CNN Website where a gallery of eight images were shown along with captions underneath.
Antibiotic resistance was an important topic brought up by our client in our first meeting. I visited a webpage where a short article was written, titled ‘Why Don’t Antibiotics Kill Viruses?‘ The article generalised how your body would become resistant to an antibiotic while doing nothing to improve symptoms of a viral infection. It explained this through a number of different reasons as to why viruses are resistant to antibiotics.
Antivirals would sometimes be prescribed to shorten the lifespan of the virus to help prevent further complications from arising, however it would needed to have been taken within the first 24-48 hours of the infection. An antibiotic could be prescribed later when the virus has encouraged a bacterial infection to grow, however it would not kill the virus. This is because viruses are structurally different from bacteria. Instead, viruses adapt and replicate to the conditions of a human cell. This is where vaccines would be effective because they contain antiviral ingredients. A vaccine works by stimulating the immune system so that cells can recognise and produce antibodies to fight off a future attack from a virus which could cause disease.
Another point that also came up in the meeting was sharing antibiotics with different people for when they contract a bacterial infection. Unfortunately not all bacterial infection will be killed by any antibiotic. A specific antibiotic would be prescribed to someone with a certain infection. The same article gave an example:
For example, amoxicillin (a penicillin-type drug) can be used to treat a strep throat but will not work for some common pneumonias or bladder infections. This is one reason why it is very important not to share your antibiotics with someone else. While you may mean well, the bacteria causing their infection may not be susceptible to your prescribed antibiotic. In turn, those bacteria may not die, and the infection can worsen. Plus, the person you share your antibiotic with may unnecessarily experience side effects from your drug. (https://www.drugs.com/article/antibiotics-and-viruses.html)
Further mentioned was the problem of the bacteria learning to ‘fight off’ the antibiotic by developing protective walls that can inactivate the antibiotic. Therefore, sharing antibiotics you have been prescribed is dangerous to the giver and receiver because the bacteria will fight off the antibiotic before you finish the course you will have been prescribed.
In more specific relevance to the brief, I briefly looked at controversy created by the media that has discouraged people to be willing to get a vaccination to protect them the flu. In an article written in the USA, the author has researched and discussed how many people have died from the flu every year since 2010, how controversy has piled up around vaccinations, and why this controversy still exists. Two factors were mentioned that contributed to vaccine hesitancy. They mentioned how a study from 2013 had found that people who are hesitant to getting the vaccine tend to rely on the internet as a source of information, even though the internet is filled with misinformation presented by the media and theorists. The second largest factor that was mentioned was a study that had investigated how the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine was a cause of autism in children that was written in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who has since been discredited by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) for fraudulent research. Due to the uproar of media on this case, despite the research being proved fraudulent, vaccinations dropped both in the US and the UK. Vaccination rates dropped so significantly in the UK that in some areas only 60% of children were being vaccinated, according to the BBC.
In an editorial published by the Edward Jenner Society, I saw a table which presented the types of fears that trigger vaccine hesitancy by different causes. What I liked about the content provided by this editorial was that it had offered solutions to how people can be encouraged to get a vaccine by persuasion, which would be very useful for the remainder of this project and future persuasion projects to come.
A few other articles that had caught my attention that didn’t have much reference to my research for this project are listed below.
To get to know my client more in order to establish their values, history, and aims, I now needed to conduct research into the agency. This would enable me to come up with some suitable ideas for the outcomes that we produce for the flu vaccination campaign. In order for my findings to be reliable, I referred to the Public Health Wales website which provided a range of reports and information regarding public health in Wales and history of the organisation.
Public Health Wales stands to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Wales, and helps to reduce inequalities regarding the health of those people. The agency reports to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport in the Welsh Government. A number of 1,700 staff are managed with a budget of £106 million. Together, they provide advice, expertise and specialist services to the Welsh Government, seven health boards, two NHS Trusts, 22 local authorities, other agencies, and to people living in Wales. This consists of public health knowledge, scientific expertise and intelligence to lead transformational change. Most importantly they drive a focus on making sure that improvements are made in the outcomes of health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities of people in Wales. The agency works closely with its partners (health boards and local authorities) to manage the promotion of health and wellbeing in areas of Wales.
The organisation was set up in October of 2009, established by the NHS Trust, as a means of:
providing and managing a range of public health, the protection, improvement of healthcare and health advisory, protection of children, and services relating to surveillance, prevention, and control of diseases in Wales
publishing information regarding health and protection in Wales available to the public, and maintaining and developing this information by commissioning research into these matters
analysing and collating information regarding the health of the public in Wales
providing, managing, monitoring, evaluating, and conducting research into screening of health conditions and screening of health-related matters
On the Public Health Wales website, they provided a clear diagram of what the agency do with their partners and the people of Wales:
In an annual report from 2016/17 published by Public Health Wales, on page 29-30 of the report a Strategic Priority of the agency was Developing the Organisation. Two case studies were published below this; one of which discussed the values of Public Health Wales. What the agency recognised was that the most valuable asset they had was their people. Instead of making it about what their people did, it was about how their people did it, which would reflect how they treated each other, how they approached their work and their behaviours and attitudes every day. The values they launched at their 2017 staff conference were working together-with trust and respect-to make a difference.