Week 3: Assessment 1 – Activity 2 – Design Activism

Viola Design works with non-profit organisation International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) to effect change in poverty and oppression in developing countries focusing on the Asia Pacific region.

Keeping in line with Thorpe’s approach that “activism is only effective in conjunction with broader campaigns and movements” (Thorpe, A. 2011, pg14), IWDA worked in “partnership with 195 women’s rights and alliances across every continent except Antarctica” (IWDA, 2015) and are now focusing on the Asia Pacific region. They have developed a number of  communication materials which incorporates the same ideals. These include fundraising brochures and newsletters.

I believe this campaign meets Thorpe’s criteria (2011, pg6) for design activism: as both organisations are calling out an issue and are working to advocate change for a neglected group of people, people who are poverty stricken and where women’s rights aren’t being heard, a group of people who may not be able to help themselves.

Below is an example of IWDA’s and Viola Design’s collaboration:

International Women's Development Agency

International Women’s Development Agency

(Viola Designs, 2007)

Thorpe, A. (2011).
Defining Design as Activism.
Retrieved July 2015 from http://designactivism.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Thorpe-definingdesignactivism.pdf

International Women’s Development Agency
Retrieved 24 July 2015 from: https://www.iwda.org.au/what-we-do/where-we-work/

Viola Designs (2015)
Retrieved 24 July 2015 from: http://www.violadesign.com.au/portfolio/international-womens-development-agency


Week 2 – Assessment 2: Task 1 – Data Visualisation

Over my years of studying without even realising, data visualisation has been a crucial part of my learning and development. Before I came to understand the different ways in which a person can learn, I had already begun developing in the ‘visual’ style.

If a person is a visual learner, meaning – “they learn best through seeing things” (Fleming 2015) then a visual representation of data has the ability to inform a person through one, or a set of images a lot quicker than a table or a lecture with the same information would.

To increase the chances of this information resonating with a person, the author can use a number of visualisation techniques. In the example provided below, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, a multi-award winning artist, scientist and faculty associate at Harvard, developed a digital clock, run by internet statistics which, according to Lozano-Hemmer “shows the current time according to eccentric metrics: it uses hundreds of different reference systems.”

In simple terms, the clock uses information found on the internet and displays the results on the clocks face. This information can range from “the number of animal species that become extinct per day, or the daily average number of breaths that a typical human takes” (Lozano-Hemmer, R.). At exactly noon every day, the clock refreshes itself and returns back to zero, hence the name Zero Noon.

Zero Noon

(Image source: Lozano-Hemmer, “Zero Noon”, 2013.)

The image above, shows that on this particular day,  there had already been 117 related tobacco deaths in the US since refreshing at noon that day.

In my opinion, I think this design is a good representation of the use of both mathematic and time-series visualisation techniques. For example, displaying only the results collected over time rather than including the equation behind them, and also having it ‘animated’ by the clock face continuously changing demonstrates Reas’ et al. (2010, p 135) point that “by using time as the ordering principle, changes become clearer.”

Fleming, G. (2015) Learning Styles. Retrieved July 15, 2015 from http://homeworktips.about.com/od/homeworkhelp/a/learningstyle.htm

Lozano-Hemmer, R. (2013) Zero Noon. Retrieved July 16, 2015 from

Reas, Casey, McWilliams, Chandler, Barendse, Jeroen (2010). Form+Code in Design, Art and Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press.

Week 1 – Activity 1: First things First and Ten footnotes to a manifesto – a comparison

As the title suggests – first things first…Rick Poynor, author of the year 2000 revised 1964 manifesto, proposes a “reversal of priorities in favor of the more useful…forms of communication“, (Poynor, Eye no.33 vol. 9, 1999) whilst maintaining the theme from Ken Garland’s original manifesto, Poynor dismisses a key point the original version acknowledges.

Although Garland does in deed write this sentence almost exact, identifying the need to focus their talents on avenues which required their attention more than the mainstream commercialisation of advertising, he was also identifying the need to maintain this side of graphic art – the side which was “inessential at best” (Poynor, Eye no.33 vol. 9, 1999) according to Poynor, as it was important and not realistic to abolish.

Ten Footnotes to a Manifesto while seeming to look like a critique is quite close to being the exact same view point that both Poynor and Garland stood for. In saying that, I do agree with what the manifesto is attesting, I also agree with what Michael Beirut says in his interview with Vivien Philizot “Designers, like doctors, should do no harm” (Beirut, 2007, Graphic Design and Metamorphoses: a few footnotes to a manifesto p. 44) and to not knowingly work for someone whose ethical or moral being competes with your own. You have the choice on who to design for: money, the company or yourself.