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5 Outline

Y Unit 14: Relevant quotes

Relevant quotes

“Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention. Many cultural interventions, social marketing campaigns, books, magazines, exhibitions, educational tools, television programs, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help.”

First Things First Manifesto 2000, “Emigre,” 1999, # 51

“Designers are the mediators of our daily experience. The easier my compost bucket is to use, the more comfortable my ride on the bus, and the more appealing my reusable grocery bag, the more likely I am to participate in environmentally sound practices. Designers cary a heavy responsibility, but at the same time they can offer our future the greatest gift.”

Gavin Newsom, Lt. Gavernor of California [in: Just Design by Christopher Simmons]

“Now is the time for designers to step up and use what they know how to do to help shape a positive future for people and the planet.”

John Bielenberg [in: Just Design by Christopher Simmons, p. 1]

“Why ‘social design’ here, now? What is society today, in certain parts of the world, such that it is not unusual to think that designers might have a role to play in reforming society? What is design that designers think reformed sociality is the outcome, if not also the means, of what designers do?”

Cameron Tonkinwise, Director of Design Studies, Carnegie Mellon University, ‘Social Design and the Age of Neoliberalism’, [in: Social Design Futures, HEI Research and the AHRC by Leah Armstrong Jocelyn Bailey Guy Julier Lucy Kimbell, p. 3]

“Social design cannot be a subspecialty of the design profession (like graphic design, package design, product design, service design, and so on), but is a larger activity that depends upon design in all its forms–thought, processes, tools, methodologies, skills, histories, systems–to contribute to the needs of larger society. It implies at once an attitude and an approach to life: as such, it can help us frame how we want to live in the future. It is therefore inherently pragmatic and results-oriented, simultaneously humble and ambitious, and fundamentally optimistic and forward-looking.”

William Drenttel [in Designing for Social Change by Andrew Shea, p. 7]

“This is not to suggest that so-called ‘good’ design is necessarily better design; bus schedules, product labels, freeway signs and ballots are all critical elements of our designed society. In these experiences there can be no righteousness. They are, importantly, neutral. Nevertheless, they require skillful design—just as the most mundane products and incidental experiences must also be designed. Collectively these fabricate the visual landscape of our culture.”

Christopher Simmons, Just Design p. 4

“Creative for the sake of being creative is fine, but here, the creative has to serve the mission.”

Diana Berno, [in: Just Design by Christopher Simmons, p. 186, 2011]

“I want designers to rewrite the rule book, cut back on the idle talk and engage the world as creative citizens.”

Emily Pilloton, [in: Just Design by Christopher Simmons, p. 76, 2011]

“We need to learn and see designers as creators in the service of society, where — according to contemporary sociology — ‘everybody is a designer’” …

Ezio Manzini, Alternatywne światy, “2+3D” nr 13, p. 52

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í Unit 14: Overview and Assignment

How and to what extent can design change, or influence the world around us?

There have never been times like these: technology, politics, environmental challenges, and social unrest are colliding with remarkable force, shaking the earth and its inhabitants to the core. Can designers make a difference in this complicated world, and if so how? We often hear about design as a tool for change. This Unit asks you to question this premise, to look closely at the world around you, at both large and small-scale issues, and identify areas where design has made change.

According to William Drenttel, even the prosocial design has got its “darker side”: “It privileged the teacher, not the students; the client, not the user; the provider, not the person in need. It was too often design about design, design for the sake of design, designers preaching to one another about design’s capability to create impact.”

In this unit it’s time we stopped focusing on us-designers. Let’s not promote our own style and expression. Let’s not tell any story (more or less interesting to ordinary mortals). Let’s not experiment (formally). Let’s focus on the users and their needs instead. Can we imagine a project that would yield tangible positive results?

“The time to act as a community is now.”—Rosanne Somerson, President of RISD

The necessary minimum for positive grade is preparing the scenario-based design (including analysis/research, prototyping/designing, action/event, consequences/evaluation) and designing the key elements of a project (see schedule). The students should be encouraged, however, to implement the project and evaluate its efficacy (during last week or even after the fall session).

Issues to consider

– probably design cannot change the world. The question is what it can change and how.

– is it possible to start with a person and develop from there (rather than starting with an issue and “applying” the solution to the person)? Or maybe it is better to start with a global issue and consider how to work it out locally based on studying the user, researching the user, understanding their needs and behavior?

– how would you interpret the well-known slogan “Think globally act locally”?

– how can we change someone’s behavior or mind with design?

– how can we help someone who needs something with design?

– how can we identify and/or address a broken system?

– how can a designer use systems and typography when trying to say something useful (to an individual vs a community vs a whole country)

– how can designers use scale and language to make an actual change (ways: micro and macro).

Learning Objectives

– developing the critical outlook at the discipline of graphic design

– analysis of socially involved graphic designs (ideology/propaganda/activism)

– defining areas, where graphic design directly affects user’s awareness

– shaping attitudes of an activist-designer

Proposed schedule [to be discuss with teacher]

Wed. Nov 18

Introduction talk / presentation

Homework (Analysis & Development): Defining the area of design activity (what the project refers to, e.g. improving visual communication of public transport system, discrimination, freedom of speech in the academic units, helping the homeless, hate speech in politics, revitalization of town districts, activating the local community). Research (what requires improvement/intervention). Research into existing solutions. Developing three initial concept designs (sketches, descriptions), including a proper strategy and medium (Facebook, poster, intervention in the public space, video etc.). Print results (any format).

Mon. Nov 23

discussion / initial concepts review

Presentation of the homework (area of activity, project problem statement, three initial concept designs) in printed form (any format). Discussion. Review of the concepts; choosing one proposition.

Homework (Scenario-based Design): Preparing a presentation (keynote/pdf) of a scenario-based design on the selected initial concept. The scenario should include:

1. detailed project description

2. implementation strategy/action

3. project’s impact on the surroundings/environment (how the design should work)

4. assumed process, changes/results

5. suggested project efficacy evaluation method

Wed. Nov 25

No class held (Thanksgiving break)

Mon. Nov 30

discussion / scenario review

Presentation of the selected scenario. Discussion. Scenario review.

Homework (Prototyping): Preparing the preliminary design of the key elements/prototyping (individually defining the detailed scope of a project with the teacher). Form of presentation in correspondence with the project scenario.

Wed. Dec 2

discussion / project review

Presentation of the project. Discussion. Project review.

Open studios – possibility of review with other teachers.

Homework: Developing the final form of a project.

Mon. Dec 7

discussion / finishing touch

Discussion on the best means of project presentation on Wednesday, December 9th. The finishing touches.

Homework (Presentation): Preparing the Wednesday presentation.

Wed. Dec 9

Walk about / project presentation

Presentation of the design scenario along with the selected elements of the project.

Evaluation  [to be discuss with teacher]

Gravity of the problem and correct defining of the project goal; research into existing solutions; inventiveness; potential level of improvement of the selected area; clarity of project presentation.

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Y Unit 13: Some Food-related films

Babettes Feast
Supersize Me
Food, Inc.
Big Night
Eat Drink Man Woman
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and her Lover


And just FYI, via the RISD library, MOVIES!!!
Entire criterion collection + more!

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Y Unit 13 some useful links

Food s love, food is joy, ritual pleasure. It is essential, healthy, delicious, local, gorgeous, and bountiful.
Food is also political, complex, a privilege. Food is power, scarce, badly produced, overly processed, toxic.
What is YOUR point of view?
How can you, a designer, express your POV persuasively, knowledgeably, and convincingly?
Final Visual Narrative (media is open) due WEDNESDAY NOV 19th.
Here are some interesting related links / ideas:
THIS COLOSSAL / FOOD-themed subjects
*the first two stories pertain to food


KARA WALKER – On Subtlety

Interesting in regards to presentation as a format:
– Robert Heatherington – Performance and the Construction of Identity






best viewed on computer not phone


Other topics/people to look up

– K-Hole consumer reports http://khole.net/issues/05/

– Andrea Fraser – lectures as performance

– Hito Steyrl – Is the Museum a Battlefield?

– Charlotte Cheetham – Slide Shows series

*In regards to subverting aesthetic and established systems

– Yes Men

– Culture Jamming

– Détournement – adbusters

– armchair activism






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í Unit 13: Overview & Assignment

How can designers engage audiences around issues pertaining to the most fundamental human activity of all: FOOD?

This project asks you to consider all the ramifications of its procurement, consumption, ritual, and economies.

In our ever more global world, one thing we all have in common is the need to eat.

Our bodies need food for sustenance, and our souls need to gather with others for the health of our communities and for human contact. Design is complicit in how we think or know about food and how we buy it, see it, use it, learn about its politics and problems, its rituals and complexities. We are asking students to consider their own position and or interests and points of view around of: Food and Food Culture, in the context of food as part of a system of production and consumption, distribution and procurement.

Consider how the process of production, consumption, and other food/dining activities contribute to massive environmental change; which has produced 19 to 29 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions per year and deeply impacts the environmental changes that are taking place.



1) phase one:

>> Information design (project given Mon Nov 2 Due Mon Nov 9)

>> Unit 03 asks you to consider and choose among the suggested topics one of them.

>> Investigate its background Information that are related to your topic.

>> Find articles, websites, news sources, videos, books etc.

>> Evaluate, edit, organize your data to its very basic facts and core.

>> Develop a comprehensive and well-researched and knowledgeable presentation of your research and information. Show your content, drawings, and maps, and make digram(s) charts, show statistics, etc. to tell your story through the quantitative and qualitative aspect of information design (like the previous work shop study).

Format 24 x 36 poster.

Learning Goal: To develop a qualitative and quantitative understanding of information

Unit Objective: To encourage designers to engage in critical cultural and global issues.


2) phase two: Visual Narrative (project given Mon Nov 9 Due Wed Nov 18)

Based on your phase one project, begin to draw, sketch, develop a formal  visual story with rhetorical narrative attitude.

It should define your narrative voice and position.

Use any media including: visual narrative, text, image, sound performance, projection, etc.

Goal is to engage your audience.

Medium is open to the most appropriate and communicative format.



Chemical agriculture
Other agricultural practices can impact the climate. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are widely used in agriculture, and are often made from fossil fuels. Manufacturing and transporting these chemicals uses significant quantities of energy and produces greenhouse gases.

Local food
Where your food comes from is also a factor. Currently, the average meal travels 1200 km from the farm to plate. Food that is grown closer to home will therefore have fewer transportation emissions associated with it, and also be fresher and support local farmers. And as the distance food travels decreases, so does the need for processing and refrigeration to reduce spoilage.

Food and health
We are what we eat, and getting it right can significantly slow the clock down

The one dietary approach that has consistently been found to extend the life span of animals is simply to feed them less. A diet based on natural, nutrient-packed foods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils will help the body get by on less without the need to go hungry. Drinking plenty of water has been linked with a reduced risk of major killers including heart disease and cancer, and helps to prevent overeating too.

Food waste
America has a wasteful food culture because of the pattern of our eating, and that kind of diet is one we’re unfortunately exporting to the rest of the world.  one third of the world’s food is wasted before it is consumed  In the developed world most of the waste happens at the consumer end, when food spoils in grocery stores or in refrigerators. Most of the waste in the developing world happens on the farm as a consequence of inefficient storage and processing facilities.

Each year 1.3bn tonnes of food, about a third of all that is produced, is wasted, including about 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat.

Price volatility
The price of food is wildly volatile. In 2008, the United Nations Food Price Index almost doubled in less than a year before crashing in 2009. Prices then shot up again in 2010 and 2011. Despite this volatility, our supply of food stayed stable throughout this period. This suggests that the price of food is not determined by our ability to produce food at a global level.

Food additives
Do we choose the product that is “free from artificial sweetener” or has “no MSG”? What about the one that “contains no GM” Researchers have become uneasy about the use of iron in our diets. It brings dietary advantages to many, but problems for others. Folic acid, wheat, soya, nuts, shellfish and milk products bring benefits – but can pose risks. Dealing with occasionally dangerous trace ingredients is a vexed issue.

Organic food
Organic food has more of the antioxidant compounds linked to better health than regular food, and lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides, according to the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date. There are “statistically significant, meaningful” differences, with a range of antioxidants being “substantially higher” – between 19% and 69% – in organic food.

Processed food
The IARC’s experts concluded that each 50-gram (1.8-ounce) portion of processed meat eaten daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

Global food system
The most important thing to know about the global food system is also one of the least appreciated: there is enough food for everyone on the planet to live a healthy and nutritious life. In fact, the UN tells us that there is about 2,800 kcal per person per day available. But, the global food system is deeply inequitable. There are about 842 million people hungry on the planet, while at the same time there are about 1.5 billion who are overweight or obese.

Environmental impact
The way we’re producing our food is impacting our environment. Agriculture is responsible for 75% of deforestation worldwide, and is the largest contributor of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions. We’re also rapidly losing marine food sources. In 2010, 53% of fisheries were fully exploited (pdf), 28% were overexploited, 3% were depleted, and 1% were recovering from depletion.

Corporate control
A very small number of corporations control the vast majority of the world’s food trade: four companies produce more than 58% of the world’s seeds; four global firms account for 97% of poultry genetics research and development; yet another four produce more than 60% of the agrochemicals farmers use.


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B Unit 12 Link to Lecture/PDF

Here is the link to a PDF of my Unit 12 Intro / keynote lecture.


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Y definition of Space vs Place

From Wiley-Blackwell Guide to Human Geography

… According to Yi Fu Tuan, specialist in human geography, “The ideas ‘space’ and ‘place’ require each other for definition:

“Space is more abstract than place. What begins as undifferentiated space becomes ‘place’ as we get to know it better and endow it with value. … From the security and stability of place we are aware of the openness, freedom, and threat of space, and vice versa. Furthermore, if we think of space as that which allows movement, then place is pause; each pause in movement makes it possible for location to be transformed into place.

In Tuan’s view…place refers to the process by which every day life is inscribed in space and given meaning for specific groups of people and their organizations. P’ace is thus created from space when people care about it, either positively or negatively— when they invested with their time, money, fear, anxiety, love, and antagonism. This is what Tuan means when he describes place as a “field of care” and distinguishes it from the more impersonalized arena of space. Although places are typically perceived as local, due primarily to the sense of familiarity that we associate with them, there is no inherent reason to limit our thinking to this scale. “Place exists at different scales” Tuan writes, “at one extreme a favorite armchair is a place, at the other extreme the whole earth.”

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