Final Alterations – Steps 4 Pets

App Icon

Image result for change 4 life

Here is my original App Logo. Although I was happy with the overall design language. I realised there was a disconnect between this and the posters I had created. There was also no hint in the app design itself that the project is one under the ‘Change 4 Life’ banner. I have since made some rather large alterations.

App Icon 2

Here is my final design. Along with the posters, it will be the basis of my final submission. As you can see, it holds far more in common with the ‘Change 4 Life’ logo. I have utilized the colour scheme for both the background and the lettering. I have also used the closest approximation to the typeface as I could create. My decision to use capital letters is due to the real size the app icon will eventually be constrained to, namely around a square inch.

Along with my posters, I believe I have created a comprehensive design language to convey my idea which I also believe to be strong.

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Persuasion – Developing my Idea

For the first project in my persuasion module I have been tasked with creating a campaign on a topic chosen by myself from a list. I chose to focus on health.

Originally I had hoped to do a campaign focusing on voluntary euthanasia. I explained in a previous blog post, my reasons for initially choosing this topic and for rejecting it after further research. I have now decided to focus on fitness and well-being. I decided to do my work under the banner of Change4Life. A government organisation run through the NHS in order to educate and encourage families to adopt healthier life choices in terms of diet and exercise.

My focus, while on the entire family unit, is specifically primary aged children. My reasoning behind the is that much of a child’s diet and exercise habits and choices are determined by the lifestyle of their parents.

The app concept is one that would allow a child to care for a pet avatar. The avatar would represent a pet that would need walking and caring for. The completion of tasks such as going to the park or taking a certain number of steps a day, would generate rewards which would allow the user to build their avatar in certain ways, such as increasing its abilities and buying unique items for them.

My research has been quite extensive,  this has allowed me to target my audience very closely. My idea is that young children will need supervision to accomplish the tasks set out for them in order to earn rewards and many will need a parent to download the free app. This will encourage all parties to get out and be more active.

Initially I intended to create a tamagochi type device which would be cheaply purchased and allow the child to have control of the avatar entirely independently. But it became clear that this would create a financial barrier to entry for the programme. Of course, a phone is still required, but according to www.statista.com that should be less of an issue.

Capture

Creating the app is one thing. But I had to build an entire design language that would be appropriate for the audience and work in multiple contexts. I elected to use a series of arcade style icon in bright, block colors and to begin by creating a number of posters.

 

I decided to make my posters as minimalist as possible in order to hold children’s attention. Too much information may be off-putting. Each poster contains an icon of an item that can be earned or collected in the game and each bestows its unique benefits. I wanted to make the experience of this game one of development and positive reinforcement.

This idea is partially inspired by the game Pokemon Go, where a player uses their phone’s GPS and camera to find Pokemon to capture as well as various rewards, in a similar vein to geocaching. This may seem strange as Pokemon go went from a sensation to a distant memory in a matter of months. I believe this is due to its lack of reward for persistence and its lack of variety and development as you play. This Role Playing format is very popular, for example:

  • Club Penguin was a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), involving a virtual world that contained a range of online games and activities. It was created by New Horizon Interactive (now known as Disney Canada Inc.). Players used cartoon penguin-avatars and played in a winter-set virtual world. Club Penguin was made available to the general public on October 24, 2005, and expanded into a large online community, such that by late 2007, it was claimed Club Penguin had over 30 million user accounts.[2] As of July 2013, Club Penguin had over 200 million registered user accounts
  • World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. With a peak of 12 million subscriptions in October 2010 and Blizzard’s final report of 5.5 million subscriptions in October 2015, World of Warcraft remains the world’s most-subscribed MMORPG, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most popular MMORPG by subscribers. In January 2014, Blizzard announced that more than 100 million accounts had been created over the game’s lifetime.

I believe there are a number of reasons for the success of these games. One was the community network aspect. Players had a huge number of fellows and could play and compete against strangers. There is also the aspect of character development. Both game featured a standard unadorned avatar as the starting character which could be improved and personalised, giving the player a feeling of accomplishment.

I plan for this app to incorporate both of these elements. The avatar will be a dog, a number could be chosen, their names as well as their fur patterns could be chosen by the player. They would then work towards training their pet and purchasing items for it. They would also have other features such as the ability to compare their achievements with other players on local or even national leader boards.  I would also have daily or weekly challenges that would vary from week to week, keeping the game from becoming too repetitive.

I designed this graphic to illustrate my idea.

Iphone mockup

As you can see, the app would be entirely self contained, requiring nothing but a mobile phone. I decided that since the purpose of the app is to encourage healthy life changes, there should be local events page that would allow users to advertise for activities and events. These could be a chat function allowing members to communicate within groups to organise various events.

My Thoughts

I do have my concerns that I am focusing too much on the functionality of the application rather than the design language it would employ. The two are so intertwined and so, what might work on a printed page, may not translate all that well into a an app on a small phone screen.

I will continue to advance and refine this idea as I have found inspiration for additions and features comes faster than I can implement it.

Dissertation Research Proposal – Process & Development

Process and Development

My process for this project has been a simple one. I am enthusiastic and interested in the topics I have brought up in my dissertation research proposal, I can’t be considered to have much expertise in any of the relevant topics, I am simply a curious lay person. What I was immediately drawn to doing was drawing from my own knowledge gained through reading articles from publications such as the New Scientist and National Geographic magazines for which my brother has subscriptions. I simply borrow them and skim the articles I find most intriguing.

It is in the nature of these topics that they should hold a human-interest element. After all, they are entirely intertwined with the human experience. Why wouldn’t we want to know more about ourselves? The entirety of scientific endeavour is centred on the motivation to come to understand more about ourselves and our place in the Universe. Now, for this research proposal I stand, almost entirely on the shoulders of scientific visionaries who first determined the nature of aspect of human perception and understanding. What I aim for is simply a glimpse into the world in which they work.

Rather than bury myself in academic literature in order to find a worthy topic of study to focus on. I have begun my search by drawing from incomplete knowledge and factoids collected over the years that have stuck with me due to their fascinating nature. Pop science, as it is called, has allowed me to get my foot in the door with many of these topics. This, then, is my basis for study. The things I have gleamed from shows such as QI, that is where I first came to know about the Rorschach ink blot test for example.

What I found most effective in developing my essay, was to search literature, be that academic articles, books or web pages, that featured they key words I knew of but did not have the full grasp of. I then took it upon myself to delve deeply into these areas of thought and learn from previous works and derive from them a basis for my dissertation research proposal.

This was my rationale for studying Pareidolia in my original essay. The phenomenon is but one of many, but it is so tangible to any person, regardless of their education in the relevant field. If a person was to pause and look around, they are likely to see that at least one object in their field of view, could, no matter how abstract the form, find a pattern within it that could be construed as a face. Not only this, but it is likely that they could describe the expression of the face, it could look haggard and old or friendly and open. These side effects of our evolution are fascinating to me as they show how much of our day to day lives are ruled by unconscious decision making.

This essay, of course, is simply a signal of intention and to some extent a scaffolding which provides the skeleton of my dissertation, so alterations may occur by the time it reaches its final incarnation. It does not define my future work, it simply informs the direction of my inquiry.

Although I have not specifically addressed and researched thoroughly the ideas of the unconscious mind. I would like to delve deeper into the idea that our minds are changed before we even realise it. There are numerous scientific theories and experiments that suggest that we are not in control of our own actions. That, in fact, our minds are made up before we consciously make a decision. Although we do not realise it, the cards are already dealt. To understand further, the way in which our minds work, and this phenomenon operates would be fascinating to me.

I have to admit, the reason I chose this topic, was less to do with its value to my practice, originally, but more of a fascinating topic to me personally. I find it very difficult to write extensively on a topic that does not hold my attention. Happily, however, the topic of human perception and psychology is incredibly broad and its value and relation to the day to day world and more specifically, graphic communication, is very clear.

I doubt there are many people who, when shown a phenomenon such as the Rorschach ink blot test or the various incarnations of the grid illusion, would not recognise them, as they have permeated popular culture quite significantly, or at the very least, to see and comprehend the illusion or the furtherance of perception that they cause in them. That is their value to me as subjects of study and as references supporting my ideas. They are not complex at their core. The explanations as to why they cause us to see what is not necessarily there, or more fully explainable as, why they alter our perception, is more complex. But I aim to draw people into the study of these phenomena slowly, without bombarding them with jargon and overly complex ideas.

One issue I have found while researching this board subject, have been to find scholarly, peer reviewed articles that appear in reputable journals. That is not say that they are not there to find. But often they are so focused and in-depth and shed light on only a very specific set of ideas, that they are little use to me in writing this essay. They are also often so specialised and complex in their proposals, that I almost feel that I cannot justify using them as I do not have a firm grasp on the ideas proposed.

Development of my dissertation research proposal has been hugely informative to me, I have come to learn much and I hope that this accumulated knowledge will serve me well in writing my dissertation.

 

 

Research – Regeneration Research, Enterprise Education Hub (RREEH)

The Regeneration Research, Enterprise and Education Hub (RREEH) was set
up in 2016 to bring together people with interests in supporting community
regeneration. The Hub’s vision statement is:
To empower local communities to address environmental and economic
regeneration and social inclusion through the co-production of knowledge.

It is an organisation dedicated to integrating itself into the communities it serves to find novel solutions and support their own development.

For this brief I am asked to fulfil a number of key requirements set by the organisation.

  • a memorable name that people will associate with excellence in
    community regeneration;

The current name is very drawn out and could be easily shortened and refined without the message being degraded. Possible examples:

  1. Regeneration Hub
  2. Community Hub
  3. Together for Change
  •  typography which reflects inclusivity – people are welcome in
    this community;

Warmth and closeness in a manner that draws the eye and begins its message with an invitation to participate. The emphasis must be on openness and equality. Emphasising participation of any group in particular may give the impression that they are favoured.

I had considered a ring of some kind, exemplifying the message of togetherness, but this may suggest that there is no room for new participants. Possibly a ring of people or of some other symbol with a space left free for whoever might be interested.

‘We saved you a seat. Come and get involved.’

  •  colour palette which feels welcoming – people belong to this
    community;

Any community project or organisation will of course need to reflect the numerous ethnicities, cultures, religions and concerns of those it serves. Including a spectrum of colours for example would encompass people of all stripes. Any room of people will likely contain old and young, sick and well, liberal and conservative etc. Every effort must be made to avoid showing bias to one group or another, even inadvertently though symbolism.

  •  logo which communicates togetherness – people connect
    together in this community;

An emphasis of the increased power to create change that is afforded by working as a community. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Possibly a reference to a ‘great melting pot’ which would symbolise the mixture of varying personal identities that make up the whole that is the community.

  •  communication spaces – where people gather online as a
    community to share ideas, stories and news – using existing web-spaces, e.g. social media, video-conferencing, collaborative
    workspaces, and CardiffMet microsites.

With regards to this concern, there are numerous social media outlets that can be utilised for free to begin with. As a community organisation I would assume that funding is not infinite and so any use of free space to help the organisation function and reach people is surely a great boost.

There are also applications such as Google Docs which would allow people to collaborate effectively in drawing up plans, illustrating their proposals and editing one another’s work in order to refine it as far as possible.

Message boards that allow people to create groups that are open to all comers who are interested in addressing a particular concern would be vital as they would allow the sharing of ideas to reach the ideal solution to whatever the issue may be.

Everything must be open and accessible to prevent some members of any given community leveraging their collective power against another group or in a way that is against their best interests.

My Thoughts

This is only a preliminary viewing of the project parameters but I am confident that I already have some solid basis for which direction I wish to proceed. I will follow this post with more detailed ones exploring each aspect of the project brief on an individual basis.

 

 

Nudge Theory

Wikipedia/Nudge Theory 

Nudge is a concept in behavioural science, political theory and economics which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals. Nudging contrasts with other ways to achieve compliance, such as education, legislation or enforcement. The concept has influenced British and American politicians. Several nudge units exist around the world at the federal level (UK, Germany, Japan and others) as well as at the international level (OECD, World Bank, UN).

Nudges are small changes in environment that are easy and inexpensive to implement. Several different techniques exist for nudging, including defaults, social proof heuristics, and increasing the salience of the desired option.

A default option is the option an individual automatically receives if he or she does nothing. People are more likely to choose a particular option if it is the default option.For example, Pichert & Katsikopoulos found that a greater number of consumers chose the renewable energy option for electricity when it was offered as the default option.

A social proof heuristic refers to the tendency for individuals to look at the behaviour of other people to help guide their own behaviour. Studies have found some success in using social proof heuristics to nudge individuals to make healthier food choices.

When an individual’s attention is drawn towards a particular option, that option will become more salient to the individual, and he or she will be more likely to choose to that option. As an example, in snack shops at train stations in the Netherlands, consumers purchased more fruit and healthy snack options when they were relocated next to the cash register.

Examples

US Imprints 

Aim for the Fly

The urinal fly nudge is a well known mind hack that originated at the Amsterdam airport, but can now be seen in urinals all over the globe. By having images of flies etched near the drains of the bathroom urinals, spillage on the bathroom floor was reduced by 80%

A picture of a urinal fly

Dollar a Day

he Dollar a day program is an ambitious program established in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1990, with other cities experimenting with the program since. The program aims to decrease the rate of teenage births by focusing on decreasing the rate of further pregnancies in teenage mothers.

Because the payment is recurring, it serves as constant encouragement for young mothers to take necessary steps to avoid another pregnancy, while also posing the potential to decrease taxpayer spending (the state spent $392 million on teen childbirths in 2008). The state’s peak birth rate in teens is down 55% from what its high in 1991, and part of that is significant decrease can be credited to a program based off of nudging behaviour.

Opt Out Organ Donation 

Wales has recently joined a list of countries which now require citizens to opt out of becoming an organ donor. This small change has led to huge increases in the availability to organs for those who require transplants. The scheme is simple and ingenious as it places only a small demand on those who wish to stay off the organ donor registry, they simply indicate their wish to be removed from the list. But the greatest loss for those who need new organs has always been those who may well be happy to give their organs but have never bothered to opt in. That step has now been removed and countries that have instituted this new system have reported far higher availability of donor organs.

Croatia’s Musical Stairs 

I was made aware of this invention by my lecturers who used it as an example of behaviour change by nudging. The idea is very simple, there is a new incentive to take the stairs (the healthy option) over the escalator (the sedentary option)  and thus, the use of the stairs as a percentage of pedestrian traffic, increases dramatically.

My Thoughts 

These nudges represent a core concept I was to take full advantage of in my project. I’ve learned first hand how unlikely a person is to make a long term lifestyle change if the disruption to them is more than absolutely minimal. I’ve had friends ask for gym training and decide to go four times a week before giving it up in a fortnight because it’s too hard and disruptive to their day to day life. It only remains for me to find a way of implementing this directly into my campaign with my own examples of Nudge Theory.

Lifestyle and Health – research

GOV.UK

Infographic explaining how much physical activity to do

Everyone should be encouraged to reduce the amount of sedentary time by:

  • reducing time spent watching TV, using a computer or playing video games
  • taking regular time not sitting during work
  • breaking up sedentary time, such as swapping a long bus or car journey for walking part of the way

Declining levels of physical activity

People in the UK are around 20% less active now than in the 1960s. If current trends continue, we will be 35% less active by 2030.

Increasing car use is a major contributing factor to lower levels of physical activity in the UK. In 1961, 69% of households did not own a car or van, but by 2012 this had decreased to 25%.

Figures from the Health Survey for England show that 67% of men and 55% of women aged 16 and over do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

Infographic showing how active we are

Lack of physical activity is costing the UK an estimated £7.4 billion a year, including £0.9 billion to the NHS alone.

Long term conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory disease lead to greater dependency on home, residential and ultimately nursing care. This drain on resources is avoidable, as is the personal strain it puts on families and individuals.

Health Risk Reductions due to exercise 

Infographic showing the health benefits of physical activity

Physical activity is also important for people diagnosed with cancer and cancer survivors. Physical activity after treatment for cancer can help to reduce:

  • the impact of some side effects
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • impaired mobility
  • weight changes

Macmillan has estimated that there are 2 million cancer survivors in the UK and around 1.6 million do not meet the recommended levels of physically active.

Other positive outcomes of physical activity include:

  • a sense of purpose and value
  • a better quality of life
  • improved sleep
  • reduced stress

Infographic showing physical activity rates per region of England

Healthy at work

With 70% of the adult population in employment, there is strong evidence that workplace physical activity programmes are effective. These can include:

  • flexible working policies and incentive schemes
  • policies to encourage employees to walk or cycle
  • information, ongoing advice and support
  • independent health checks focused on physical activity

 

Penguin Book Cover Submission – Animal Farm

As part our our course work we were asked to design a book cover for either or both of two classic books; Animal Farm by George Orwell or Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

I was immediately drawn to Animal Farm as I find Orwell’s work to be shocking and vivid. Animal Farm is his classic which uses the revolt of farm animals as an allegory for the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The reason it’s influence is so long lasting and pervasive. Is that the topics explored of devious political maneuvering and corruption can be applied to so many administrations including contemporary ones.

While I found myself drawn to this book, it’s popularity was a double edged sword. As a result of its commercial success, numerous book cover designs have been created. To put it simply, a lot of the best ideas have been taken.

 

As you can tell, there is somewhat of a theme in the book. I had to find an effective and visual appealing cover that would not be simply a reworking of existing designs. Basically, make it look nice, be implicitly descriptive of the books themes and don’t just shove a pig in the centre of the page.

After experimenting with numerous ideas and visual style, I elected to go with an effect I have always been interested in. I wanted to build a silhouette of a windmill. After the image of the pig, the windmill is certainly one of the most important themes of the book.

I was very pleased with my early outcomes, the only bumps in the road I was worried about were the over simplicity of my designs, as well as the fact that the line tracing pieces were quite intricate in their own way and so would become very difficult to make out once all the cover copy was applied, the blurb and title would do a lot to obscure the details and diminish the effect.

I decided to stick with the windmill silhouette as i liked the contrast it gave my page and it has a rather gaunt and rustic look as if it was cobbled together by sentient farm animals. What I now needed to do was find a way of bringing more depth and texture to a very flat and sparsely detailed piece.

IMG_20180302_0002.jpgI used a number of acrylic paints to create a textured image somewhat reminiscent of a vibrant skyline. The colour was intended to combine a skyline with the thematically important shade of green. This colour clearly represents the ideology of the early animal farm, symbolising freedom from oppression.

I also painted and edited some of the key text from the book, First, i daubed the words ‘Animal Farm’ and then the most famous quote from the book ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ These turned out very well.

IMG_20180304_144208.jpg

I used black paint on white paper before inverting the colours and increasing the contrast to allow the type to sit perfectly on my silhouette without losing the rough edges that are so important to the painted texture effect.

Book Cover silloutte.jpg

At this point I started building up my layers. The key concept for this book cover was for the front cover to represent the beginning of the revolt. The infectious atmosphere of optimism and new found freedom. The windmill acting as a centrepiece and a symbol of all of the animals efforts.

The rear cover then, was the downfall of Animal Farm as an idea. The windmill is broken, as were the spirits of the animals and the ideology of Old Major. The sky has also turned red to symbolise the return of the human way of life, as now dictated by the pigs. The broken windmill was created by simply cutting parts from the complete windmill and arranging them in a dishevelled and dilapidated manner. I also wanted to fade the ‘Animal Farm’ text, but I decided to leave some areas lighter that would spell out the word ‘LIAR’ the symbolise the betrayal the the principles of Animalism that occurred.

Final Piece in minion.jpg

Here then, is my final outcome. I was very happy with the finished product especially since it was almost entirely the work of a weekend. Up until very near to the deadline I was tooling around with endless ideas that would not produce anything to the standard I wished to produce. This then is pretty much as good as I could do with the time I had. I’m very happy with it and it’s now simply a case of waiting for feedback from the Penguin Publishing judges.