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.

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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.

 

 

Web Design

In the end I decided that I wanted to make an interactive website to project my visual work in one clean, easily navigated source. I had originally intended to build a website from scratch before finding out it would be beyond me to do so in the timeframe allowed.

From that point I had decided on an animation. However by happy accident I found that my earlier research on visual storytelling:

online https://www.dtelepathy.com/blog/inspiration/30-compelling-examples-of-visual-storytelling-on-the-web

I decided to investigate website template products. I found that websites like SquareSpace and Wix could facilitate most of the effects I wanted without the need for coding. I was infatuated with the concept of parallax scrolling and other visual effects. These were available to me.

I wanted a double layered site. The front portion would be the meat of the site, the information, the graphics and written work. The background would consist of relevant images that would help guide the narrative. I also wanted the website to be entirely simple to use. Allowing a viewer to simply scroll down to access all of the information in a clean package.

Here is the result: https://davidrothwell96.wixsite.com/mananddog

I have to mention, the editor fought me every step of the way, with elements moving and disappearing when I switched between devices and screen ratios. I had originally intended for the third animation (the 10 countries with the highest dog population) to include buttons in the shape of the countries concerned that would display further information when the cursor was passed over them. I did this only to come back to it, the day of the project and find that they had all been removed without explanation.

My Thoughts

This was a very exciting and challenging brief to complete. I honestly wish we could be set a task and then reset the same task again immediately after so that all the bugs and mistakes we made the first time could be eliminated and we could produce new work of much higher quality.

Further Complicating Matters

As I have already outlined in my blog, I have decided to combine a website and animation as a means of showing my info graphic designs. What I have now come to the realisation of, is that I would like to add another element to this. It is perfectly easy to have, in my online maps, hyperlinks which would then show further information. My idea is to create a series of maps detailing various worldwide statistics as well as highlighting the locations and dates of certain important instances.

These would include:

  • First archaeological evidence of domesticated dogs
  • Locations of important dogs (largest, smallest, most expensive, rarest, fastest etc.)
  • Locations of news stories involving dogs (disaster response, protection, lifeguard, firefighting etc.)
  • Working breeds (hunting dogs, guard dogs, sled dogs)

Other examples may follow but these are simply off the top of my head. I may have a short time in which to do this, but now that I have inspiration I will be able to proceed quickly and efficiently. I work well under pressure.

One other advantage to this idea is that the maps could double as printed ephemera with very little extra work. I will show my research and progress in later blog posts.

Refinement of my Idea

Throughout this task I have been determined to create a website as the basis for my infographic, a linear scrolling sight which would give the information in a narrative format. What I quickly realised in researching this, was the level of coding required to do this and my lack of said skills. I haven’t been put off however.

What I have now decided to do is create a series of animations. These brief slides will contain facts and figures, combining visual and typographic media to create a visually pleasing, educational animated video.

My idea here, is to create the clips individually before slicing them together with various transition slides and then possibly recording a voice over. The clips will hopefully therefore, become a seamless video. They will also, however, have another purpose.

Having kept these clips distinct from one another, I can turn them into gifs or other handy small file formats and paste them directly into a website. Using a template company such as Wix or WordPress, I can create something akin to the site I originally had in mind while avoiding the coding problem. I do actually intend to learn coding as the skill will be invaluable to me in future instances like this. But the tie constraints mean I haven’t got a chance of learning the method and creating the sight in the allotted time.

Here is my animated logo, which will double as the intro to my video. It is brief and simplistic, but I wanted a quick and concise method of information conveyance. One thing I have found consistently in my favourite examples of infographics is that they all follow relatively simplistic graphic style, there are minimal colours used and they do not contain any unnecessary clutter. It is for this reason, my video will consist of silhouetted figures and use only the monochromatic colour scheme.

Here is my second slide. This was the logical starting place for me as it goes back to our shared origins. It simply shows the first confirmed archaeological sights of wolf domestication with the approximate date along the bottom of the screen.

I will refer to this simplified world map a number of times in my work as much of our relationship with dogs is best conveyed on a global scale. Number of dogs compared to human beings. working dogs vs pets, countries categorised by treatment for dogs etc.

My Thoughts 

In every project i have undertaken thus far, I have always been working somewhat on the fly, not knowing until very late in the game, what my final product will resemble. In this project in particular I have struggled to pin down my ideas and be clear on what I want to create. This work however, has allowed me to focus my mind and refine what I want to create very effectively. Animation is a horribly slow and intricate process even to produce something as basic as I have. But every slide I complete is one fewer to worry about

Inspiring Example of Visual Storytelling Online

GoSquared – https://www.gosquared.com/london2012/

GoSquared is a website that creates beautiful pieces of infographic work. One such example is The London Olympics in 2012. They created a live infographic showing some of the huge numbers that dominated the Olympic games.

The reasons I include this example are numerous. The website presents the information in a visually pleasing way, you interact with the graphic as you scroll. As you move past the statistic for the 100m record, a runner moves across the screen, its movement directly relating to your scrolling.

I also really like the layout and narrative aspect of the sight. The information is presented in a linear fashion, factoid by factoid, as you move down the page. Each graphic has its own illustration or animation which transition seamlessly into the  page.

The design style is also very compelling. The fundamental theme is illustrations of light grey on a darker grey background. It’s beautifully simple. However some slides are in colour when it is appropriate. When I reached the fact about gold medals being largely comprised of silver, the page transitioned from gold to silver.

The facts chosen are very wide ranging and give a deeper story of the Olympic Games than a simple dry list of statistics. There are facts on competition, the effect on London, the wider world and seemingly randomly, the weight of potatoes consumed for the games. While being useful and conveying good information. There is a human element included as well.

Rule of Three – https://rule-of-three.co.uk/

Rule of three is a website that offers three primary services, hence the name. It is a very typography heavy website. It is clean and crisp in its layout. It is entirely monochrome and while what I have described thus far is nothing extraordinary, it really is worth a look.

The website works in a similar format as GoSquared. It is laid out in a linear fashion controlled by the reader scrolling down through it. It is not text heavy, it relies on a combination of text, image, illustration and animation to create a seamless viewing experience.

As you scroll through the sight it follows the traditional narrative of a commercial brand, but it does so in a beautiful way. It interacts as you move down. Transitions are done in various ways but always crisply and with elegance. There are a series of smokey Roshack ink blot-esc patterns at intervals between information heavy sections.

I can only describe this page in sections, but this does not do it justice as it is actually one fluid page that you descend through. But each section has its own distinct style, there is no fear of being bored by repetition. Despite this, a strong theme follows throughout.

I don’t think I’ve spent such a long time scrolling through a sight whose message didn’t interest me. The design choices are intriguing enough without the need to even care about the content of the message.

Evoenergy – https://www.evoenergy.co.uk/uk-energy-guide/

This website catalogues the pattern of the UK’s energy consumption over past decades. It is at its core, an incredibly simple and basic website design. It uses the same scrolling format as the previous two and contains numerous simple graphs and diagrams in beautiful pastel colours. But this only adds to its charm in my opinion.

It features in its centre a tree whose leaves represent the entirety of the energy consumption of the UK. This seems like an obvious nod to the environmental impact of our fuel consumption. The tree is very stylised. Its leaves are made up of circles of varying sizes and colours. Energy use by type is displayed in the colour of these circles, or leaves. The percentage of the tree that is that colour correlates to the percentage of the energy source used.

There is a tab to the side of the tree with decades  marked out. As you click on them the tree changes to represent the usage data in that decade. Pretty basic. They creators did include a tab to navigate the fuel sources and give exact percentages of each source used. This is a nice touch because it offers solid statistics and compliments the visual story. The visual representation is simply there to show general trends. For example it is a moment works to scroll through the decades and see that use of solid fuels is consistently declining.

The design of this sight is very aesthetically pleasing while not sacrificing any efficiency in information conveyance. I also like the little touches such as one of the tabs bobbing as it appears to be held aloft by balloons. There are also cloud that drift by gently as you take in the information.

Overall this sight appeals to me for its user-friendly nature. It is a pleasant thing to look at. It just looks polished and perfected. The design style consists of simple geometric shapes like the first things you create in Adobe Illustrator. But this only serves to keep the message of the sight in focus. There is no clutter.

My Thoughts 

The idea of creating a website in the same vain as these examples for my project really appeals to me. Having something permanently available to the world that is a very basic tool to help people navigate a small collection of information quickly and in an anjoyable way.

 

Exhibition Way-finding

In my exhibition, patrons will need a simple and clear system of signage that helps them navigate the exhibition and see it in a manner and order that it was intended to be displayed. I need to insure that the system is understandable and in-keeping with the theme of the exhibition. Maintaining a consistent style throughout every aspect of the exhibition will be critical to drawing people into the world I am aiming to create and allow them to be more fully immersed in the work surrounding them.

The first method I researched was simply signage on walls and signs demarcating routes, floor numbers and containing information on what each area contains. This is very simple and effective. The use of colour coding is also very appealing as it fits with my theme of bringing colour to a slightly lifeless and cold environment.

The other method which I found very impactful and playful, was the method of printing or otherwise laying the information out on the floor so you simply follow different paths through the building as you progress. This, again can employ colour coordination, routes of varying colours take you to different areas or floors, each area may focus on a different aspect of the exhibition.

One thing I want to create is an interactive experience. I want to show that the human interaction with our surroundings is what can make them beautiful and intriguing. One concept I have been mulling over is the idea of allowing the visitors to leave their own impression on the exhibition in the way the graffiti artists of Berlin did with the buildings there. Not only allowing them to feel more connected to the exhibition and the subjects it explores, but also leaving the place different to when they found it. I want the exhibition to change and evolve as time progresses so each visitor experiences something new. It may even lead to people returning to see what has changed.

To achieve this I want to incorporate the interactive elements with the structure of the exhibition, notably, the way-finding system. If I was to have large concrete blocks with arrows and lettering engraved into them, they could act as large blank canvasses for people to paint onto. I could have sharpies or spray cans on hand for people to doodle on the concrete as graffiti artists would sign a wall. As time progresses, some drawings would be overlapped or covered by new ones. In time the blocks would become pieces in the exhibition. Works of art in their own right.

https://www.cassart.co.uk/blog/doodle_man.htm

 

This is a link to an artist called Sam Cox, he creates exhibitions which consist of entire rooms where he has doodled on every surface in a constant stream of shapes and colours. I want an effect like this, where every inch of the signage is a canvas for people to express themselves and let their playful side come out.

Doole Man

In Glasgow

Another aspect that I think is important is to tie in the colour scheme which marks out individual sections or floors of the exhibition. When creating my typeface, I used a colour scheme taken directly from one of the buildings that was part of the Berlin Turmkunst (Tower Art Project), the Bierpinsel (Beer Brush).

bierpinsel2

I used swatches taken directly from the Bierpinsel and applied them to my type. It occurs to me that the front of the building is coloured in a pattern of ascending horizontal layers. It would be a neat tie in to use these colours as stages of the exhibition. Starting with the red base and building up through the teal, purple, off-white etc. I will explore these concepts and mock-up designs and write about the outcomes in my next post.