Sep
23
2008

About

This is the blog of www.goodindeed.org.

for contact mail: iamgood@goodindeed.org

Find previews, drafts, behind the scene pictures and additional info here. This is my test field, where I write down and place my ideas to get feedback from you and for me as a tool of reflection.

Good Indeed is my MA project. The aim of this project is to operate as a visual communicator and design forms of social engagement, which will bring about positive social behavior.

The questions I am researching are:

* How do I change an individuals behavior?
* How can I extend the social life cycle of visual communication?
* How can I as a designer find triggers, that will change behavior and maintain the right behavior
* How can I create situations, where people will also experience the problem, in order for them to
understand it

THE SOCIAL SITUATION

We have global problems, which we have created ourselves and we are ignoring them, or even making them worse. On the other hand, there are individuals, who aren’t reacting to these problems, because they are not part of their present and everyday life. I call these global problems or far & away problems because the consequences:

– will appear only in the future:  environmental problems as pollution, global warming, rising sea level, etc.
– are felt and taking place in other parts of the world like: poverty, hunger, etc

What these consequences have in common is that, we helped to cause them, and
we have the power and resources to tackle them. To sum up, it actually is our problem, but we do not do anything about it. Why?

In between the ‘world’ and the individual are several levels of relation as the family, community, government, many types of institutions and organizations i.e. non- profit, science, technology, artists and designers. My target group are individuals, between the age of 15-35, that have not experienced a war or a direct effect of the global problems and has only dealt with their local problems, which makes it harder for them to feel empathy or act. Maybe they know about the current global issues, but since they are not experiencing them, they feel there isn’t much they can do about it.
Consistently focused on status and objects, we are not engaged within  society. There is no compassion, no team spirit, no social conscience. Selfishness, pessimism, apathy and ignorance is a sort of behavior that cuts us off from the society.
Even if we try to take some action, we feel they are turned down by government or restrictions on the market. For instance, if you would try to buy products without plastic wrapping, you would walk quite quickly into a wall. Thus my target group feels it is up to authority and technology to solve.

Up to a certain point it might be true that the government has the power and technology the information. We could say that it is up to the state to solve the problem, to tell their inhabitants how to live. However, the government is limited in influencing choices and behavior of their inhabitants.
Moreover, there is also the issue of knowledge; technology and science have so many ideas, answers and initiatives that it is confusing, even for them. There is so much information available and yet so much is unknown. The endless possibilities for what we can do and make, causes a luxury problem of choice. In a society where power, wealth, education and opportunities are the largest, the people are most unhappy
It is up to the public to come with the demand. The past couple of decades consumers have demanded choice and convenience; now it is all there. If we would ask for conscience we would get it.

The question is not: how should we live?- waiting for someone to command us- but: how do we want to live?

Global Problem = Design Problem
To speak with the words of Ben Terret: “All these climate change issues look like design problems to me.”1 It should be a challenge for designers to go about and tackle these problems ,as in a pitch to a big cooperation- isn’t that what the world is?!
Design is a way of thinking and not necessarily just a way of creating. We have been doing that for to long now. It is time to think about the consequences and use this way of thinking to design mindfulness.

THE DESIGN SITUATION

Matt Jones brought up a new term in design world, UnProduct, which is mainly about a maximum idea with minimum stuff. This means to search for the right stage/setting/scale that commercial creativity needs to find the solutions and triggers for change.
Referring to Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics, a new vocabulary in the art -and design -world has emerged. Artists and designers have developed a more personal language and are able to create a participative framework, where we can experience the information and acquire understanding and reflection for our choices. Relational Aesthetics is about an open design form in structure and end. The actual experience counts and not just the end result. It is not about design being good or bad or socially responsible, it is about activating the social.
To use Design as a medium to think differently about social behavior, we need to design the design process, also called Meta-Design. “Which focuses on the design of initial conditions (or seeds) with the aim of provoking and supporting more sustainable forms of production and sociability. As such, metadesign is a higher order design in which participation and emergence are a critical component to nourish and evolve the initial conditions set by the metadesigners.”
These examples deal with interaction, social responsive design and are covered by a holding pattern, bringing design reflection into society on an experimental bases.

RESEARCH TO METHODOLOGY

To create my methodology I did research in the form of:
-   test projects (active research)
-   analyzed existing strategies of organizations
-   research of others designers, artists
-   read books about social behavior, communication and networking

Non-Profit Organizations
I have looked briefly at strategies of environmental & aid organizations and realized that they had very well designed posters (fig.9), but these do not trigger us to act. Their strategies may be outdated, as no one wants to be a member of an organization these days and next to that they have a credibility problem, since nobody really knows how the money is spend.

Analysis Social Dialogue
I have investigated forms of visual communication done in advertising, by other designers and artist and found great examples of social dialogue. I got lost in the aesthetics and brilliantly translated concepts, but it made me wonder:

None of these are triggering us to stand up and act or save the world. I realized that the effect of Visual Communication as a social life cycle is not long lasting. Especially in comparison with Architecture and Furniture the social life cycles of Fashion and Graphic design are short-term. Fashion is liable to quickly changing trends. Graphics is not long lasting because it is not tangible, you can’t wear it or sit on it.

CHANGING BEHAVIOR

Analyzing these different disciplines I identified their strategies that addresses the individual and came to the following conclusion/theory:

We respond to the advertisement which offers a beautiful dress, but we do not react to a poster about child labor. In my opinion this has to do with the first one being within our reach and the other one being too remote. What is more, advertising is a short term communication, which works very well for promotion for mass consumption, but not when it comes to raising awareness.
There is a gap between the message sent and the new behaviors it is to enhance.
When I was looking through all the examples of social dialogue and intervention I could see that the right ingredients are there but they are not in the same pie. The trigger that we need to create a social conscience and engagement is missing.

I think that to enhance and apprehend learning new behavior, we need to create new behavior patterns. So eventually they become new rituals and traditions in the society. In psychology, the transition process from the old behavior into new behavior goes through different stages of awareness which can be presented as below:

1. unconscious unaware
2. conscious unaware
3. conscious aware
4. unconscious aware

Taking this into consideration, I can conclude that it takes time and repetition to learn something new and create a change in our behavior. Hence, a single action or a poster doesn’t have more than a one-time effect on us. What we need to achieve is going from 1=1 to 1+1= 2  where the [plus] stands for a social dialogue, which activates a trigger and is missing in most Visual Communication designs. If we manage to achieve that we can create  1+1=3 (or more) where the outcome represents the surplus value in the form of repetition and management: the user is passing on his knowledge and is educating not only himself but others as well. The last part is to use the right paths to find the good seeds and create a hype. A virus of happiness and positive behavior.
In design, I will term this as‚ ‘the perfect design message’ and it can be presented in this way:

profundity+quality+viral+repetition=  Creative Pay it Forward within a Social context

sources:

Russell Davies Ben Terret

Sign of the time, article in designweek

Eyemagazine.  Part of the Process. Monika Parrinder, Colin Davies.

Meta-Design

Social Responsive Design, Maziar Raein, DAC

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