Design as Activism Development of Ideas

From our research we discussed what we felt would work best. As a group we liked the idea of the pivoting earth and new elements appearing from it with each turn. We started to look at the facts that we had researched and briefly thought of each possible transition. In regards to the audio, we have considered using the voiceover of Prince Ea from the video; Dear Future Generations: Sorry. We thought that this would well because we know that his videos gain a lot of attention and through using that with our own visuals, it would make a strong animation.

Dee also thought of an idea for the printed piece of ephemera, which would work similarly to a children’s pull out book, whereby something becomes visible when another element is removed. I like this idea because it becomes more than a simple printed piece and becomes more thought provoking.

We then had a tutorial with David who suggested that the idea of a pivoting earth could become boring and that it doesn’t really have much of a narrative. When I spoke to him about the behavioural science side, he did like the idea of a legacy and thought that incorporating that could work. David also liked Dee’s idea with the printed ephemera piece but also said that we should focus on working out our visual style for the animation so that the visual language on the ephemera pieces were the same. From Dee’s research looking into large cooperations like McDonald’s – who are a large contributor to the deforestation issue, he said that it might be a good idea to focus our animation even further and to create a narrative surrounding that.


From the tutorial we re-discussed our ideas and decided to follow David’s advice and focus the animation on a very specific element of deforestation, which we have decided on large corporations such as McDonald’s. We have also decided to try and bring a human element into this being that the earth itself can breathe, which at the start can breathe well and as the narrative progresses struggles to breathe as the trees are being taken down, but towards the end begins to breathe normally again – giving a solution. I think that as breathing is something we all do, it is something that can create a connection with the viewer.

As well as this we have thought of maybe having trees being cut and falling into like a McDonald’s fries packet – allowing them to resemble chips, and the animals that are left behind fall into like a chicken nugget packet. I think that this definitely has a shock value attached to it and I wonder if it is too threatening in nature?

I think from this we need to go and create storyboards and really develop the narrative for the animation so that we know what the key message is and how the visual elements will work. From the storyboarding workshop I realise how important it is to have a strong storyboard as it will make the task of creating the animation far easier.

Dee has also been working on creating test images that could be used for animation and has been experimenting on After Effects to see how difficult it is to try and create a rotating globe.

So far I do think we are working well as a group. There hasn’t been a major issue with lack of attendance and we have all contributed ideas and have researched etc. If we keep working to this standard I am excited to see what the final outcome of the animation will look like.


We came back as a group to discuss what work we had done, where we were and where to go next.

All three of us had created some rough storyboards based on the idea of including large corporations and the effect they have on the deforestation. It was based on the idea of trees being cut and falling into a chip packet.

The issue I found with this idea was that I could not think of a way to end the animation and bring solution to the audience. I also struggled to think of different shots for each frame in order to make it interesting and to avoid repetition.

However, when we discussed the idea further, I asked who were our target audience? Dee mentioned some of her research, which included a video about deforestation targeted at graphic designers. After some discussion we thought that graphic designers would be a good choice for the target audience because we are graphic designers and therefore have a better understanding of our intended audience.

From this we reconsidered our initial ideas and took more consideration into what we wanted our message to be. We decided to still follow the idea of the legacy because I think designers want to leave a lasting legacy and help to make an impact in the world and therefore by trying to turn their attention on this situation then it could influence and inspire many to try to make a difference.

By working together we managed to create a narrative for the animation and a rough storyboard of how we want it to look;


After developing this idea, we spoke to David to get his thoughts. The comments were very positive and he liked the narrative within it. He did question how we could develop the visual metaphors further so that they were perhaps not as explicit. He also said that we needed to research a little more into what we want to include within our narrative to ensure that what we are producing is based on solid fact. This will make the animation more believable and will strengthen it. We took on board his advice and decided to change some of the frames to alter the visual angles so that we were not doing the same thing over and over – making it more interesting.

On reflection, I do think that this idea is much stronger than the previous because we have taken time to consider who our target audience is and what we want our overall message to be. We have also managed to develop a solid narrative that has an issue, the effects of it and a solution and will hopefully allow people to connect with the message. By being quite specific I think that it will reach out more to that intended audience.

I did re-do the storyboard in order to make it clearer and more understandable, a strong storyboard can make the work far easier.


We have now decided to give each of us a visual to illustrate on illustrator ready for our tutorial with Matt so that we can ask him for assistance. By breaking it up it will even out the work and allow us to get more things done.


We decided to come into uni and discuss where we’re at in the project. We also came in to discuss the presentation that we are due to give on Monday and therefore discussed what is needed to be included.

We have all started to create illustrations for the animation and have continued working on our research. From this Dee suggested making a few changes to the script in order to make it more obvious that it is intended for graphic designers. Me and Joe agreed and we talked about how designers can have a large impact on the way we use products as they are the middle man between the client and the end product.

From this we made a plan of what we needed to do, who was going to do what and by when we were going to do it. Therefore, Dee will finish off the presentation and will re-do the storyboard, making the appropriate adjustments, then all three of us have agreed to split the remaining elements that we need for the animation and illustrate them by Monday. Once we go over the narrative and have all of the elements visualised then we can focus on getting the animation done, which we are aiming to do within the week.

Below are the illustrations that myself, Dee and Joe had completed.


We had to present our work to the class to show where we were to date. The feedback we received was positive on the whole – as we were told that the idea and narrative was solid. The criticism we received was that the illustrations are all different and do not follow the same visual language. The other was that we needed to get started on the animating aspect.

From the feedback we sat together and worked through the issue of the incompatible visuals and I remade the trees and hands and Joe re-worked the recycled heart.

Here are the results:

I think that these illustrations work much stronger together and all follow a similar visual language allowing them to work more coherently with one another. This will help make the animation stronger in my opinion. Joe also made a female character in addition to the male. There is a stronger use of simple geometric shapes throughout and the colours are brighter and more vibrant.

Now we will go on to develop the animation as we are all happy with the narrative, target audience, the visual elements and the structure. We simply need to get the work done now.




Author: marislathamgraphics

I am a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying BA Hons Graphic Communication.

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