Design As Activism Conclusion & Evaluation

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of the animation and the campaign on the whole. I think that all the pieces work well together, including the ephemera. I believe that as a group we have worked well together, keeping in touch throughout and working well to overcome any issues. There were no disputes and when it came to decision making we all gave an input. I think we split the workload between us equally and helped one another whenever necessary. I think that the strength of our group work can be seen within the final pieces themselves.

I have definitely learnt a lot from completing this project – the most being learning how to animate on After Effects. Through doing this I have also learnt of the importance of narrative, without it there is no context and a disconnection between the audience and the piece. As well as the technical elements, I have also developed skills in regards to working collaboratively, particularly communicating with other team members and learning to compromise. However, I do think that to improve for next time I could try and improve on time management. I think that if we started on the animation sooner, we would have had more time to make amendments and refine it and to also try learning more technical elements within the programme to make the animation stronger.

Going forward from this project I would like to continue working on After Effects to try and improve my skills and learn to create more sophisticated animations. I also feel more confident working within a group setting, as this has been the most successful group project I have completed within Field so far. It has made me realise the strength in group work – when it goes well. I am pleased were given the opportunity to work on a project like this because I think it will help us to develop a wider skill set.


Design As Activism Exhibition

The end of the project resulted in an exhibition of our work. Setting up the exhibition was fun and it was nice to see our work on display. It made all the hard work worth while and also was the first time we had to consider setting up an exhibition.

Here is our work on display…

I think that the work looked good hung up and seeing it all on display made it feel like a real campaign and really showed how well all the pieces worked together.

On the whole, I think that everyone’s work looked good and all the hard work that the groups had put in really came across. It was also nice to see Illustrations and Animations final pieces on display alongside ours. It was a well put together exhibition. I did think that it would be quite a quick and easy task to hang the work up, but what this has taught me is that there is just as much effort in the hanging of the work as much as there is in the creating of it, because if it is poorly hung then it does not show the work in its best light.

Design As Activism Final Animation

Above is the final completed animation for the Design as Activism project. I am really pleased with the final outcome and I think that it has come together really well. I think that the type enhances the animation with keywords appearing on the screen in time with the voiceover. In regards to the voiceover, I think it works well using a child’s voice as I don’t think that it would have had the same impact if it were an adult speaking. The use of the child’s voice enhances the message that this is for future generations and that if we do not make a change then we and future generations will be in trouble. I do think however, that with further refinement that the audio could have been a little better simply because you can hear where it has been cut and stuck together in certain places.

In regards to the animation and the flow of it, I think that it is smooth and each part of the narrative transitions well into the other. I do think that this has also come down to our communication because the animation transitions well from our sections into the next; for example, Dee’s part of the animation transitions well into mine and my section transitions well into Joe’s. I have learnt of the importance of smooth transitions and the difference they can make in an animation, I do wonder if these could have been explored further to enhance the metaphorical value of the visual elements. This is definitely something to consider when making future animations.

In addition to that I think that the narrative of the animation is clear and focused with the message coming through strongly. I think this is strengthened through the use of the voiceover.  The design of the “What’s your Legacy’ strengthens the campaign, as it is more of a recognisable logo than having ordinary text.


Design As Activism Progression of Work

After we re-worked our illustrations and finalised the narrative we decided to split the storyboard into three sections for each of us to complete, leaving each of us with seven frames to animate. We all shared the illustration files so that we could use one another’s depending on the frame being animated – this meant that the visuals would remain consistent throughout.

Here is a slideshow of my section of the animation:

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Here is Joe’s part of the animation:

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Here is Dee’s addition to the animation:

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As initial visualisations, I think they have all worked well and each follow the storyboard effectively and do depict a narrative. However, more work is of course needed, starting with putting all three animations together to make one movie.

We then showed these to David in order to gain some feedback. He said that the narrative within the video works well, however the type in Joe’s section didn’t work as it moved too fast for a person to read. From this we decided to remove the type from the whole animation and to add it at the end once all the parts are put together and the audio is added. With that he also stated that as our campaign is based on a legacy, that element should be celebrated more and therefore suggested we make a logo of some form, which could then sit on both the animation and ephemera. This would also help to tie everything together visually.

I therefore worked on a few ideas for the ‘What’s Your Legacy?’ logo and here are the outcomes:

After some discussion we made a final decision:

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We decided on this one because we felt it stood out to the viewer the most but also because it sits within a geometric shape which works with the visual style of the illustrations. The sans serif also gives it a contemporary feel which works with the contemporary feel of the animation. However, we received feedback from Neil who said that as we have altered the natural reading position of the ‘your’ that we should perhaps change the colour of the ‘your’ and ‘legacy’ to allow the viewer to know that the word ‘what’s’ is read first. We agreed with his advice and made the following change…

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We chose green because it relates to the trees and recycling symbol within the animation and of course green is associated with the environment and therefore the most sensible colour choice. But in my opinion I think it works well and makes it pop. The only change we made from here was as we have been working with a black background the word ‘what’s’ would obviously not be seen – therefore we changed it to white in order for it to sit on the black background.

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This is the final piece and overall I think it works well. I feel it stands out strongly and does grab the viewers attention. I also think that it will work well visually with the animation.

Further feedback we received from Neil included a discussion about the audio, this being Dee’s young daughter reading a script. This idea was given positive feedback because it ties in well to the idea of a legacy. As our campaign is based on asking graphic designer’s what they want their legacy to be – a legacy is designed to be for the benefit of future generations and through using a young child’s voice, it enhances the idea that change is needed to benefit future generations.

Here is the animation put together with the removal of the type:

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I am really pleased with the animation and the transitions between each element. I think that the narrative within it is really strong and the message behind it is clear. However, I do think that this will be further enhanced when the voiceover is added as that will strengthen the core message behind our campaign.

I feel that so far we have all worked well as a group with each of us having put effort and time into creating the animation. We have remained in contact throughout and have met up on many occasions in the studio to discuss the idea.


Design as Activism – Ephemera

As well as our animation we are also required to create two pieces of ephemera; one printed, one digital.

As a group we have decided to hold off on discussing the ephemera pieces because as it says in the brief, the visual style on all pieces must be coherent with one another and therefore we wanted to focus on the animation and developing the visual language for that. We have however discussed ideas of what we could do for the pieces.

For the printed ephemera we thought of creating like a double illusion – like a child’s book where you have to move or remove something to reveal something else.


D&AD 14 – New Blood Winner: Fashion Motograph:

In this design students used an old technique called motograph which is an optical effect that can animate static images. I like this project because it is an old fashioned technique that has been used in a contemporary context. Not only that but I really like the optical illusion within it and I think it not only has an impact visually, but fits well within the context of the concept. It is very simple, yet well considered and has a beauty attached to it.

I think this style could work well within our project through displaying a healthy and unhealthy world. I think it would be visually impactful to create something along these lines because it would show the effects of deforestation and the seriousness behind it – as long as it is not done in an overwhelming or frightening way, as that could deter individuals to make changes.

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With the time constraint Dee managed to create a pull out leaflet which contains illustrations and information from the animation. I really like the overall effect of the ephemera piece because it is both interactive, quirky and informative. The visual style matches that of the poster and the animation and therefore feels like a part of a campaign. I like the limited colour palette as it prevents the piece from becoming overcrowded and overwhelming visually. The design is different to what was originally researched, but nonetheless, I think it fits the purpose effectively.

Moving away form the interactive leaflet we have decided to created a printed poster and a digital GIF to go alongside our animation. As we still have work to do on the animation, we decided to split the workload so that I will work on the animation to finalise it, Dee will work on the poster and Joe will work on the GIF.

Work on the animation can be found on the Design As Activism Progression of Work blog post.

Here is slideshow snapshotting each frame of the outcome of Joe’s GIF:

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I think that the GIF works well as it shows a healthy world changing into an unhealthy world with the ‘What’s Your Legacy?’ logo to end. The idea behind this was to capture the essence of the destruction of deforestation. We decided on the unhealthy world because that displays the result of our actions if we don’t try to resolve the issue now. Although the unhealthy planet is not featured in the animation itself, due to its message I still think that it works well and relates to the animation we have created. The rotating globe is a main and constant feature throughout, which therefore creates the visual link between the GIF and the original animation.

Here is Dee’s design for the poster:

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With the poster we have decided to include the globe because as previously mentioned; it is a key and constant element throughout, however, we decided t make the character the focus point as that brings in the human element into the ephemera pieces. I think that it reminds the viewer that it is an issue that needs to be addressed by people. The style of the illustration has a positive notion attached and therefore does not overwhelm the audience or frighten them too much, because as research has shown that will only deter the audience from making any form of change at all. I also feel that the graphic nature of the designs will appeal to graphic designers more, therefore targeting our target audience.

After Dee had shown me the poster we began discussing the piece and she suggested pushing it that one step further by adding in a code that the viewer can scan that will then take them to the you tube link of the animation (once it is uploaded). This idea stemmed from Green Peace brochures, which she showed me:

It works through an app called Blippar and works similarly to a QR code – you simply scan the orange, circular symbol through the app and that will direct the viewer to the attached link. We therefore thought that if we could get it to work it would be a nice addition to the campaign as it would bring the poster to life in a way and allow the viewer to connect with the campaign more and could open it up to a wider audience. It also continues the interactive nature of the ephemera pieces, such as in the pull out leaflet.

Although we have made the decision to work separately on various elements, we have remained in contact throughout, constantly asking one another their views on the work created and whether anything needs changing. I think that due to the strength of our communication the pieces all work coherently with one another and all follow the same visual language.



Design as Activism – Further Research

As our ideas have developed and we have agreed on a target audience for the animation, being Graphic Designers. I feel it is necessary to complete more research into the target audience to ensure our message firstly makes sense and secondly is intended for its purpose.

Graphic Designers and Sustainability:

What do they need to consider?

  • Toxicity of the ink and paper.
  • Quantity of paper produced.
  • Fuel used for shipping.
  • How long before it ends up as waste.
  • What the final end product is.
  • How long the life cycle is.

Basically graphic designers are asked to consider every part of the design process from its conception to the moment it becomes waste and unwanted. Through keeping this in mind, it should help allow designers to think about what it is they are creating and think about the impact they have. Designers are able to influence what is made and how it is made.

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Creative Review: Design & Sustainability by Anna Gerber

‘Finally and probably most importantly: let’s not forget that sustainability, within the context of visual communication, is also about innovation. It is about using environmental consider­ations and the reality of depleted planetary resources as exciting limitations to respond to and circum­navigate. I like to think of sustainability, as designer Louise Sandhaus recently put it, as “an invitation to imagine (and design) an enticing and fun future”.’

From my research I have deducted that graphic designers can have a large influence on the way design is practiced. They are able to see the product go through the process from conception to birth and it is ensuring that if the correct steps are put in place from the start then sustainable practice can be achieved.


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.