Is Our Heart in the Work?
SYSTEMS, VISUAL DESIGN, BRANDING
“Many people continually make formal or informal resolutions to improve aspects of their lives. Although the goals may be set by an individual relative to his or her specific situation, many of the intentions actually apply to a larger body of people.”
—Stacie Rohrbach (Project Prompt)
Our goal for this project was to inform our audience about their resolutions, engage with them, and inspire them to actually take action to achieve their goals. Our task was to design a three part communication system with digital, print, and spacial components. I worked with Elizabeth Wang and Jacob Paul to design a program that promote earnest/healthy conversation between isolated individuals that can shift the current mindset and stigma from one that is indifferent towards the stress culture to one that is creates a positive community and a more balanced school experience.
PART 1 – Large-scale, flat communication piece
C Studio II: Designing Systems
- Spring 2018
We want to spark conversation about stress without having it be all about negativity, even though the topic itself can be very negative. We plan to do this by steering the conversation about ways that people cope/relieve stress. The installation will prompt, “What are you stressed about?” and then balance it out by asking other people to post responses to what their peers are struggling with. The problem + consolation pairs will add up to a shared, supportive community installation post.
PART 2 – Hand-held, physical communication piece
This is the first piece in our sequence. The Poster is a large, high contrast visual piece that will direct viewers to the issue, as well as the website and installation. The Poster will include handouts for viewers to take home and have links to the website and installation.
PART 3 – Digital communication piece
View a live demo here. Elizabeth created the motion graphic; I was responsible for the web aspect of this project.
Our digital piece is multiple posts and post responses hosted on a website. The purpose is to give stressed students a safe place to talk about their stress. The website is similar to Quora in that others can reply with their advice/suggestions/comfort words. This is directed toward isolated individuals.
PROCESS – Research, Refinement, Execution
To start, my team and I interviewed our peers to find out how stress culture affected them. From here we tried to figure out our audience, what we were trying to communicate, and the medium of our final piece.
From our fact gathering and brainstorming, we decided to focus on CMU’s undergrad students. We defined stress culture at CMU: “on this campus, it’s normal to ignore your stress and pretend that you’re doing fine, the more work that you can do without cracking, the more impressive you are” (Tartan 2012). The parts of the stress culture that we’re trying to address, are the isolation that student’s deal with and the stigma against asking for help. Once we solidified a concept, we started to work on forming a visual language.
Here are my initial web screens:
Here are Elizabeth’s visual explorations:
Using critiques from our professors and peers, we made new iterations and started moving toward our final designs. Elizabeth created another round of ideas for our poster and handout. I created an updated version of our website, and Jacob started envisioning what our large-scale, interactive installation would look like.
Our finalized style guide:
Feel free to take a look at more detailed process here.