Posts Tagged ‘Visual Communication’
This series of ‘Eco Reminder’ wall-stickers link up with lightswitches and outlets to remind their users where the power comes from.
A great visualization of a key part of electricity’s background. It would be fun to see these in public places to match the realistic sources of our electric power.
Some of the graphics tell more realistic stories than others, but the element of humor inserts some fun into a potentially serious subject.
Arlene has begun an artist residency at interactive center for new media MEDEA, where she will develop work to visualize the impacts/benefits of bicycling for the Västra Hamnen area of Malmö in order to encourage and celebrate a culture of bicycling.
This nifty flash tool from the University of Utah’s Genetic’s lab lets viewers zoom into an image to experience the size of increasingly small cells relative to each other. Such an interactive and immersive experience helps people understand more about the world around them – the very, very small world.
A useful application based on some of the same principles behind the Eames’ Powers of 10.
Sourcemap, developed by an MIT-based team, uses Google Earth to map the origins of materials in products. A view inside the open-source application also showcases each ingredient’s carbon footprint – which I hope is an indication that it is only a matter of time until tools like this will expand to highlight other Life-Cycle Analysis data.
This tool does a great job communicating that ‘ingredients’ in our products are connected to the world around us. As a next step, it would be great to show the carbon impacts in terms that are relevant to consumers – ‘showing’ what the quantity means rather than just stating the number. And to tell more of a story to help consumers frame these big-picture ideas within their everyday experience.
For the first time, the prestigious INDEX Design Award has a winner from the field of communication design. ‘PIG 05049′ is a primarily-visual book, designed and conceived by Christien Meindertsma, that traces all the products made from one pig.
Meindertsma’s intent for the project:
Help people in a highly mechanized and “packaged” world understand how things are made and where they come from so that the resources involved can be cared for by enlightened, informed people.
It’s nice to see the role of communication design to build awareness being recognized within the design community.
Read a previous entry on Meindertsma’s project here.
Seventh Generation’s liquid dish soap bottles are sporting an in-depth ingredient label – under the existing label.
The peel-away outer back-panel gives a text-heavy overview of the company’s safety criteria and commitment to transparency. Inside, an extended eco-label takes the first steps toward integrating statistics: Minimally illustrated with a home icon, the statement reads that ‘if every household in the U.S. replaced petroleum-based dish soap with plant-based… we would save 86,000 barrels of oil (the equivalent to heat and cool 4,900 U.S. homes per year).
Its nice to see a comparison that puts so many barrels of oil into a meaningful perspective for the purchaser.
The peel-away label allows for 2 additional panels for the consumer to transparently uncover information, but the space could have been used even more effectively: I’d love to see a more life-cycle oriented approach applied to this design format, and the icons used to highlight information, rather than to advertise the company’s other product offerings.
An exhibit on Water at the Science Museum of Minnesota contains an interactive display that allowed people to ‘become’ a raincloud. By rubbing a ‘raincloud’ tool over a series of screens displaying a topographic map, the cloud rains drops of water onto the topo-map. Visitors can see how the drops of water run down the sides of a topographic map to slow and pool together in the valleys between mountains. Colliding together, the blue drops create rivers which meander through valleys until falling off the screen.
As a fun way for visitors to interact with the exhibit, this project helps people understand how water flows (the fact being downhill- which I thought was obvious, but apparently there is an overwhelming number of people who are surprised when rivers turn to flow North instead of South, as on maps they must have an idea that gravity makes the water flow off the page.)
A utility company is literally establishing an emotional connection with the audience: via smiley or frowning faces on their utility bills.
A New York Times article reports how a Sacramento utility is inspiring residents to lower their energy usage by providing them visual feedback on their utility bills…and it doesn’t hurt that the bill compares them with their neighbors. A little competition can go a long way – it puts people’s own actions in context to their peers.
This t-shirt tells its own back story: the t-shirt tags are cut from the inside and stitched into the screenprint graphic of an imagined life of the product. The shirt was put into production in 2006 by Droog Design.
This is a more illustrative, conceptual version of a background story – less data based. The graphic is customized based on available information at the time (this includes where the cotton comes from, and where the t-shirt is sold). More quantitative figures on distance and carbon footprint could be input with the right data available.