Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.
Hope: Broadening Social Awareness around depression within 18-22 year olds to reflect the importance of support.
The key context for my work has been Social Awareness campaigns, with a focus on depression.
I have investigated how young people can access information on depression, as well as using a focus group to learn more about how much people from my target audience really know and understand about this subject. This investigation included thorough research into already existing support mechanisms in Auckland.
I have also researched and considered existing designs, with the aim of learning how to effectively use design to create strong empowering informational graphics for my target audience, an example of this has been my research in to understanding the psychological impact of colour. This research has allowed me to effectively use colours in my publication to promote action.
My overarching aim has been to put together design and information to create graphics that are helpful, relevant, as well as influential to a younger audience.
Yellow played a very important role in visual communication within my design work this year, and is a vital reoccurring theme used throughout my publication. I did research on colour psychology and learned that the colour yellow represents happiness, energy and is a great colour to grab attention. I use yellow in my work to try and highlight aspects of my design, it is an important colour as I use it to create strong, vibrant, noticeable graphics. I decided to employ yellow as a key layout feature in my publication as it was a warmer tone of colour, which to me represented positivity. I use yellow also to show positivity and warmth, colours such as blue are cold and represent sadness, which is why I had avoided using it too much. This publication is meant to reflect the positivity of depression, and shun the negativity. I wanted to show this subject in a positive light, so that people do not view this as something to avoid, or treat people who have the illness wrongly. I also use this colour as I wanted to try and provoke emotion in my audience, to see whether this could also unlock feelings of positivity within the consumer. Not only is the colour yellow present in one of my posters, but it is also noticeably present in my publication, which is why this colour is a key layout feature for my work. Yellow acts as a very useful element that helps to tie both my publication & poster together, allowing them to be identified and read as a whole project.
The use of shape and colour within my work served the purpose of trying to create a sense of ‘togetherness’, unity, as well as a sense of rhythm throughout my publication. Shape and colour were very important aspects of design within my work. I tried to keep these elements constant by the continued use of yellow throughout the whole publication, as well as the use of a geometric shape (rectangle) on every page – for the page numbers, and the rectangle shape on each section page. With the help of these recurring motifs, in combination with my yellow a2 Hope poster, and certain texts on the contents page and section pages, my project was seen and identified as a whole.
An interesting aspect of my research came about when I saw an interview online. John Kirwan (currently the spokesman of depression.org.nz, and former All Black) talked about his experiences dealing with depression and how he got through with support from his friends and family. A quote from this interview became almost inspirational for me, which really pushed me to get serious about my project. “I see identifying weakness as a strength and I think that with this if you identify and talk about it, it’s not a weakness…” (Kirwan 3:39). This quote is what got me thinking about how important encouragement for seeking help is, as well as how vital support is for someone who is dealing with depression.
Space and balance were used quite well within my project, specifically on the title pages where I had tried to make the design of the pages very clean. This helped to make the layout of each section page easy to follow, as its design was simple with lots of surrounded white space. This balance was created through the repetition of a specific simplistic layout which was used at regular intervals (section pages) of my publication to help give the reader’s eye a visual rest, as well as help to direct the eye to the opposite page containing an image. The balance between lots of white space on one page and a full bleed image on the opposite page really complimented and contrasted between the simplicity of the section pages and an image opposite that.
Scale also played a major part in my publication, mainly within the text/headings. In particular, the scale of the page numbers in the contents page was significantly larger in scale as opposed to any other text in my publication. The reason for this was because I was trying to show/highlight which aspect of the contents page was most important. This publication can/may be used as a reference manual in the sense that the reader is trying to quickly locate information, therefore having larger page numbers in the contents page can help to easily point out the page of what section the reader is looking for. The second largest size of text was the headings within each section that stood out as headings. The purpose for these being large scale was to attract attention to each section, as well as make it much more easier for the consumer to recognize which page contained what information. Having pages with larger scale text helped to create attention for the eye so that it could easily know what an important part of that page was.
Developing an idea right through is something I consider one of my strengths as a designer. I found myself constantly developing each page within my publication, as well as my posters, which made me understand how vital iterating work is. This practice of iteration has helped me in developing my work to its best and most visually appealing state. I find that constantly working on something is one of the most challenging yet satisfying rewards of being a designer. It has helped me see my development from the first piece of design, right through to the last iteration, and has shown how I have progressed and developed in my own practice as a designer.
My project has helped me gain important connections with networks of people such as The Lowdown team and The Ministry of Health (depression.org.nz), which is to my advantage as a designer because my project has potential to become a real project outside of Unitec. Communication back and forth between these two networks has brought a new insight to me as to how important and serious each network sees depression as, and how willing they were to help out with my project in terms of sending me relevant data and communicating.
What is different and exciting about my project is that my publication has been designed to influence positivity about depression. This illness is know to be surrounded with sadness as a subject and many people are not willing to talk about it, or avoid it as if it is the plague. I want my publication to help my audience change their perception on depression and start to see it in a brighter, more positive light, as well as gain the understanding of the importance of support and the knowledge of how they can help.
I needed to speak with someone I knew who had been dealing with depression earlier on in my planning phase. This part of my research enabled me to gain a new skill, which was the skill of empathizing with the person I was interviewing. The more I listened and tried to understand what the person was going through, the more understanding and knowledge about depression (as well as the person) I gained. For me this was an exciting aspect of my research as I got to briefly try and put myself into the shoes of another, almost to put myself in my interviewee’s position, to gain insight of what they went through and what support they needed. This is one of the major influences in my publication as I was able to have a conversation, on deeper scale, with someone who was battling with their depression at the time, this interview was also another reason which reinforced to me how important support is, as well as how big of a difference it can make in someone’s life.
I chose to create this project because I wanted to do something for the community, as well as something for the two very close people in my life who still battle with their depression, it is something I feel very passionate about. I am in the situation of the ‘supportive friend’ now and then, so I could understand the sorts of information someone who does not know a lot about depression needed. Having to experience this myself as a supporting friend as well as family member, I had learned and understood how incredibly important talking and listening is, and how much it can mean to that person. Knowing people on a personal scale who’d been battling with depression had given me the upper hand in my project. It gave me insight in what having depression might possibly be like, and with this insight I was able to design something that required me to think deeply about the needs of my audience. I was once amongst the audience that I aimed for in this project, not knowing what depression was, or even how I could help, but through all the research and designing for my project, I not only was able to sufficiently and effectively display design and information to create helpful graphics, but I was able to absorb all the data that I had researched, and applied this knowledge to the situations and conversations with my family member and friend.
“I think that hope is so important. If you’re in there freaking out, hang on to hope and grab hold of it.” (Kirwan 0:29). This quote was incredibly powerful for me as well as inspirational. This is what influenced the title of my publication, and made me realize how important holding on to hope can be for someone going through depression. The word Hope is part a phrase I had used for one of the posters I made. This is also a key word as I found it is used a lot amongst the already existing depression advertisements on television. I wanted to emphasize through one of my posters the fact that Hope is not just a singular activity for someone; it can also be a group action/a community for Hope, as some would call it.
My project is interesting and exciting for me in the way that it is a continuation from my last years project. It has been an exhilarating process for me to see my project unfold, develop, and come so far from what it had been last year in terms of its design. There is a direct link between both projects and having similar ideas surrounding my project last year, I have been able to have a great advantage this year as this was an opportunity for me to further my project and expand it to my fullest potential.
For the duration of this year, I had been working hard on the fabrication of two A2 sized posters, along with a publication. My decision to make posters was that I wanted to design something that could be seen and read in a way that would make the viewer think. I wanted the messages ‘Holding on to Hope’ and ‘Depression: It’s more than feeling blue’ to be read and thought about, in a way that would be influential to the viewer, as well as an encouragement for people who are unsure of how to help someone dealing with depression, or do not understand what depression is. This was achieved with a lot of user based research as I found that I needed to go back and forth between my focus group to see whether the phrases I was using were worded in a way that would make sense to my target audience.
Originally, I had decided on A3-sized posters as I felt that this would have been an appropriate size. Through the process of making and printing my posters at A3 scale, I had realized that the posters would be more effective at larger scale, influencing my decision on the current scale of the posters: A2 (420mmx594mm). The scale of the posters affected the design of it in a positive way as I’d used the word hope along the background in one of my posters. This repeated across the whole page, giving it a pattern-like effect, which was interesting as this meant that the viewer would have to engage themselves in moving closer to realize that the patters in the background was actually the word ‘hope’.
My second chosen output was a publication. Having decided on a publication gave me the opportunity to design my way into communicating my aim through the use of design elements such as colour, shape, balance, space, scale and unity. All of these elements helped in the success of my publication as I was able to use them effectively within the layouts of the pages. What I really enjoyed about working with an output such as a publication was that I was able to come up with so many different iterations of a page, giving me the chance to watch my work progress and grow from the first ideas I’d been working with, right through to the very last where I was most pleased with my work. I was not only able to watch my work grow, but I was also able to see myself grow as a designer.
I felt that working with a publication was a perfect way to display information in an interesting graphical way that would be of interest to my chosen audience. It was the best choice of output for the amount of information I was trying to display, as well as a way to challenge myself to further my skills as a designer and teach myself more about the subject I so passionately wanted to inform others of. It is very important to me that my work reaches out to people and helps them learn more about depression, and understand how important helping someone through this battle really is. Basing my project around this subject has given me the great opportunity to help other people in the community to expand their knowledge and understanding about this, and I do wish to push this project further later on to be used outside of Unitec.