Some of the best design responds to what is important to us as humans. From politics, health or the environment, design has the ability to inform and change opinion.
I’ve picked out a few projects to introduce you to the world of human-centred design. What they all have in common is an awareness of the needs of the general public. The starting point for developing ideas is usually using knowledge and research from personal and common human experiences. There is often a strong focus on collaboration outside the design industry to bring a wider perspective of the world and the issues that need to be addressed.
This is what human-centred design is all about – at its best it can make us change our behaviour for the better and educate us about issues that really matter. Take a look at the examples below to get you thinking.
Video: Graviky Labs. This pen contains inks made from air pollution captured from diesel engines. It was created by Anirudh Sharma, formerly of MIT Media Lab, and his company Graviky Labs. The power of this project is that it turns a pollutant into a work of art. In 2017 illustrator Kristopher Ho created a mural from the ink that boldly stated ‘This Art is painted with Air Pollution'.
Video: Type with Pride. NYC Pride and NewFest have worked with Ogilvy & Mather’s design team and foundry Fontself to create a typeface in honour of Gilbert Baker the original designer of the rainbow flag. This fun and colourful typeface holds a powerful message. It champions the colours of gay pride and stands for unity and acceptance of all. The type face is warm and inviting. Where the colours overlap a new complimentary hue is created. This mirrors the openness and acceptance of difference that characterises the LGBTQ movement.
Video: Callum Cooper. The ‘Mine Kafon’ was designed by Massoud Hassani. Via the power of wind the Mine Kafon is designed to detonate undiscovered landmines. This ingenious idea was inspired by Hassani’s childhood in Afganistan. He would play in and around land that was littered with millions of unexploded landmines. The genius of Hassani’s design is that it is cheap to make and once it is assembled the wind takes over. In the film, made by Callum Cooper, you can see paper models he started out with. This project is currently still in the development stage.
The ‘RSA Student Awards’ is a competition open to emerging designers that challenges them to ‘tackle pressing social, environmental or economic issues’. This year, one of the winners was Nelson Noll. Read about his experience on the CSM blog