{post 10} the road to homelessness.

design response. generative system. refined proposal. judith tan.

(Tan 2016) The title for the project is derived from the common phrase ‘all roads lead to Rome’, meaning that whatever road you take, it will eventually lead you to the same destination. While this is not necessarily true in life, I wanted to create an inevitability in the design response to highlight the ease at which one can become homeless, and how hard it is to escape from it.

Continue reading “{post 10} the road to homelessness.”


Post 10: Changing the Face of Homelessness : Urban Directory for the Homeless

– Maria Yanovsky 2016


There were several key insights I gained from asking my peers to review my draft proposition. On a positive note, the collaborative process between both human actors (non homeless people and homeless people) facilitated the creation of “solidarity to each-other” as picked up by my Tutor, Simone, which is an important aspect of my concept. However, several students and even the tutor picked up on how complex the process is, which would over complicate the effectiveness of the overall message being communicated. There are a few things I need to work on to narrow down the complexity of my proposal.

Firstly, I proposed that participants would receive a bundle of stories that demonstrate a breadth of emotional stories sourced from homeless experiences. It was noted that this experience would dull the experience and make the interaction feel almost chore like which would not encourage people to contribute to the experience.

Secondly it was noted that receiving a blank space of paper (especially at the size I was proposing), is too daunting for anyone, even creative practitioners, which is another barrier to the success of the proposal. It was suggested that I set up more parameters. After re-evaluating the brief, I believe it is possible to create some sort of manual generative illustration system to facilitate simple creative practice. However this is a critical point as members of my audience may not perceive themselves as creative practitioners.

Thirdly, it was mentioned that getting my participants to send back the paste-up posters takes the experience out of their hands and that it might be more interesting and fun for them if they got to paste up their work in the streets themselves. This piece of feedback reminded me of the (failed) Kony project which also sent out Guerilla Campaign packs to interested (paying) participants.

This leaves me with a few interesting avenues I can go along. Taking into consideration my audience, I can move any written content into an online platform such as a website which the user may choose to visit. I feel as if this would round off the service design aspect  of my proposal.


Design Proposition

Community Collaboration – “It’s people helping people. Human being working with other human beings to build trust, to find the root problem of their and develop specialised individualised plans for that person. Its people respecting people, acknowledging that we are equals.”- J.Hunt, 2014

Project Title:  Changing the Face of Homelessness : Urban Directory

Emergent Practice: Hybrid of Generative Practice and Service Design

The Issue: Within contemporary society, homelessness is a “swept under the carpet” concept despite how common this problem is becoming. Extensive stigmas and negative perceptions are large inhibitors for creating positive change, as interactions between non homeless and homeless residents is often met with negativity, hostility and most in concern, invisibility. To a struggling, marginalised group who are already experiencing a plethora of issues, further marginalisation can entrap a sense of hopelessness and a decreased sense of self worth. This is one of the largest barriers to entrenched homelessness. which does not help to engender a sense of hope within homeless community.


To create a sense of hope, understanding and community collaboration through a service design based Guerrilla Street art project in the form of a mailable package where participants will receive a designed poster which they can colour and populate Sydney’s Urban landscape themselves supported with a campaign website. Colour, can go a long way in creating positive tone and emotions, through creating vibrancy and friendliness which are core themes at the heart of this project.

Generative Design/ Collaborative Component

Participants will be sent a Paste Up package, which will include 1 A2 Paste up sheet (design included) and a small booklet that will explain the collaboration, how to make wheat paste, and how to paste up participant creations. The branding will be strictly black and white typographic and vector illustrations, to allow all colour and any form of expression to be generated by the participant. The design of the poster content will be based off experimental drawing styles so that members of the homeless community do not feel exploited through clear expressions of recognizbale personalities, this also provides a prescriptive guideline for participants to interact with that removes the daunting nature of a blank sheet of paper. There is no set colour palette or colouring style, all of that will be left to the pleasure of the participant. The project aims to act upon the misconception that homeless means “living on the street” through the incursion of the posters into the urban setting. The ephemeral nature of Street Art will also assist in the generation of new content, as the posters decay, the campaign can be updated with more illustrations, more contributions more stories. Keeping the project relevant.

The Service

The entire campaign aims to tie in generative design practices for Guerrilla styled advertising of service related hashtags which will be pasted into Sydney Urban landscape. The project aims to directly bring a directory of useful hashtags to anyone within the extensive homeless community an array of useful hashtags in which they may seek further assistance on their own accord. These posters will also aim to capture the curiosity of any passers by so they may to, curiously research the project and the hash tags generating further understanding, empathy and down the line, a greater sense of hope from increased participation in the project and testimonials from members who have benefited from the campaign. To ensure that early participants gain some sort of understanding, the service will be tied in with a website which will provide stories sourced from interviews, blogs, forums and Talks which match the initial design. The website will also explain the campaign, provide testimonials, provide additional downloadables in the event printed packages are lost as well as provide a project aim.

This design response targets several patterns of behaviour, it targets viral trends where especially within the target audience, digital media is easily accessed and exploited through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, where hashtags run rampant as a promotional tool. It targets the current fad of adult, therapeutic colouring in books and it targets the search of social services for the homeless. The most important important behaviour this interaction considers is the need for privacy among both of the human actors, who may not always want to make their motives or issues known to everybody for judgement especially at face value.

For the non homeless actors, this contribution will aim to develop a greater understanding on the concept of homelessness as well as a sense of creative charity hopefully making the actor feel comfortable that they don’t have to make a financial or face to face contribution to help out a marginalised group within Sydney. For the homeless actors, this contribution will aim to create a sense of cheer and hope through the artistic expressions being pasted up in their “un-homely spaces”. The design proposal thus aims to give non direct assistance to homeless people. The use of bright vibrant images generated by non homeless is to provide “the catchy hook” so that attention is drawn to the supporting hashtag directory of social services that homeless people in Sydney can use.
For non homeless actors. there is no linear direction of touch points. A non homeless person can be informed of this service by simply walking in the street and seeing examples, or when they perusing online where initial examples can be used to promote the service. Facebook, Instagram and twitter are effective tools for quickly communicating the existence of any ephemeral material. Another key touchpoint is the website, which will feature the crux of the design project. It will contain stories, paste up instructions, and generative design instructions as well as a downloadable version of the printout that will be mailed. It will also feature details about the project to well inform any member of the human actors of the significance of this project. The final touchpoint, is the paste up kit that will be sent to participants. This will include a full scale, ready to use paste up, a booklet with generative design instructions, and paste up instructions (including how to make environmentally safe wheat paste) in a branded envelope.


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(Image Sequence, Design Proposal Mocks. Yanovsky,M. 2016)

Hunt, J.  Published on Oct 04, 2014, ‘How Can I bring Dignity to the Homeless?”, Viewed September 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g3x_cuK5SM&gt;.

post 10: design proposition


After explaining my design proposal a number of questions were raised on whether my idea was ethically suitable for what I was trying to achieve. My concept revolved around diminishing the idea of judgements, assumptions and stereotypes through the use of choosing an option that would inform the user whether or not the story was relating to a homeless person. Thus creating a realisation for the user that their initial thoughts are not what they seem. In doing this, the design of the proposal puts the user on the spot and judges them as well, not keeping in mind the homeless person being judged also. As this was not my aim, I took a different turn with my interaction.

One thing that was not made clear through my proposal was the interaction process to reach to a result. I was advised to take a further look into the interaction process of how the design would work and how it can be further designed to be a generative design.
After listening to my groups proposals I felt that my idea was lacking what I was originally trying to achieve. Even though are ideas may be different in regards to context the outcome of what we are all trying to achieve are similar.

To further push my concepts, my group suggested to continue to research into homelessness on digital platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, online articles/stories) that can inspire me to push through my idea.

draft design proposal

I initially started researching how to prevent homelessness amongst. Gradually, my research led me to notice a strong trail of misconceptions and the harsh realities of homelessness. At this point it was a scary realisation that the world views homeless in such negative and hopeless way. My research took a turn in paths after we did the data scrapping. Through this research it further conveyed the misconceptions and little knowledge that the public had on homeless people. Finally I took an interest into how society relies of face value to determine if someone is homeless or not rather than having an open mind and look deeper into their situation.

project title.
Its not what it seems

practice type.
Generative Design

the issue.
In today’s society the youth of the public have become desensitised to social issues while keeping themselves at first thought. This has resulted in members of society to have misconceptions about homelessness and take it for face value. Factors such as appearances, assumptions, media, film, and first impressions play a major part into how society perceives the homeless community. The first thing that enters a persons mind upon passing a homeless person is the stereotypical thoughts that this person may have a drug and alcohol addiction or they haven’t showered or groomed themselves in a long time. But what people don’t know is that these people are humans just like everyone in the world. Some of which are educated, have a job but are not in the best situation at the moment. Complex issue

possible change.
 To break the stereotypes and multilayered assumptions the youth have on the homeless community by keeping an open mind and view complexities of a situation that it is not what it seems.

the design action to support the change.
 An interactive board will be erected in well populated areas where the youth are likely to thrive (university campuses, shopping centres). From this the board will consist of an image library of real homeless people who may look successful and financially stable but are struggling with their lives. The user will be unaware of their situation until they take a closer look into their lives. It will continue showing a slideshow of images until the user has picked a photo to view. Here the user will take a closer look into the life of the current persona chosen in the image. For example, two friends are shown in a coffee shop, one of which is homeless. In order to get around her daily life she is couch surfing at her friend’s house with a history of domestic violence. In addition, she’s a migrant and is not eligible for any housing. From this users are able to see that homelessness is not what they think is it. Appearance plays an important role with how people view and judge homeless people.

further feedback

Upon refining my draft proposal and receiving feedback from my group, there were some points to take a closer look at. These are as follows:

  • My tutor Simone, pointed out that the user is very passive by only clicking things and suggested that things need to be interactive in order for this design to work
  • I needed to create an active presence and discover other ways to reveal the stories in a positive and engaging way
  • They also suggested trying to imagine engaging with the design and how it can be shifted in a space
  • They also pointed out that maybe an interactive board was not the best option to achieve my design proposition

From this I was able to veer into a different path to create a physical interaction rather than using an interactive board.

design proposal

Behind the Curtain

project type.
Generative Design

In today’s society, the youth of the public have become desensitised to social issues while keeping themselves at first thought. As a result, misconceptions about homelessness have been taken out of context and is viewed by first impressions lead by the current stereotypes. Factors such as appearances, assumptions, media, film, and first impressions play a major part into how society perceives the homeless community. The first thing that enters a persons mind upon passing a homeless person is the stereotypical thoughts that this person may have a drug and alcohol addiction or have put themselves in that position and aren’t doing anything to remove themselves from their current situation. But what people don’t know is that these people are humans just like everyone in the world. Some of which are educated, have a job but are not in the best situation at the moment.

possible change.
To break the stereotypes and the multilayered assumptions the youth have on the homeless community by keeping an open mind and view the complexities of a situation that it is not what it seems. As well as having a better understanding about the issue, users will develop empathetic feelings towards homeless people in the hopes to take action and make a change in the homeless community and how they generally perceive homeless people. This will also generate a sense of hope that will be reflective from their experience.

the design action to support the change:
A seating arrangement situated in a university setting where an individual or a group of people converse with someone (homeless participant) who is behind a curtain. A set of instructions will be laid out on the table and a set of rules on how to participate with this design. It will prompt them to have an open mind and must solve a riddle to continue forward. Playing on the idea that there is more than what meets the eye, the user will have a normal conversation with them that leads to the revelation that they are conversing with a homeless person. Once the curtain is pulled away they are given a chance to see each other and reflect on their thoughts of their first impressions. Can the conversation between the user and homeless participant change their perceptions before looking at them? This will be followed with a written entry of what they’ve learnt from their experience, that will be displayed for other people to view.

image of how the user will interact with the design
image of how the user will interact with the design – the big reveal. 

POST 10: Reflection and Proposition // The Waiting Room



When I explained my concept to my partner and tutor, there were some great pieces of feedback that helped solve some issues in my proposal. I always find that my ideas develop a lot better when I try and explain it to someone out loud so this class exercise was invaluable in shaping and improving my design proposition.

I firstly identified my design proposition as a combination of a generative system and service design in the form of an app. The aim of the app is to make the experience of being in a doctors waiting room and appointment more humanising. One of the main pieces of feedback I received was how to create a common language between patient and doctor. From this feedback, I went back and read through my scholarly articles that first sparked this idea to gain more data and information to create this language.

Another aspect of my proposition that I hadn’t considered was how to make the app a post and pre experience for both patient and doctor. Will the doctor have access to what the patient is recording in real-time or will the doctor just have access to the accumulated data of various patients? I think the latter is more realistic but it would be great if the doctor could know what their next patient is feeling before they enter the room. This means the app needs to be site-specific and integrated in the space of a doctors waiting room and office.

Finally, the main problem with my design proposition is that I need to make it engaging so people using it become attached to it. My tutor used the app Pause as an example of an engaging design. The way the user follows the flowing shapes on the screen is meditative and draws the user in. This visual engagement and level of meditation is something I want to emulate through my design proposal so I conducted some more research into interactive mobile apps. Once example I found was Feel Me by Marco Triverio explores the disconnect present in communication through technological devices. As one person moves their finger on the screen, the other person can see the movement in real-tim. This is a concept I want to explore in my design response as it creates an emotive connection between both users.

Overall, my design proposition received a positive response with some small issues that I have addressed above. My tutor said it was something she hadn’t heard of or considered before so I think that the basis of my concept is solid. Now, I just need to refine my proposition and figure out how to visually represent it.


The Waiting Room

Generative/ Service Design

The receptionist is typing vigorously while the printer whirs and spits out sheets of paper. A child is crying in his mothers arms while she rocks him hysterically to silence him. The man to your left is jiggling his right leg which is making the couch you’re sitting on move and the woman to your rights is tapping her pen on the clipboard piled with forms. You are sitting amongst all this noise about to see your doctor. How do you feel?

Put yourself in this situation. We have all been there before. There is no wonder then that the stigma of mental health patients not wanting to seek help is so prevalent. The way we feel in particular situations is often based on our environment. Through my design response, I want people in the space of a doctors waiting room to be able to feel comfortable to talk about their feelings, especially when it is time for them to interact with the doctor. The problem I am addressing is the stigma doctors often inflicted upon patients and the stigma of patients not wanting to seek help. It is a double-sided issue which makes it even more complex.

I propose a generative and service design app called The Waiting Room which is site specific to stressful and suspenseful situations such as waiting to see your doctor. The aim of the app is to make the user feel comfortable and positive in that environment and to be aware of their feelings. This enables patients to connect with their thoughts in order to communicate them better to a doctor.

The Waiting Room can be classified as a meditative app to prepare patient’s minds for their appointment. The user will be able to build their emotions using abstract shapes such as squares, circles and curves by they won’t know the exact meaning of each shape. While the patient is creating their abstract artwork, the doctor will have a real time connection and knows what each shape represents. This enable the patient to meditate and connect with their thoughts whilst the doctor knows how the patient may be feeling before the appointment. It is an abstract and gentle connection between patient and doctor that isn’t invasive and will hopefully improve both mind sets and reduce stigma.

Featured Image:

Unknown. 2015, Don’t Waste Your Wait, viewed 25 September 2016, <http://write15minutes.com/category/patience/>

{post 9} the visual documentation & reflection of post 8.

collaborative process. visual documentation. reflection. judith tan.

Visual documentation and reflection on the collaborative brainstorming process as discussed in post 8.

{group brainstorming}

(Yanovsky, Grieve, Dakkak, Stollery & Tan 2016) We all wrote down our individual ideas for each other’s propositions onto one sheet of paper, as our focusses, objectives and goals were quite similar.

Continue reading “{post 9} the visual documentation & reflection of post 8.”

{post 8} the process of arriving at a design response.

collaborative process. design response possibilities. draft proposal. judith tan.

(Flatau 2016)

We came together as a group to brainstorm possibilities for design responses to our focuses for the issue of homelessness. My objective, what I wanted my design response to achieve, was this:

To shift/change (even slightly) the public’s perception of homelessness (e.g. how easy it is to become homeless, etc.). This would cause the public to be less judgmental and more understanding, help them refrain from jumping to conclusions, be more willing to help and more informed in how to help. The shift in perspectives and attitudes would benefit the homeless and also the organisations seeking to help them.

Continue reading “{post 8} the process of arriving at a design response.”

Brainstorming possibilities for preventing from being sedentary.

Blog post 8. Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

Written by Hyunjoung You

After finished mapping and further research for my specific issue, I found that sedentary work could cause diverse disease such obesity, physical and mental problem. In week 6’s tutorial, we started to brainstorm the possibilities for a design response to our issue. Our tutor let us brainstorm via 5‘W’ at first to analyze the problem and draw problem statement.

5’W’ Analyzing problem

The problem : Sedentary work linked to physical and mental health such as obesity, backache and depression.

1. WHO does the problem affect?

People who do sedentary work such as office worker, designer, driver and students are affected by this problem. They usually work using computers and need to sit down for a while.

2. WHAT are the boundaries of the problem?

  • Lack of willpower 

In fact, people are aware of how sedentary lifestyle affects their health negatively. However, it is really difficult to change their lifestyle since they used to live sedentary lifestyle. People are already exposed to comfortable lifestyle; thus, they began to prefer driving car rather than taking walk or riding bicycles; using lifts or elevators rather than climbing stairs. Therefore, people need more reminders to act by themselves for their health.

  • Work Environment

The employees do not really move their body at workplaces because they are able to work sitting down on the chairs. Most workers might move when they have lunch times. Moreover, most offices have lifts or elevators, so the workers do not have chances to even a short walk. The companies have responsibilities for their employees’ health because working hours are not short.

3. WHEN does the problem occur?

When people do not do physical activities at all, the problem occurs.

– Constantly sitting down

4. WHERE does the problem occur?

Companies / Home / School / University

5. WHY is it important? Why we have to look at it, and why we have to design for it?

Healthy living is one of important things to improve people’s life quality. It does not mean not only physically healthy, also mentally healthy. However, being sedentary affect both of physical and mental health negatively that is why we should look at this issue, and design for it.


5 ‘W’, one of brainstorming exercise, helped me to drew the problem statement.

Problem Statement

How do we make / motivate people being active from sedentary ?


Five Possibilities

I divided into three sections. They are service design, generative system, and data visualisation to come up with five possible designs are based on the problem statement.

  1. Physical activities programs and products (Service design)

Company can provide their employees with some physical activities programs such as morning yoga and after-work team sports. Also, they can offer the products that prevent the employees from being sedentary during work: standing desk, massage chair or running machine with desk.

  1. Exhibition (Generative system)

To give awareness how being sedentary lifestyle is harmful, we can hold small exhibition in public / open space. The exhibition would display photography or art works that are caused by a sedentary lifestyle such as the illustration of obesity, photography of person who suffers lower back pain, or express anxiety. The last piece at the exhibition shows sedentary lifestyle: constantly sitting, lying on the bed, and watching TV, etc. People will realize that sedentary lifestyle brings about lots of problem not only physical problems, also mental problems; therefore, it will help them to remind of it.

  1. Postcard in magazine (Service design + generative system + data visualization)

Government or organizations that are related to public health provide the companies with lifestyle magazine to inform how bad sedentary work is and obtain the data from the survey. We can create infographic design to explain about the problems of sedentary work on one page or more. Moreover, we need to put the postcard in the back, which includes the survey is asking about their daily routine. One of the questions would be ‘how long they are sedentary per day?’ Thus, we can use the results of the survey to create data visualization as a further possibility.

  1. App (Service design)

The function of this application is asking the employees to do some physical activities and care about their health. Company can install the application in their employees’ computers to motivate them to move.

  1. Short video (Service design)

We can create the video to promote physical activities. The video shows how to do simple exercise that office workers can do at their workplaces. The length of video is be about 5 minutes, and it plays before quitting time. Therefore, the office workers can refresh by simple work out before leaving the offices, and feel better.


I am still considering between exhibition and app as my final design response at the moment. However, I already explained more detail about exhibition, so I would like to talk about the application.

Through 5 ‘W’, I analyzed that people have already recognized about the negative effects of being sedentary. However, one of the barriers to not being sedentary was the lack of willpower. Especially, the office workers do not have time to do some physical activities. They used to live sedentary lifestyle, so it would be difficult to change their lifestyle immediately. I found that the better way to motivate them being active during work or after work is reminding them of being active.

Draft Proposal

Sedentary lifestyle brings about diverse physical and mental problems such as obesity, lower back pain, and depression. However, some people need to be sedentary, especially, if they do sedentary work.

My issue is “How do we prevent the office workers from being sedentary?” I aim to encourage the office workers to do some physical actions during work or after work via my proposal. The design type is application (service design). Companies can install this application on their employees’ computers. The application will pop up the text in a window, which is asking to do some physical actions for the workers’ health by periods. The text will have friendly tone, so it might give little fun in their tired and repeated working lifestyle.





Post 8: Changing the Face Of Homelessness

Brainstorming Possibilities for a Design Response.

– Maria Yanovsky 2016


Before reading this post, I implore you to watch this particular TED talk. It is one thing to hear this discussion from global speakers, but there is a resonating power, hearing Orsini’s point of view as a part of the contemporary Australian youth. It is predominantly to the ideas that she is expressing (alienation, stigma, negative assumptions, mistrust, invisibility, stereotypes) that I wish to design to. To understand the crux of homelessness and why I am designing what I am designing, this TED talk is on point the results all my previous posts have been exploring.                 


“If you’re not apart of the solution, you’re part of the problem”- Maurice Young, 2015

From newspaper articles to essays, to social experiments to data mining social media. To analysing images and countless brainstorming. What does this all sum up to? Within my understanding of the core roots of homelessness this entire process has given me clarity into the heart of the issues that drive alienation and dehumization of marginalised social groups such as the homeless. These answers may seem bleak, however the potential for positive change is fruitless. This next post will aim to examine an angle in which I would like to take a design proposition, predominantly focusing on the dehumanisation of Homelessness through stigma; specifically, alienation  which occurs through discourse and voluntary and involuntary human actions. In order to come up with a clear problem statement and draft proposal it was pertinent that I examine the five w’s to narrow down all the research and my thoughts into a concise paragraph.



  • Homeless people are at the pinnacle of this issue, as it both involves and affects them. However, this is such a broad term, there are homeless kids, adults, migrants, mothers, mentally ill people and many who are experiencing many kinds of homelessness which including sleeping on the street, couch surfing, staying at a friends place or in shelters. The term focusses on displacement of the concept of home.
  • The general public and passers by, pedestrians on the street who have a lack of empathy or understanding which can cause a negative reaction and the circulation of stigma with general discourse
  • Support workers, whose resources are stretched thin that devote their spare time to helping homeless people
  • Businesses (with charitable intentions), who despite common discourse and stigma devote a fraction of their hard owned funds to giving back to the community for the sake of the community.
  • Businesses  who on the tip side of the coin take advantage of these negative perceptions to demonstrate “their helping hand of god” to help their own reputation grow as opposed to the benefit of the homeless
  • Urban youth, who misuse language and terms within discourse further perpetuating negative stigma.
  •  Corporate bodies (fashion, technology, media) that peddle the importance of consumerism, shifting the focus off charity and onto the consumption of material goods generating a look and feel for societies to follow



There are several boundaries to the issue of stigma towards homelessness. Linguistic terminology and identification is amongst the most damaging in terms of alienation and stigma, where through discourse terminology is used either ignorantly without an understanding of the terms roots or for the lack of empathy of the emotional impact to those affected by these terms and labels.  Barriers in linguistic can be passive as well, where discourse generates disparaging terms directly associated to those within the affected social group.

Representational barriers such as negative imagery within Television and film (predominantly serial shows and cartoons)  perpetuate existing ideas in societies who are influenced by an often inaccurate and often uncomfortable representation of people from the homeless community which subliminally and through repetition cements stigma.

Through this boundary comes a deeper psychological boundary where instinct drives an incomparable fear. These stem from the psychological where people are told that the homeless are not safe from a young age thus the idea burns on as members of society grow into adulthood. This is where people feel a sense of discomfort from behaviors, appearance or smell. Psychological boundaries also exists in  an almost Darwinian frame of thinking where people shroud the issue with a proverbial blanket rendering it invisible due to the fear that this could possibly happen to “you”  creating an ignorance barrier stemming into a Structural problem of “Us v.s Them” mentality which is further perpetuated through labelling in attempts to discuss and in a way, understand the issue.

Lack of awareness and understanding is one of the most serious barriers to this issue. As demonstrated within my examinations of articles and representation the concept of homelessness is not a considerably heated topic. Limited discussions happen within politics which means even less filters down into society. This generates a lack of empathy as people begin to “sweep under the carpet” an issue that is commonly encountered within urban environments. This barrier comes from a lack of the other three factors listed above as well as a lack of education within institutions which do not specifically highlight homelessness as an issue, rather focus on bullying as a whole.


This sort of stigma happens all the time through various physical and online interactions. On the street this sort of alienation can occur in simple occurrences such as when a member of the homeless community walks passed people in public spaces and people are repelled by their smell or appearance. Stigma occurs when pedestrians walk past members of the homeless community who are sleeping on the street or who are stared at while they sleep. On the obverse, this issue occurs when homeless people are ignored when begging for money. This issue also occurs in shops and restaurants where a member of this community are refused service because they do not fit the standards of social norms. Stigma and alienation occurs (more ignorantly) online with the misuse of labels and terminology when discussing one’s own appearance or physical state and in the rarer instances when discussing those who are affected by this issue directly. Terminology such as this has seeped into social media such as twitter, where fashion bloggers detach terms such as “hobo” in the descriptions of their products.


This problem occurs in both physical and online spaces, within conversation and in print. This problem can be seen walking around densely populated urban areas where members of this community would find a higher concentration of people and resources to help them. In Sydney for example this problem often occurs along George St, in City CBD street corners where people often ignore beggars and buskers at Belmore Park where many people feel it is unsafe to walk at certain times of the night because of a small homeless camp that resides there, in fast food places where members of the homeless community go to buy a cheap meal and at train stations like Central  where many members seek warm, protected shelter. The problem occurs often in passing if either a pedestrian is walking by or a member of the homeless community, generally as indirect contact, however it can occur directly if more direct interaction is made in say for example, a conversational instance where a member of the homeless community is asking passers by for money.

This issue also occurs online in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram) as well as online forums where the continued misuse of terminology is more commonly found due to the internet’s power of invisibility where users can say what they want without fear of judgement.

Stemming from this, the problem occurs in conversation both physical and online where experiences are shared and discussed. This happens in Blogs as well such Reddit, however it can be as seemingly harmless as people discussing the latest “hobo” bag or how “hobo” they look today.

Homeless people are often denied any assistance or have compassionate gestures withheld upon first-glance because people are repelled by uncomfortable smells and disheveled, tattered appearance. This reaction is not only physical but ingrained through common discourse in which their state of homelessness is pinned to affirmation that they “fucked up” by “going down the wrong path” and therefore don’t deserve “or hard owned help”. People of the homeless community may have issues within their lives however they are still part of our community. People have enough issues in their lives and some of the members of the homeless community carry heavy cases of mental illness. On their road to finding a solution to their problem or recovery, the last thing anyone needs is to be treated like filth, teased, sneered at and judged. Through the interview conducted in one of my previous blogs the participant said they need to be able to help themselves. Through social exclusion, it is very hard for anyone to even want to help themselves. Through a simple change in attitude there is the potential of a cost free solution which will require no intervention from the Government.


Homelessness is a blanket term used to describe a state of being homeless. It is a highly misconceived term. From the examination above I have come to the conclusion that there are several key issues that are involved with the perpetual dehumanizing and alienating stigmas towards homeless people. This includes:-

  • Resentment
  • Lack of understanding.
  • Lack of empathy.
  • Natural Instinct, where a natural discomfort occurs.
  • Ingrained negative perceptions subliminally bombarded through visual media.
  • Desensitised and passive use of language.


As you can read, these causes are all negative. To create effective change, it will be important to flip these perceptions and feelings into a more positive sphere to engender optimism and confidence that the solution isn’t exploiting any parties in a tense economic climate. In post 9, I will further demonstrate how I have structured my emotive foundations.


The problem statement

Within modern urban societies one of the largest issues faced in motivated personal problem solving associated with practical and positive life choices comes from the dehumanizing and alienating factors associated with perpetuated stigma. This is a clear case within Homeless societies across the world, who generally make clear cut attempts to create positive personal change but are knocked back by negative societal attitudes and perceptions. There is a lack of hope, and a lack of optimism generating a sizeable wedge between effective solutions and the willingness to implement these solutions.


  • A sense of inclusiveness, removing any us and them barriers by creating a positive image of the excluded society group engendering a sense of hopefulness from the target audience.
  •  A “churn in the gut” feeling to create a sense of realisation that terminology is being used incorrectly and insensitively through possibly a twitter bot that will retweet stories sourced online from homeless people to people on twitter who use the term “hobo” or “bum” distastefully.


Collect the data from the twitter bot and create a mock installation room for an exhibition. The room can contain objects however every aspect of the small room must be covered in tweets that exemplify the idea of stigmatism towards homeless people or show that terminology is to being used incorrectly. This will aim to create an uncomfortable, invasive space. Outside there is to be a document compiled with sourced experiences and stories from homeless people taken from articles, blogs and forums to tie in with the experience and create a churn in the gut feeling.

  • Create a sense of empathetic understanding through immersive, empathetic experiences that may demonstrate that the state of homelessness can happen to anybody with the current global financial climate, highlighting that youth are most at risk to falling into a cyclical homeless cycle.
  •  Create a sense of understanding from non homeless people to find or contribute to a system that then engenders  either a sense of hopefulness and positivity from the homeless community, this would be done through some sort of service design or potentially a hybrid service and generative system design which would incorporate elements of both practices to come out with an outcome suited to 18-24 year olds.
  • Create a sense of frustration, irritation and loneliness by creating an empathetic experience that simulates the process of getting a spot to stay in a homeless shelter for a night.


Draft Proposal

Due to a lack of empathetic and knowledge based understanding instinctual precepts, stigma and alienation towards the marginalised group – the Homeless, runs rampant within contemporary urban societies. To create effective and long lasting change, these negative perceptions need to be shifted to achieve “help me to help you” attitude to ensure that members of the homeless community can retain a sense of hope to continue attempting to create their own solution.

I propose to pitch a hybrid design that crosses generative design and service design to educate both key stakeholders (non-homeless people and homeless people) within current urban spaces to perspectively achieve a depth of knowledge and a sense of hope. I would like to design a pack of Paste Ups which would feature an A1 black and white picture of an empty picture frame with space for the user to fill in with their own artwork. Included in this pack will be a carefully curated selection of stories from members of the homeless community to give the participant a greater insight into homeless life. The participant will then be asked to decorate the blank space in response to the material that has been read, send their posters back, which will be turned into a Guerrilla Poster series accompanied with Paste Up hashtags of services linked with the stories sent to the participant. The project will set up a system of conventions and steps the participants need to follow to achieve an outcome, but the outcome will rest solely in their own hands .

The project aims to create an outcome for both parties involved within this issue by taking into consideration the importance of an urban wall as a non human actor within the scope of homelessness. Brining a communal project to create hopeful, positive works to invade the often bleak and uninspiring urban spaces in which the homeless often reside (especially in Sydney). This would chef rom the power of colour on the human psyche as well as the “olive branch” metaphorical gesture these works present as an attempt by a non homeless person to make a difference to a homeless persons life.

Participants in turn, would gain better insights to what it is like to be homeless, thus creating a knowledge based empathy.This project will then aim to translate into a collaborative generative design in which the participant will be guided into creating bright, vibrant artwork to contribute to the “urban directory” of hashtags creating a positive link of contribution between both stakeholders. The final product pasted in the street, will parallel the feel of a decorated homely item and will aim to “brighten up” the bleak world of someone who is homeless weather they are on the street or are in transit from whatever shelter they may be living in. The addition of service related hashtags aims to extend a directory of options to homeless communities giving people options if their internet access is limited or if they are unsure of where to start.

Street art activism, is a youthful and creative response to various social issues that youth across the globe can get involved with and enjoy. Inspired by projects such as Kony (the idea behind it not the manipulative execution) as well as the “Anti Cancer Paste Up” campaign by J. Walter I aim to engage the ages between 18-25 to taking a less monetary approach to helping the issue of homlessness.

Young, M.  Published on Nov 12, 2015, ‘Homeless by design?”, Viewed September 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsZEXkCABCw&gt;.
Orsini,B. “The Unexpected face of Homelessness” TED x Macquarie University, Published on Dec 3 2013. Viewed in September 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w18ZuellVts&gt;

post eight: the journey to the design response

by zena dakkak
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Individual brainstorm for 3A

My previous research consisted of the prevention methods of homelessness amongst the youth in the community. As I progressed into my research I gradually started to see the misconceptions, and negative views that society holds against the homeless community. To be completely honest I was one of those people who viewed and ignored the homeless people as I walked through Central tunnel. Through the final stages of collaborative mapping and research, I decided to focus on the desensitisation of societies perceptions of the homeless community.
My objective for this project is to open the eyes of society and break the barriers that allow society to view the homeless community as invisible. As well as my previous point, I hope to diminish the assumptions carried with the word homeless and the issues associated with society and the homeless community.

Individual brainstorm for 3B

five possible design responses:

  • Portraits of Invisibles. A series of portraits of real life people who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness. These posters will be situated in well populated areas that the target audience can view (university campus, train station, on buses as well as bus stops, shopping centres).
  • Pick & Choose. Interactive board that consists of stories of homeless people with hidden talents and information that would surprise the people of the public. 
  • The Mirror of Homelessness. Present a mirror that hangs from the ceiling. The person approaches it, portraying anyone can be homeless no matter who or what they’ve done in their life. 
  • ‘Have a Conversation with Me’. A table will be set up allowing people of the public to have conversations with people of the homeless community. This will enable people to communicate with them with the realisation that they are members of society just like they are. It will also create a positive outlook onto the homeless community that will bring hope. 
  • A Day in their Shoes. Attach a GoPro to a member of the homeless community to illustrate the harsh realities of society’s view on the issue of homelessness.

draft proposal

project title.
Pick & Choose.

practice type.
Generative design

the issue.
People of society, especially youth, don’t realise the complexity of homelessness. Based on face value, they judge the appearance of a homeless person not knowing anything about their background. In most cases, the homeless community have an educated background, a job and have hidden talents that everyone is not aware of because they are not given a chance.

the possible change.
In the hopes to encourage users to approach, help and raise awareness about this issues of homelessness amongst youths. This project will surprise and startle users to reflect on how they perceive people based on their looks rather than dissecting the multilayered assumptions society already holds.

the design action to support change.
To create an interactive board that allows users to pick and choose whether they think this person is homeless or not. This will be based on the real life stories that is evident on the screen. The users, not knowing the story is of a homeless person, then proceed to make a decision with their take of the situation. In some instances they will choose the wrong option which can lead them with the realisation that this story is based on a homeless person that is not described as their typical stereotypes.

POST 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

By Jansie Vo

After the past six weeks of researching and brainstorming, I finally jump to the important stage of developing our proposal into three types of design practice: data visualisation, service design and generative system. During the class’s tutorials, collaborative group work has played a significant role in the discovery and expanding of my deep understanding into the mental health issue. Although it’s been long progress and ambiguous journey to get to this point cause of the misunderstood of an issue and mindblock sometimes, after the help from an extra workshop and group mind-mapping, I am excited to think about how I could visualise my specific issue and develop my initial proposal. Below there are the five cues that help me articulate my issue statement:

1. Who does the problem affect?
Everyone can be afftected by mental illness in all ages group including people who have never experienced in mental health. Also mental illnesses sometimes run in families, suggesting that people who have a family member with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to develop one themselves. Susceptibility is passed on in families through genes

2. What are the boundaries of the issue?
There is lack of awareness, support and recognition of mental health problem.

3.4. When/where does the problem occur?
Anywhere, anytime. We can all be “sad” or “blue” at times in our lives. We have all seen movies about the madman and his crime spree, with the underlying cause of mental illness. We sometimes even make jokes about people being crazy or nuts, even though we know that we shouldn’t. Many of our preconceptions are incorrect. A mental illness can be occured as a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and that causes the person distress.

5. Why is it important?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Giving the support, raising the awareness is the significant things to avoid the levels of suicide affected by mental illness.

For my draft design proposal, from five cues I mentioned above, my initial idea is to create interactive design/ campain in order to effectively approach this issue and to support someone with a mental health problem.

  • Generative design: organizing an event where people can share their story, make friend, entertain with many games that help people who suffer in mental illness avoiding to be sad or lonely. The volunteers can ask them how they’re feeling every once in a while to let them know they can open up. Find out about the small things can do to support mental health people and make a pledge to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.
  • Service design: an interactive app on smartphone or display in public space to educate people and provide people a deep understanding of how creepy when they use derogatory language to describe people with mental health problems, emphasise the feeling and be raising awareness. Experiencing in the position and perspectives of people in mental illness.
  • Data visualisation: By using data visualisation to educate people, a poster with simple photograph can effectively communicate the message of what the mental health issue presents today, allowing people be awareness and accept the issue, be open up and become friendly with those people in mental health problem.

Type 1 Diabetes: Brainstorming for a Design Response

Post 9 by Lucy Allen

The word brainstorming as so many immediate connotations, not all of these very exciting. When it comes to understanding a topic and defining an issue however the process of brainstorming is vital. We explored a number of brainstorming activities that provided us with the depth and material to then define a design response.

One of the initial brainstorming tasks we undertook in class asked us to identify some issues in regards to our topic and then break these down by defining:

WHO Does the problem effect?
WHAT are the boundaries of the problem?
WHEN does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?
WHERE does it occur?
WHY does it occur?

An example of this method in practice

I found this activity particularly helpful in forcing me to breakdown an issue so that myself and others could understand it fully. This activity also provided a structure for me to write my issue statement from.

It was also mentioned that when narrowing in on an issue a really fantastic way of exploring and understanding it is to continuously ask why, just like a child would. I absolutely LOVED this exercise and it allowed me to really understand WHY this issue existed and work out where within the system change and response was needed.

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An extract taken from asking why


When it came to brainstorming as a group, attempting to map potential responses to my specific issue was quite a struggle for other members of my group. I think this was due to the fact that my issue is so specific and knowledge dependant. Despite this barrier we were able to come up with a few really promising emergent responses to my issue. One of the benefits of doing this particular task as a group meant that I got to hear the different opinions and responses of my group members, brainstorming responses I may otherwise have never ventured towards. It was a shame that this particular brainstorming took place at the end of class as by this time everyone was quite tired and lacking brain power!

Group Brainstorm

I received some really valuable feedback in response to our groups map. It was suggested that I think about the values of understanding, connection and acceptance in their individual forms, particularly when deciding on which emergent response to pursue. From this initial group brainstorm I was inspired me to continue developing and brainstorming responses to the issue, developing the map and honing in on a particular response.

Building upon our group brainstorming

I did find throughout this process that it was hard to generate lots of ideas. Despite this I found a few responses that I’m excited to pursue, you can read all about this in my recent blog post A Design Response for Type 1 Diabetes.

A Design Response for Type 1 Diabetes

 Post 8 by Lucy Allen

The ability to brainstorm and discuss in a collaborative group throughout this process has been so beneficial in my own discoveries but also in broadening my understanding in different areas of ‘Obesity and Healthy living’ through the work of other group members.

Identifying possible issues to respond to required me to draw upon my many weeks of research and findings to extract the fundamental issues at play in the realm of Type 1 Diabetes.

Identified Issues

  • There is wide-spread confusion and lack of education as to the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  • People living with Type 1 Diabetes often feel misunderstood and that there is a lack of peer and personal support when it comes to living with the disease
  • Australia has a history of attempted and failed government strategies when it comes to Type 1 Diabetes. There is currently no government strategy in place to further educate, inform and prevent Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  • There is a lack of empathetic connection and understanding within the interconnected stakeholders in regards to Type 1 Diabetes
  • Due to a lack of understanding about Type 1 Diabetes there is a stigma and stereotype associated with Type 1 Diabetes that is mostly incorrect and misunderstood

 Using the framework of who, what, when, where and why I was able to refine these issues into a more specific issue statement from which I could begin to brainstorm potential emergent responses.


Refined Issue Statement: 

“People living with Type 1 Diabetes feel a lack of understanding, connection and acceptance in current Australian society”

By refining and defining my issue statement I was able to begin brainstorming potential emergent responses to this issue as explored in INSERT LINK. From this group brainstorming session I discovered that the most obvious response to my issue would be that of a service. I found however that the few visualisation practice and generative system ideas we brainstormed were a lot more exciting to me than that of a service design. I think creating a response that incorporates some aspect of visualisation practice and a generative system has the potential to result in a much more innovative and impactful outcome to this issue.


My issue tackles three important but different feelings currently experience by those living with Type 1 Diabetes; understanding, connection and acceptance. I propose the design of a exhibition that would be curated through a generative system and result in a data visualisation. Throughout this process there would be the opportunity to connect people living with Type 1 Diabetes, educate society on the disease and raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes.

I propose the development of a set of postcards, sent to people living with Type 1 Diabetes nationally. Each postcard would require a different response from these individuals, some possible responses are brainstormed below:

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These postcards would then be collected and curated into a public exhibition that not only acts as a visual representation of what it is like to live with this disease but also a data visualisation of living with Type 1 Diabetes. This exhibition would bring together sufferers, uniting them through the process as well as opening up a discussion about Type 1 Diabetes, educating and raising awareness about the disease. I would hope through this process and exhibition that it would attract media attention and bring this issue to the attention of government bodies, enabling a discussion to be started at a higher level and action to be taken and carried through by the Australian Government.


Post 8 — Brainstorming for possibilities

During the last few weeks of research, I have identified attitudes to be a primary actor for change within this issue. I plan to further investigate how these are formed and how they have the potential to sway other attitudes that exist on an intermediary level. I also want to look into how they have the ability prompt change and influence not only public decisions, but political decisions as well.


Problem Statement:

Over the last decade, Australia has seen an increasing number of refugees arriving by boat with different ethnic backgrounds. This is the tragic and drastic result of war, persecution and corruption in their home countries. With the numbers of refugees increasing, so do tensions between and amongst different stakeholder groups (such as the Australian public, the government, human rights organisations and refugees). Many people have formed strong attitudes about the issue and refuse to look at information that may present an alternative perspective. These irrational attitudes are dangerous and counterproductive as they have the power to influence the masses and stimulate more conflict, rather than contribute to finding viable solutions.

By clarifying my problem statement, I was able to gather all of my thoughts on the issue into a concise brief that I can address in the Task 3. I brought this problem to the attention of my peers and we began dissecting the details and probing for reasons in which they may influence the formation of other attitudes towards asylum seekers. I really valued the exchange of different perspectives and insights from my peers in this task.


During the mapping exercise, my group often attributed emotions as a primary factor that influences attitudes. I considered the context of these emotive words and it seemed as though my peers were implying that attitudes against open border policies are driven by negative emotions, such as fear, discrimination and selfishness, where as those in favour are described with positive emotive words such as tolerance, passionate and generosity. This showed similarities with my twitter data scraping findings — where similar attitudes were presented by other young adults and university-educated people.

Not only did I find mapping out my problem to be helpful, but I also gained some perspective about other problems surrounding the asylum seeker issue. We created a map that addressed how refugees experience trauma in detention. We explored traumatic experiences that refugees often endure and how this effects themselves, their family and the community. We also looked at who or what is responsible for inflicting this trauma and how it is/should be handled.


  1. Build long-term relationships between Australian public and refugees.
    Tensions exist between the Australian public and refugees of different ethnicities because of a lack of cultural understanding between both groups. If mutual acceptance and respect was found and maintained, perhaps there would be less conflicting perspectives.
  2. Encourage people with one-sided attitudes to see the issue from another perspective. Many people already have strong views on this topic and often refuse to acknowledge valid information that may compromise their beliefs. However, if people were exposed to a variety of resources and information, perhaps everyday discourse about asylum seekers would be more rational and valid, rather than fueled by emotion or bigotry.
  3. Understand patterns in changing shifts of attitudes towards asylum seekers.
    Monitor and collect data regarding the changing attitudes towards asylum seekers. This may be difficult to visualise numerically or geographically as it is based on qualitative data, rather quantitative. However, this potential avenue of research would assist in understanding the mediators that drive these changes, and how they can be utilised to endorse positive attitudes towards both the Australian public and refugees, rather than encourage tensions.
  4. Focus on how political orientations affect attitudes.
    My results from the data scraping task suggested that people’s attitudes towards social issues are often swayed by their political values and beliefs. This finding was supported when I was able to draw associations between Twitter bio’s that mentioned/implied a political orientation with the tweets that they posted.
  5. Compare lifestyles and situations to evoke a sense of empathy.
    I believe that the most effective way to encourage people to have a well-rounded understanding and attitude towards the issue is by being able to empathise with those that are involved.

Proposal 1.

My proposal responds to the 2nd possibility listed above which aims to encourage people with one-sided attitudes to see the issue from another perspective. The concept is to design a twitterbot that distinguishes the general attitude a person may have (based on language  of their messages and hashtags) and reply with a tweet from someone with an alternative perspective. As many people are blinded by stubborn attitudes, bigotry and emotion, a twitterbot would force people to look at other facts and perspectives, rather than just dig the head in the sand. From my data scraping research, I also found that many people were passively involved in the debate as they merely retweeted other peoples statements, rather than expressing their own thought. A twitterbot would encourage people to conduct their own research in order to respond and make a valid rebuttal.

This concept could result with people either learning new things and becoming more open minded about the issue or end with them hurling abusive tweets at one another in an attempt to triumph in petty twitter debates. Hopefully, if I am tactful in the design of the twitterbot, it would stimulate further research by the general public, rather than provoke those with opposite views. The last thing I want is to encourage more hostility in an already tense and controversial issue.

Proposal 2 (another concept I am considering).

In a democratic society, I believe that the government has a responsibility to represent the majority of opinions expressed by citizens of that nation. From my Twitter data scraping research, this is not the case in Australia as I found that majority of the tweets that responded to asylum seekers presented negative attitudes towards the government’s current policies and handling of the situation. My proposal focuses on the emergent area of information visualisation to depict the landslide number of tweets that are pro asylum seekers, as opposed to those who are anti asylum seekers. This information would be presented as an official Government document that contains a record of every tweet made by an Australian about asylum seekers.
The twitter data would be typeset and tabulated in a sophisticated manner and presented to Government bodies and policy makers. The contrasting sizes of the bound documents act as a tangible and visual representation of public attitudes (from Twitter) and instantly convey that the majority of Twitter users disagree with current refugee policies.



Latour, B., 2007. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies). 1st Edition. Oxford University Press.


Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

In our brainstorming session, my group and I’s ideas were all leaning towards concepts relating to bringing awareness to the issue. The propositions were all acting as different service designs, and many ideas were based on promoting paternity leave with a campaign driven by an organisation. It seemed like the natural response to the issue was to give attention and support to upcoming fathers, who perhaps wouldn’t even explore the possibilities of taking paternity leave for a substantial amount of time. I developed upon our ideas and identified a few possible responses:

Identified possibilities

  • Promotion Packages – Information sent out to employers and companies with information for up-coming fathers, benefits of fathers spending time with new their young children and benefits for the workplace (loyalty, equality etc.)
  • Community – Fathers with newborn children, connecting other fathers in similar situations, meetings, events etc. Mobile application.
  • Rewards system for employers – Financial support for proud parenting when companies develop an equal parental leave scheme. Work flexibility and insurance for fathers with small children.
  • Paternity recruitment – Fathers on paternity leave become ambassadors who mentors and acts as support for other fathers.
  • Daddy Showers – Awareness organisation which works with companies who supports paternity leave, hosts ‘Daddy Shower’ events at companies and public places promoting the benefits of paternity leave and also brings awareness to the lack of fathers pursuing a care taker role in children’s early years.


Draft Proposal – Daddy Shower

Considering these concept possibilities, and the fact that the overall intention of the program is to change mass behaviour in society the proposal that is most likely to succeed is the one that can generate the most awareness most quickly. For this reason the proposal that I will draft on will be the daddy showers idea.

The idea of Daddy Showering is to bring attention to upcoming or existing fathers, and the importance of their role as a care taker in their child’s early life. The ‘Daddy Shower’ will identify as a service design and will be working in collaboration together with progressive employers who would like to achieve gender equity in their work place. Sponsored by volunteering companies and employers, the service organises hosted events where information and awareness about the cause is apprised and communicated to the public. The events will be held in an open or public place, for example a park or open city square, and will provide a casual, friendly venue where discussion about the subject is positively encouraged. The immediate targeted audience will of course be men who are expecting a child in the near future, but the intended goal is to spread the image of men on paternity leave and normalise the term concept.


By Camilla Ahlström

POST 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response // Mental health


So, it has all been leading up to this. After the past six weeks of mind-mapping, researching, brainstorming and not knowing what the hell I am doing, we were finally told to begin creating possible design responses to our specific issue. In order to start this, as expected, we drew up more mind-maps and collaboratively brainstormed ideas within our issue groups. It’s been long and ambiguous journey to get to this point so I was excited to finally think about how I could visualise my specific issue.

The Five W’S

The first task we were given in class was write about our specific topic individually based on the five w’s in order to create a problem statement to clearly articulate the problem. Again, I felt like I was just writing the same things I’ve been writing this whole semester but into different categories. However, this writing process and the feedback I received from my group helped flesh out my topic. Below is how I broke down my topic; the stigma and discrimination from health professionals experience by people suffering with mental health issues:

  1. WHO does the problem affect?
    The main stakeholders and actors this problem affects are mentally ill patients and health professionals. However, it is not just limited to these people. It has the potential to affect people who are yet to experience mental health issues. 
  2. WHAT are the boundaries of the issue?
    The boundaries of this issue are structural due to the connection to the health care system. Through my research, I discovered their is a lack of empathy, understanding and training in some health care professionals when dealing with mentally ill patients. Misdiagnosis, generalisations of patients and a lack of respect from doctors are large factors that contribute to stigma. In this situation, the doctor calls the shots and the patient should be able to trust them, but in may instances they don’t.
  3. WHEN does it occur?
    The root of this problem is when people suffering form mental health issues are frightened or uncomfortable seeking help. The problem then occurs when they speak to a health professional who may perhaps discriminate their illness without realising they are doing it.
  4. WHERE does the problem occur?
    The problem occurs within the health care system and also set behaviours in society. In this instance, stigma happens face-to-face during doctors appointments and the affects of this experience can be carried out afterwards.
  5. WHY is this issue important?
    This issue is important as it continually affects people with mental health issues and also affects the publics trust in our health care system. There appears to be a lack of trust towards doctors and a lack of respect received from doctors. It’s a set mentality in society that people with mental health issues are just overreacting or hypercondriacs. Health care professionals especially shouldn’t be influenced by this mentality. People need to feel comfortable to seek help from a doctor and common language/ dialogue needs to be create to help break this stigma.


Problem Statement

So, from this rant about my specific topic and after a discussion about it with my group, I came up with the following problem statement:

The disconnect experienced by patients affected by mental health issues in communication and interactions with health professionals.

In simpler terms, making the experience of healthcare more human.


Once we all had our problem statements, it was time to brainstorm. My group and I discussed simplifying communication between patient and doctor in order to create a more comfortable and common dialogue. This would ultimately help break the stigma of people not wanting to seek help and the stigma experienced by patients from health professionals. Another area that we identified within my problem statement was the influential forces of our environments. In this case, going to the doctor should be a comfortable space for patients, yet at the moment it seems to be the opposite for many people. One of my group members also directed me to a current medical design response called Babybe which helps regulate the heartbeat of babies. This created another direction of providing care and guidance outside of healthcare for people suffering with mental health issues. This brainstorming session was quite rushed but I gained some good direction from my group members for possible design responses.

My brainstorm mind-map based on my problem statement.

The following are five potential design responses that I am considering for my proposal:

  1. Improve communication between patients and doctors by creating a common language therefore building more trust in this relationship. 
  2. Assist patients in feeling comfortable in a health care setting through a meditative, environmental app aimed to relax and prepare the mind for stressful situations. 
  3. Evaluate the emotions felt in a doctor waiting room by getting patients to draw how they feel in order to accumulate a range of data to visualise. 
  4. Improve the training of health care professionals with an interactive design which highlights examples of stigma against people suffering from mental health issues. 
  5. Using an interactive map, demonstrate the relationship between patient and doctor and how important it is to have a respectful and trusting connection between the two stakeholders.


Draft Proposal

After brainstorming these five points, I have realised that the main problem within this topic is lack of communication. From this, I have written a draft proposal below to improve and develop my direction:

Through my design response, I want people to be able to feel comfortable to talk about their feelings, especially when interacting with a health care professional. We also need to stop the stigma that doctors inflict upon patients. So, there are problems from both sides of the issue which makes it even more complex. Ultimately, there needs to be more awareness that this is happening. I am especially passionate about this particular problem as it happened to both my dad and brother; they were too scared to talk about their mental health. It would be amazing if I could go back in time with a possible design response to help them through that tough time, knowing what I know now and understanding why they were scared.

Therefore, I propose to design a generative system within the space of a doctors waiting room for patients to interact with. The aim of the design is make the patient feel comfortable in that environment and to visualise their emotions by drawing and/or writing how they feel at the time. This enables the patients to connect with their thoughts and better understand them in order to communicate them to a doctor. This interactive design can be seen as a form meditation to prepare patients for their appointment. This data can then be collected to create a data base for future mental health patients and also health professionals to view and analyse. This way, the doctor can see how the patient is feeling before and during an appointment. This design repossess should open up a new and trusting dialogue between patient and doctor and should improve the stigma experiences by patients.

BlogFour – Designing for Mental Well-being

The conceptual emergence of mental well-being to strategically encompass permanence, passion and personalisation is difficult within an education context. However the conceptual desire for happiness and motivation from an individuals standpoint and their surrounding environment is one that can be an aspiring design to formulate.  The immediate nature of ambitious flare are properties that will kindle the attention mental well-being needs. Provoking emotion motivates the neural system to take behavior and action to achieve goals presented through the branding of the emergent practices.

Research illustrates a chaotic interior and cluttered design can have an effect on your mental health, making you more inclined to feel anxious, stressed and restless. Where as, minimalistic design enhances a sense of clarity, creating an uncluttered interface for all to interpret in any chosen way. To enhance mental health as foundation for individual well-being and the effective functioning of a community within self directed motivation, it is paramount for designs to enhance personal freedom. It is absolutely imperative that a detachment from the modern language, stigma and personification of mental health is removed and the engineering of mental well-being is designed for future references.

Smack Bang design studio although does not directly collaborate with emergent design practices, their strategic branding aesthetic is perfectly coherent to the way in which Mental Health design identities should be approached. The studio achieves solutions driven by ideas and stories, a philosophy similarly shared to producing mental well-being, narrative psychology. The studio explores their clients and their branding issues through ongoing relationships and face-to-face contact, creating a depth in their final designs that show the simplistic and organic essence.

An ideology that is extremely visible within Smack Bang Design’s portfolio are the embodied principles similar to the thesis of Design Principles of Future directions in design for mental health. Since 2014 there has been a significant focus with the development of infrastructure within mental health facilities, to enable individuals to experience a sense of freedom, control and unique comfort throughout their rehabilitation process. The focus on the attributes include:

  • Light
  • Elimination of environmental stressors
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Observation
  • Avoidance of visual disturbances
  • Colour
  • Group interaction
  • Access to nature
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Designing for well-being with individual interject (Insight & Ideas Studio, 2014)
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(Insight & Ideas Studio, 2014)

Smack Bang Design Studio implements these design attributes through their processes of design as well as their final design outcomes. The studio implements group interaction, safety and security and observation when engaging with the design process as collaborators between themselves as a team and with their clients. Their innovative designs thrive through the unique personal relationships that are created, exactly how an individuals wellbeing and health thrives through the relationships and perceptive nature between themselves, others and their environment they are surrounded within. The application of light through white space, colour and organic individualistic motives, adaptively constitutes an emotive, trustworthy and demographic accessibility to promote mental health wellbeing into the norm of society. A visual platform that can transform mental well-being into the challenge of goal setting through the aesthetic movement

The London based design studio, The Allotment, creates strategic branding that are compellingly different, shaping culture and creating emotive stories. Combining design and problem solving, the studio constructs opportunity of growth, trust and energised change. Although they have not encompassed branding for mental health identities to date, their design work for the ZSL Wildlife Champions is extremely effective. The Allotment’s challenge for the conservationist organisation was to
‘develop a fundraising scheme, called Wildlife Champions, that would engage with ZSL’s diverse membership and raise money so that this vital work can continue’ (The Allotment, para. 2 )
The elements that make the brand so effective are their direct design implementations of provoking emotive feelings of individuals responsibilities towards endangered animals and the proactive push towards conservation work.

“The idea of ‘It’s in your hands’ was used to symbolise the direct impact of giving to ZSL.” (The Allotment, para. 1)

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The Allotment Design for ZSL awareness and fundraising solution (The Allotment:ZSL, 2015)

The design studio increased the awareness and donations for this conservation organisation through their development of visual language for two initial schemes, ‘Animals under threat’ and ‘Conservation Technology’. Research indicated these were two key areas of focus for the charity.

Through the innovative die cut hand holding the information, it shaped the scheme to be action driven and encouraged potential donors to give to specific causes while still connecting with people on an emotional level. The design and branding has expanded across events, digital, social and print adverts within and outside the zoos.

Mental Health branding and design should emulate the tangibility as well as emotive nature that The Allotment produce. For an issue such as animal conservation that is somewhat removed from the everyday lives of the individuals living in London, an active and expansive responsive result has been achieved.It is also imperative that the design and branding should not identify as a piece of intimidating scholarly constructs successfully executed within the ZSL Wildlife Champions branding design.

Designers need to urgently work on the portrayal of Mental Health, as a positive brand that is steered significantly away from the negative stigma, and into a design that integrates seamlessly into individuals lives and environment. Mental Health needs a transformation from the incomprehensible ambiguous ideology, to a simplistic and tangible concept that provokes excitement, wellbeing and emotive desire!

The Allotment, 2015, ZSL Wildlife Champions, London, viewed 23 August 2016, <http://theallotment.co/case-study/zsl-fundraising/&gt;

Smack Bang Designs, 2014, Portfolio: Insights &Ideas Studio by Vivienne Walsh, Sydney, viewed 21 August 2016 <https://smackbangdesigns.com/contact/&gt;

Sheahan. M, 2014, Future Directions in Design for Mental Health Facilities, Hassel Studio, Melbourne, Australia, viewed 25 August 2016 <http://www.hassellstudio.com/docs/final_futuredirections_designformentalhealth_2014.pdf&gt;

Post 4: The power that words carry

By Basilia Dulawan

When I started researching a design studio that works in an emergent practice context as well as one that responds or advocates for Gender Equality, I wasn’t so sure I would find one. However, the Always #LikeAGirl campaign that I have written about previously here, I realised fits in the emergent practice context as it is design activism. The film produced challenges the current perception of what it means when someone says the phrase “like a girl”.

The #LikeAGirl campaign was born out of Always trying to connect with the next generation of girls who would use their products – something their competitors had already done via social media (D&AD, 2015). The campaign was a collaborative effort from Leo Burnett Chicago and Toronto, Holler – a creative agency in London, and most significantly, documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield who has studied ‘Girl Culture’ since 2002. Together they identified that “More than half of girls lose confidence during puberty – and a contributing factor to that drop are societal put-downs based solely on gender.” (Kauffman, K. 2015) In response to this, they created a social experiment aimed at challenging and changing both men and women’s perspective of the usually derogatory phrase “like a girl” (D&AD, 2015) which John notes, has “been around forever”. With this social experiment they recruited real women, men, boys and pre-pubescent girls and asked them to act out what they thought it meant to run like a girl, throw like a girl and fight like a girl. While filming these live responses Greenfield was able to capture authentic reactions and insights into what these people perceive to be “like a girl”. It is interesting that the semi-structured interview approach of their research which was filmed is actually what became the finished product for the campaign. There is no doubt that they did an incredible job analysing the responses they got from each interviewee to notice the shift in perspectives from the pre-pubescent girls who were seemingly unaffected by the phrase, to the men and women interviewed who held that negative association with it. Moreover, it was how they then edited and pieced together each question and response that allows the audience to experience the same insights they found while conducting this research.

I think the reason this campaign went viral in 2015, was because they weren’t trying to design anything new, but they basically found a creative way to put up a mirror to the audience and to allow them to see what we’re really doing when we say phrases such as “Oh, you run like a girl!” and the power that words carry. But instead of just leaving it at that, Greenfield has the great skill of then challenging her subjects and in-affect challenging the audience’s own perspective when she asks the questions: “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?”, “So do you think you just insulted your sister?” and “Is ‘like a girl’ a good thing?” All in all, this design response is a true success in redefining the phrase ‘Like a girl’ from an insult, into an expression of strength and confidence in themselves.




D&AD 2016, Case Study: Always #LikeAGirl, London, viewed 15 August 2016, <http://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-leo-burnett-holler-always-likeagirl-campaign-case-study/>.

Kauffman, K. 2015, Leo’s Cannes Contenders: Always “#LikeAGirl”, Leo Burnett, viewed 15 August 2016, <http://leoburnett.com/articles/work/what-it-means-to-be-likeagirl/>.


Marketing New Thinking Awards 2016, The Results: Brand Evolution, Sky Media, viewed 20 August 2016, <http://www.marketingnewthinkingawards.com/results/>.




POST 4: Identifying and collecting a design example

by Jessica Avelina Horo

The crisis is real.

More than 900,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year (Al Jazeera, 2015)

There are 60 million displaced persons in the world, another stateless child is born every 10 minutes, and three million people have no access to water, food, housing, work, education, and are caught in legal limbo.  The crisis has inspired many designers to design solutions for refugees and the issue itself. I am a design student myself, and I am  really impressed by how designers around the world are gathering their ideas and skills to help both refugees and people. The refugee crisis has become an increasingly important topic for architects and designers as the situation has worsened over the past few years.

When I was trying to find any designers or design studio who work in an emergent practice context related to the issue of refugees, I found that there are so many innovative and creative designs that could improve refugee’s life condition, for example through service, data visualisation design and informative app.  Browsing through all the designs, there is a project that really leaves a mark in my heart. A project by a woman who fled war-torn Syria  that has released an unofficial flag design for the very first team of ten refugees competing in the Rio Olympics, called The Refugee Nation. The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016, was a major international multi-sport event held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 August to 21 August 2016. I didn’t really know how important a flag was until I watched the video when the athletes saw the flags for the first time. The refugees athlete couldn’t hold their feelings as they are touched by the flag. Athletes in Olympic are proud competing against athletes from other countries by bringing their countries’ names, they bring big responsibilities. However, refugees don’t have the opportunities to have a place to call home. “By giving these athletes a sense of national team, a flag and an anthem to call their own, we’re sending a powerful message to all the refugees in the world,” said a spokesperson from Amnesty International. “We’re saying that every human being has the right to have a place to call home.”


The Refugee Nation’s flag designed by Yara Said (dezeen magazine, 2016)
(dezeen magazine, 2016)

The flags itself really reminds me the spirit of refugees as it used black and orange to represent the colour of life jackets worn by refugees when making dangerous sea crossings. “Black and orange is a symbol of solidarity for all those who crossed the sea in search of a new country,” said Yara Said. “I myself wore one, which is why I so identify with these colours and these people”. The flag design is accompanied by a proposed anthem for the team, composed by Istanbul-based Syrian refugee and composer Moutaz Arian. Both were released with the intention of raising awareness about the rights of refugees. The collective has since launched a petition asking the International Olympic Committee to allow refugee Olympians to carry the flag while attending Olympic events. Although the refugee team will continue to compete under the Olympic flag during Rio, Refugee Nation hopes the flag will become part of the team’s identity for future games. I am impressed by how a single fabric for the flag could help the crisis. A single idea from Yara Said may not solve the whole issue, but it is indeed improve the quality of refugees’ life. It doesn’t use any complex technologies or researches, but the flag has given the refugees an identity, which they don’t have.


Image Reference

Al Jazeera, 2015, More than 900,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, viewed 20 August 2016, <http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/refugee-boats-greece-persist-winters-chill-151202175107235.html&gt;.

dezeen magazine, 2016, The Refugee Nation’s flag designed by Yara Said, viewed 21 August 2016, <http://www.dezeen.com/2016/08/11/refugees-alternative-flag-rio-2016-olympic-team/&gt;.


Syrian refugee artist designs lifejacket-inspired flag for refugee Olympians – Olympics 2016, 9 News, viewed 20 August 2016, <http://wwos.nine.com.au/2016/08/18/03/31/syrian-refugee-artist-designs-lifejacket-inspired-flag-for-refugee-olympians&gt;.