Reflection and Proposition: The Mind Spectrum

Post 10

Over the past week, I have been brainstorming and honing in on my proposition in the practice area of Generative System / Participatory design. As stated in post 9, I wanted to visualise the ‘invisible’ nature of mental health issues and create a change in perspective or attitude in the people that are involved. My first discussion drew out a few problems, the main being:

  • How will this event attract people in the first place to participate? Their incentive?
  • What are you exactly achieving? Unclear – needs clarification and distilled down
  • What are the design restrictions and generative system rules applied?

After some visual and theoretical research on generative systems and design from last week, I have come up with an improved design proposition.

Project title: The Mind Spectrum

The Issue: The stigma attached to mental health issues discourages ‘open conversation’ and the action of seeking support. This project aims to provide new insight, a changed perception and attitude towards the negative stigma.

Practice type: Generative System / Participatory Design

The possible change: A changed perspective and attitude towards Mental Health giving heightening a sense of importance to the issue as well as making it a more approachable topic (for 18-24yo).

The design action to support change: Creating a space that is a fresh and fun approach allowing creative expression on the topic of Mental Health. The space also allows a chance to meet and connect with new people who have similar interests encouraging a sense of community and support.


The participants are invited to draw/ illustrate however they like on a tablet screen on a given word that they choose. The words consist of 3 words for 3 sets. Each set being on a topic of stress, depression, and anxiety – the most common mental health issue for people between the age of 18-24. The 3 words is a spectrum of stress, anxiety and depression to its antonym with an inbetween word. For example:




This is then saved on the server and played as simple animation screenings on the wall for other people to watch. In addition, the participant will receive their drawing as a designed postcard immediately printed. Not only will they receive their illustration postcard, but also the other 2 words in the word set that other people have drawn. This is the incentive of the activity, allows the person to see the changes of the emotional spectrum. This aspect of the generative system gives a chance to see how similar or different others perceive each word which in result gives a new angle of understanding and possible a shift in perspective about mental health.

Users also have a choice to input their social media account information (instagram, twitter account etc) which will be printed on their postcard illustration highlighting the proposition’s ‘connection’ aspect by allowing Sydney’s young adults and creatives to build a network. As this event is aimed for people interested in art/design/culture/mental health, there is a high chance there may be local artists, designers or students involved who then can keep in touch after this event on the social media platform.


Simple drawing constraints will be given for each set to maintain and highlight how each word changes to its opposite within a boundary.

For example:
– Using only lines, express what STRESS/UNEASY/RELAXED is represents to you.

– Using only circles and dots, express what DEPRESSION/COMPLACENT/CHEERFUL represents to you.

– Using only zig zags, express what ANXIETY/INDIFFERENCE/CALMNESS represents to you.


Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 8.06.41 pm.png


The feedback received from peers and tutor was extremely helpful in refining my proposition. A few points I have taken into deeper consideration and will be changing is placing this activity within a proper context of a mental health workshop aimed at 18-24 year olds who are interested in art/design/mental health. ‘The Mind Spectrum’ will be a subpart, a small event within the workshop for the target audience.

In terms of giving a word to illustrate to the user, I was initially thinking of allowing the person to choose 1 word out of the 9. However this will result in uneven data results of the drawings which unbalances the live projection happening in the space. Therefore, the interactive tablet will already have a word chosen for the person to ensure even distribution and a better visualised animation of the word spectrum.

Written by Helen Chang

Image References

Daikoku Studio, 2012, Musashino Art University <;, viewed 20 September.

Studio Moniker, 2013, Your Line or Mine, <;, viewed 20 September.


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, <;.

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 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, <;.
Orsini,B. “The Unexpected face of Homelessness” TED x Macquarie University, Published on Dec 3 2013. Viewed in September 2016. <;

You can’t handle the truth, but how about a pop up?


Post eight

By Marie Good

Collaborative group work has played an essential role in the discovery and exploration of my understanding into the issue that is obesity and healthy living. It has allowed for an accepting space where a knowledge bank was allowed to be created based on different experiences, insights and conducted research points that group members had acquired. During a recent brainstorming session, this and also the ability to communicate ideas verbally helped me to discover possibilities and to create a proposal.


The possibilities discovered included:

  • Food allergies, particularly in response to food additives and man made chemicals, are not being highlighted as an important consideration in the design spaces and marketing environments products exist in.
  • Edutainment has an important role to play in the future of humanity and how we relate to and perceive the world and who we are in it.
  • People are generally uninterested in taking the time to discover how food properties and their chemical make up can influence bodies in particular ways.
  • There is a general lack of understanding on where to seek qualified, experienced and reliable advice for the issues of healthy living and obesity.
  • Our information receptors are at over capacity when it comes to ‘fad diets’ and fad ways of conducting healthy living, that we become overwhelmed and undereducated about real issues.

Through my possibilities I was able to create a problem statement for further design responses to be investigated as a solution to influence change.

Problem Statement

Design a way of assisting people in understanding and building awareness about the nutritional breakdowns of consumables.


I have realised the main issue within obesity and healthy living appears to be a lack of education and a lack of attitude to learn, because of an oversaturation of inaccurate information and a tried and tired nutritional panel that is unexciting and inefficient to read.

I aim to create a service design, which will essentially act off the back of the success of pop up restaurants and food trucks. I propose to create a travelling restaurant space that serves food and drink products in response to where the patron is sitting in that restaurant space. The restaurant space will be separated through aesthetic style based on degrees of nutrition and the balance of a meal, ranging from very bad to very good. In order to gather an interest from the general public in such an event, I propose working with and gaining the participation of well known health, fitness and nutrition actors and developing a three phase campaign; 1 – tease. 2 – excite. 3 – sustain. The results themselves, will educate participants to develop an awareness and conscious attitude towards the nutritional value of their food.

Collaborative Issue Mapping

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A collaborative exercise of mapping out the mental health issue was undertaken with four other students focusing on this topic. Maps addressing stakeholders, influences, and the intangible such as ideas, concepts and emotions were also explored. In addition to this, we attempted to hone in on the controversy of stigma around mental health and branch out all the relevant points.

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Reflecting on this collaborative issue mapping exercise, it definitely surpassed my expectations as the ideas discussed and results written down pushed the boundaries of what I would have written if I had done this alone. Even different opinions and discussions through this helped us map out further points. For example, one person didn’t think religion would have an effect on mental health and people going through this, whereas one person in the group explained a first hand experience on mental health and how religion played a part in allowing to ‘open up’ about it. This changed and gave new insights to our group which is a valuable result only possible with conversation and collaboration.

Another exercise which expanded my boundaries in thinking about my design intervention was the mapping of words resonating with the mental health issue.

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Here, my group wrote down all the words that included nouns, adjectives, emotions and ideas which was great to get everything in our minds onto something physical. It was also interesting to see which words reoccured most frequently, and which words others thought of that I hadn’t.

The whole team then went around the tables marking a word which they thought was most important or resonated with them the most and as seen in the images, they included the words:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Preconception
  • Shame

From this exercise, I noticed that the majority were all words with negative connotations such as ‘suicide, panic, stress, problem, incompetent’ where positive words were sparse. This highlighted the serious stigma behind this issue and made me think, “How can we change this so people can connect a more positive and approachable image to the issue?”

In regards to thinking about a possibility for action to create change, a simple yet intriguing point was made during discussion. This point was that people may be less aware, or choose to be less caring of mental health compared to physical health is because it is an ‘invisible illness’ and the idea that humans are more prone to believe what they can see. This idea for me sparked an interest to me as a visual communication designer delving into this mental health issue because as a designer we create from a concept, visually translate a message/meaning that people can SEE and UNDERSTAND – something the mental health issue lacks currently in our worlds. Perhaps this is the opening of an avenue to take my research further.

Written by Helen Chang

Talking about Mental Health on Twitter

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To research and gain insight into how mental health is portrayed, discussed and talked about on the social media platform, a web scraping exercise was undertaken on the Twitter website. It reaped interesting results and observations as Twitter is used by people with different objectives. These include individuals who choose to post on twitter their personal stories or comments about ongoing social issues, some celebrities or ‘officials’ choose it to portray only the positive sides of themselves or some as a way of simply using it as an easy network to connect with people and follow (or sometimes cyber stalk) other people.

To start with a general idea first, my twitter rule using the google sheets web scraper was the words ‘mental health’ written in English, anywhere in the world. The results were immense – up to 10,000 before I had to stop incase the page crashed. Despite the overflow, I did find some interesting posts and how mental health is talked about.

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Some were supportive organisations or individuals posting links, photos and other sources to help raise awareness of mental health which then people chose to retweet or comment on. These friendly and approachable tweets were easily found but the tweets I found most interesting were personal, raw and upfront tweets from individuals expressing themselves and their experience or opinion about mental health. To find these more personal stories, I added a rule to find tweets including the hashtag #mentalhealth.

*These posts which were possible to see as their account was on ‘public’ allowing anyone to be able to see what they post.

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Going through these findings, it was noticeable that there were much more ‘organisations’ or ‘support pages’ posting links and photos than individuals who comment on their opinion or share their experience with the mental health issue which still highlights the big possibility of the stigma and taboo nature of mental health.

Written by Helen Chang

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, <;

Smack Bang Designs, 2014, Portfolio: Insights &Ideas Studio by Vivienne Walsh, Sydney, viewed 21 August 2016 <;

Sheahan. M, 2014, Future Directions in Design for Mental Health Facilities, Hassel Studio, Melbourne, Australia, viewed 25 August 2016 <;

Mapping participants and creating an image archive

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This photo is of a mapping exercise done as a group identifying the human and non-human stakeholders and participants. They included human participants such as the people with mental health issues, professionals such as doctors, nurses and counsellors in the field. Non human stakeholders included policies, legislations surrounding the issue as well as ideas such as stigma, and what the media portrays and the role of technology.

Image Archive for Mental Health10imagess

(Left to right)

Image 1

This photograph was taken by a professional Danish photographer, Marie Hald, at an eating disorder treatment centre in Poland. This photo particularly struck me as it encapsulates the individual’s struggle to fight through this mental health issue with the subtle use of lighting and focus.

Image 2 

This piece of work titled ‘Random Access Memories’ was illustrated by South Korean illustrator Moonassi. Two figures trying to open up and understand what is going inside one’s head was I thought illustrated the experience people go through who try to understand mental health issues.

Image 3

This photograph from the article ‘Anxiety Attacks come in different forms’ (The Australian) spotlights a lady looking worried and anxious in a dark, vignetted background. I think this is a simple yet effective photographic depiction of how the mental health issue is always in the unknown, unimportant dark area of our conversations and that it’s time to shed some light and really help those in difficult situations.

Image 4

This photograph was the lead image for the article ‘The Autism explosion in Australian schools’ (The Weekend Australian Magazine) and resonated with me as it evokes a very emotional response from the viewer by capturing a child in a playground obviously upset and alone. This further highlights the effects children with mental health issues experience when action is not taken to solve and prevent situations like exclusion and bullying in Australian public schools.

Image 5 and 6

These two illustrations were created by graphic designer Nick Barclay in attempt to visually interpret the emotions one goes through with mental health issues and to make it a topic approachable and easier to understand. The first emotion illustrates ‘confusion’ and the second ‘dread’. I thought this was highly relevant and interesting in regards to my take on the mental health issue within the design in Visual Communication and Emergent Practice area.

Image 7

This image is quite literal which I think is great as it can confront the audience with the topic of mental health. Mental health issues is not as often discussed in comparison to health issues and this rawness in image is sometimes needed to effectively communicate the message.

Image 8

This illustration was drawn by Celeste Mountjoy, a Melbourne based young illustrator known for her honest depictions of her emotional experiences. The almost sarcastic and humorous illustrations have become extremely popular as young adults have commented that they can relate – which says a lot about how simply creating an open attitude in talking about such issues is helpful and can aid in reducing the stigma.

Image 9 and 10

Inspired by how graphic designer Nick Barclay visually interpreted emotions, these last two illustrations were drawn by me to portray feelings of being ‘spaced out’ and having self doubt. Image 9 shows pieces of body and space disintegrated as we all sometimes have days when our thoughts are not properly gathered, and image 10 illustrates one’s emotions of anxiety and self-doubt, especially with young girls and physical image.

Written by Helen Chang


Image References:

Van Eijk. M 2016, ‘These Heartbreaking Photos Show What Life Is Like With An Eating Disorder’, Buzzfeed, 18 July, viewed 27 July.<> 

Moonassi. 2015, ‘Random Access Memories, Moonassi, viewed 10 August. <>

Ostrow. R 2016, ‘Anxiety attacks come in different forms’, The Australian, 04 March, viewed 27 July. <>

Legge. K 2016, ‘The autism explosion in Australian schools’, The Weekend Australian Magazine,  16 January, viewed 27 July. <>

Barclay. N. 2016, “Visualising Emotions”, Paste Magazine, viewed 11 August 2016. <;

McGorry. P 2016, ‘McGorry says mental health care becoming a field of broken dreams’, The Australian (Opinion), 10 June, viewed 27 July. <>

Mountjoy. C. 2016, ‘You make me very, very sad’, Instagram (@filthyratbag)

Post 4: Redesign for LGBTIQ’s Rainbow

Kathy Ngo

Lundgren + Lindqvist: HBTQ

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As it was the time last year in Ireland, the country voted in favour of legalising gay marriage, Lundgren + Lindqvist’s redesign work of the symbols and flag of LGBT was featured on Rethink: ICON magazine and its website on.

The Rainbow flag has such a rich value and history. However, there is a need for an alternative icon that could work on one colour or black and white for technical demands because the rainbow flag is unrecognisable when printed.

“Not only is the community an extremely diverse group, including a host of sub-groups, but it is also a community that has been using a multitude of symbols over the years,” the studio explains.

The studios spent a great deal of time to do some research, including reading up on the history of the LGBT community and interviewing some LGBT friends.The studios explain that

The studios explain that their starting point was the chromatology and light of the rainbow. The overlapping areas of six circles in the traditional spectrum wheel create a flower-like shape. The six rhombus-like leafs corresponding to the 6 colours in the rainbow flag became the foundation of their design concept.

The idea evolved from the rainbow flag and colour spectrum wheel – Rethink: ICON magazine 2015

It is very interesting for me to get to know their design thinking. Through their research, the flower has such a strong universal symbol.

“It is impossible to find a culture on earth that does not embrace and celebrate the flower. They break through the concrete pavements of our cities and are presented in celebration of good deeds and love. Throughout the ages, the flower has also been adopted in different forms by gay men and women.” (Lundgren + Lindqvist, 2016)

The best strength of this symbol is that it can almost apply to anything, from logotype to signs in the streets or pins on your shirt to show the support to HBTQ community. As the ideas kept coming, the studios presented their various ideas through a 32-page newsprint publication and a website. Readers can download images, dingbats and icons from this website. I’m really inspired by their well thought-out and contextualised. Designing an emergent practice context such as LGBT or gender equality is very complex and has a lot of responsibilities to its applications to the society.


Alderson R. 2015, HBTQ, It's Nice That, viewed 22 August 2016, <>

Lundgren & Lindqvist 2015, LGBT Visual Language, Rethink: Icon Magazine, viewed 22 August 2016, <>

Post 4: Sydney Housing Affordability Index – a data driven design

The ‘Sydney Housing Affordability Index’ is a data driven design project by Laurence Troy and Ryan van den Nouwelant, from the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The index is a data visualisation that takes the form of an interactive map. Two main technologies have been identified as the building blocks of this project – Leaflet and CARTO. Leaflet (2015) is an open-source JavaScript library that helps developers code interactive maps for use on desktop and mobile platforms. CARTO is a web-based analysis tool that specialises in drawing insights from location data or as they call it “location intelligence” (CARTO n.d.).

The index compares the housing affordability of individual Sydney suburbs in 2005 and 2015. The duo set out to uncover, “What proportion of dwellings is affordable?” (Troy & van den Nouwelant 2015). To determine this, the duo compared property sales data from 2005 and 2015 against their defined affordability threshold for each year. By conducting a comparison, changes in housing affordability can be identified.

For the purposes of this project, the affordability threshold for each year is set in relation to the median household income of home buyers. For 2005, the median income was set at $71,700, which is an equivalent to the median income of $100,000 set for 2015, given the inflation of NSW wages over the decade. The affordable thresholds for each comparative year, display a similar increase, with a threshold of $367,950 for 2005 and $513,180 for 2015.

The data is integrated into an interactive map. For the 2005 and 2015 maps, a colour-coded key is set up to identify the proportion of property sales within each suburb, that sit within the affordability thresholds for that year. Essentially, the red suburbs show a very low proportion of affordable sales (less than 39%). Yellow identifies suburbs where roughly half the sales were affordable (40-59%). Green signifies suburbs with high proportions of affordable sales (over 60%).

‘2005’ map from Sydney Housing Affordability Index (Troy & van den Nouwelant 2015)
‘2015’ map from Sydney Housing Affordability Index (Troy & van den Nouwelant 2015)

I have included screenshots of the ‘2005’ and ‘2015’ maps to highlight a few key insights that the project yielded. I definitely encourage you to look at the working design here! The colour-coding makes it easy to see the dramatic decrease in the proportionate affordability of sales in suburbs close to Sydney’s central business district (CBD). It is evident in 2015 that the dark red range (indicative of suburbs with very low proportions of affordable sales) has expanded greatly since 2005.

Previous pockets of affordability such as Ultimo and regions such as Western Sydney have succumbed to the housing crisis and show low rates of affordability in 2015.

Additionally, comparing the maps shows that people are moving further away from the CBD in 2015, into Sydney’s fringes and rural areas such as Oberon and Wyong, where housing is more affordable.

‘Change’ Map from Sydney Housing Affordability Index

Low rates of affordability that are expanding into Sydney’s west, are further supported by the ‘Change’ map which uses the colour-coding system to describe the changes in affordability between 2005 and 2015. Whilst consistently expensive regions such as the North Shore register as having little change in their affordability, most suburbs in Sydney’s West are marked as less affordable or much less affordable.

Agafonkin, V. 2015, Leaflet, viewed 22 August, 2016, <>.
CARTO n.d., Engine, viewed 22 August 2016, <>.
Troy, L. & van den Nouwelant, R. 2015, Sydney Housing Affordability Index, UNSW Built Environment – City Futures Research Centre, Sydney, viewed 22 August 2016, <>.

BfB Labs by Shift Design: A design response to the Mental Health issue

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Using breathing as a technique in a game to improve wellbeing and build emotional resilience. (Collett. K. 2015) Shift Design

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Researching and working with a design led approach into the mental health issue, it is relevant and essential to see how designers are approaching and responding to issues such as Mental Health in an emerging practice context.

Shift Design (formerly known as We Are What We Do) is a design collective based in London who build social businesses to solve social problems. They apply their research, design and problem solving skills with innovative design thinking and technology to create services and consumer products to create positive behavioural change and social influence. Areas they worked in the emergent practice context include mental illness, poor diets, social isolation and energy inefficiency.

One of their many successful projects in solving a mental illness problem for the young audience (aimed at 10-14 year olds) is called BfB Labs. Receiving data from wearable sensors, BfB is a biofeedback game that motivates players to stay calm under pressure as their progress in the game is linked to their heart rate. Through regular play, this allows players to practise self control over their breathing and build emotional resilience resulting in improving their wellbeing and helping to prevent mental health problems.

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The user testing experience on teenagers gave positive results and feedback. (Collett. K. 2015, ‘BfB Labs’, Shift Design)

This simple yet extremely effective design solution utilises the modern tools of smartphone technology and entertainment platform which targets the intended audience successfully. It is clear through their website that how they got to this idea was through a detailed process of extensive research into relevant technology, user experience and current mental health problems which is insightful as a design student researching into the same issue.

Written by Helen Chang


Collett. K. 2015, ‘BfB Labs’, Shift Design, viewed 17 August 2016, <;

Image Reference

Collett. K. 2015, ‘Harnessing the Power of Games to improve Wellbeing’, Shift Design, viewed 17 August, <;