Monday, November 2, 2009

VA:Project Ideas.

This is a VERY narrowed down summary of the paper I wrote for today. I overachieved (again!) and wrote a three page paper, single spaced, that is very descriptive and explains what I want to do. If anyone wants to see the paper, let me know.

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When faced with a question of what should be my topic for the degree project, I am forced to think not only about the topic, but the medium I am going to use. Print design, publishing and possibly packaging are areas that I am extremely interested in right now. I am attracted to the way something seemingly virtual like an InDesign file can be come a physical object that people read, fold, explore and interact with. I think print has a lot of potential to become a friendly, recyclable media that is not just something you throw out right away. I don't believe in the sci-fi future where everything is digital and cold.
My current Visual Advocacy project about bullying still has potential for development and becoming my degree project. Bullying leads not only to personal problems and illnesses, but societal issues as well. School shootings for example, are a lot of the times committed by people who experienced verbal and physical abuse for years. What can we do to prevent deadly events when innocent people get killed?
During the course of the project I started to notice that the most successful projects that lead to social change are those that were executed by people with a personal connection to the issue. This is why I look at immigration as a possible topic for the project. Every time I fly back to the US from Moscow, I meet people who just got their permanent residency status and are about to start a new life in a new country. Some know the language, some don't, but there is not a single brochure anywhere that will somehow prepare them. There is almost nothing to guide people who just recently moved to a new country. The only way people can learn about things is through trial and error. The way I am thinking about it now, my system would include a kit of pre-packaged materials with simple and clear information given out at customs or by airport officials. It would have various target audiences, such as teens, families and seniors. I feel that I have sufficient knowledge and experience to help people move through one of the most difficult parts of their lives with less pain and frustration.
Another topic that I am interested in is societal influences on children. Our personality forms in the first 4-5 years of our life. Children are bombarded by all sorts of information that we have never been exposed to before. Following the lead of celebrities, many parents start dressing their kids like grownups. If Tom Cruise's baby girl wears heels, why shouldn't my kid? All this leads to distorted realities and unhealthy perspectives in those forming people.
In this project you can't target the kids: they don't make the decisions. How can you make the parents make the right decision and make them aware of the situation? Can it be a series of environmental graphics? Anti-consumerism ads?

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