All posts by Kumi Sakai Hori (Sakai)

WEEK 06: Improvements of visual communication

{ Theme }

The theme of this week is the improvement of visual communication, which I have realised through creating the last prototype. I carefully reconsidered the size, materials, and usage of colours to make the publication more understandable without explanation.

Latest line of enquiry:

How people beg for identity, stimulation, belonging, and status through overconsumption is an act whose actuality is uncertain.

Studio Work:

How I improved:

(Layout, Colour, Structure)

  • Added the explanation of the structure of this book.
  • Moved the receipt on the first page.
  • Changed text colour to all black.

(Material)

  • The cover page reflects the reader through a mirror effect and asks where your identity is.
  • The gradient shows you can be anyone you would like to.

Feedback:

I have iterated to capture the structure of the mass-production capitalist society while exploring my questioning using publications as a medium this semester.

One of the project’s most successful points is that I could reveal the fact that humans and products are consuming each other through the fictional narrative, but it happens everywhere in our daily lives.

However, this project is still in the middle point because I observe that I am also interested in the manipulation to keep consuming by society, and I have not considered this effect so much. Therefore, I am planning to research how people get the desire and fear to get better lives through continuous consumption.

●Presentation link

WEEK 05: Questioning ⇄ Making

{ THEME }

I have explored how I can capture the structure of consumption connected to the line of enquiry with iterations of creating publications in two weeks.

Reflection2:

Reflecting on the previous experiment through the structure, I captured the relationship between people as a consumer and a company through an item.

I have got two prior realisations through the experiment. Firstly, I noticed that consuming is not just purchasing. The previous publication contains only the purchasing process, so it is necessary to expand the duration. Secondly, it does not articulate my line of enquiry – so I need to reconsider why I opted for the topic of consumption. The purpose of this project is to reduce over-necessity and meaningless consumption.

Research:

To iterate creating publications as an experiment, I have started to research the current consumption behaviours. The reference, “The world is on fire but we’re still buying shoes”, says there are five main purposes to keep consuming clothes: Escapism, Status, Belonging, Novelty and Stimulation.

Experiment3:

In consideration of the above, I planned the next publication as follows.

  1. The opposite relationship between the company and people from the previous publication.
  2. Expanding the time duration from just buying to finishing to use.
  3. The unique consumption that has a meaningful story.

In addition, I set the original definition of the word consuming, which is “Adding colours to the narratives of your life”.

The additional iteration of making a publication shows meaningful and irreplaceable consumption from my experience. However, I observed that the outcome had lost its criticality because it had become just a self-dialogue.

Reflection3:

Therefore, I went back to the initial question: While residing in Japan, I frequently observed a tendency for individuals to make purchases without a conscious and deliberate thought process. Many people wear similar clothes, live parallel lives, and eat indistinguishable food. I was constantly questioned about how people show their identity through these similar consumption habits.

Latest line of enquiry:

I would like to emphasise through my design that people tend to over-purchase items to find their identity, which is not an essential act.

To connect this line of enquiry with the following outcome, I decided to represent the relationship between people and products consuming each other through the fictional narrative.

Experiment4:

This is a juxtaposition of the person who consumed the eyeglasses and the eyeglasses that consumed the person. The story is set in 2060 Tokyo.
Some products embed AI and can make the strategy for their marketing by themselves.

Reflection4:

Regarding the contents, it is certainly connected to the latest line of enquiry because this book has the possibility of making people start looking for their identity inside of themselves and naturally reduce their consumption. Yet, it still has some technical issues that need to be clarified for readers. I will improve these points as follows;

(Layout, Colour, Structure)

  • The spiral is more noticeable than the title.
  • Text is too small and difficult to read
  • There is no reason to choose green as the main colour.
  • Text colour should be darker.

(Contents)

  • The story should be more specific.
  • The story should not be the future
    – because the shape of this issue will be different in 2060.
  • Consider how I can make it more easy to understand without explanation.

(Material)

  • Consider what material can express the purpose of this book which is to make people think about our identity and overconsumption.

●Presentation Link

Week04: Exploration and Thinking

{ THEME }

How can I express my line of enquiry if my curiosity is about consumers more than animal rights?

Line of enquiry:

  • To explore human-centred design (NOT USER-CENTRED DESIGN) that does not sacrifice the environment and animals.
  • To visualise the consumption in a more transparent.

Studio Work:

This book shows that humans are consumers and/or users from a company’s perspective and do not have subjectivity. Additionally, as the reference book “Are We Human?” shows, humans can only grasp about 7% of our consciousness. It indicates that our subjectivity is mostly behind the subconscious, and the thinking process to get the item is blurred. Therefore, I express the situation through tracing paper and structured forms to buy things like Amazon’s UI.

Feedback:

I explored how I can translate the process of purchasing items through my line of enquiry, whose core is consumerism rather than animal rights. As a result, I could express how human existence becomes objective to see our purchasing process from a different point of view.

●Presentation Link

Week03: For the right destruction

Reconsidered why I am here?

This is substantially the initial step of this semester to destroy my tendency to create design until now.
I went back to the time before starting this course. I applied to this course because I felt that I was like a factory machine as a designer. Technically, my skills have improved every year. However, it was difficult to make a contribution to this society as an individual designer; I was a small part of the gears of the capitalist society.

For that reason, I aim to deepen my understanding of the line of enquiry derived from my experiences growing up in Tokyo, a capital city in Japan. Moreover, I seek to visually articulate this interpretation rather than relying on verbal expression.

Initial Question:

While residing in Japan, I frequently observed a tendency for individuals to make purchases without a conscious and deliberate thought process.
For example, during my part-time job at a coffee shop ten years ago, I successfully boosted sales of products nearing expiration by strategically placing them on the pastry shelves near the till. I used the psychological strategy, in which people tend to move their eyesight like a Z shape from top-left to bottom-right.

In addition, Japan has a cultural tendency to blend in with others. For example, students wear formal uniforms until they turn 18. Even in college, where people can wear casual clothes, many dress quite similarly.

This trend extends to Fashion Buildings, where the available clothes often share similar designs. Additionally, the rapid annual shifts in fashion trends create a cycle of continuous consumption, compelling individuals to purchase new clothes each year. Failure to do so may convey to others that one is not keeping up with the latest fashion.

Consequently, in Japan, there is a prevalent perception that people buy clothes not solely for fashion but largely to conform to societal norms and expectations.

Conclusion:

There are various types of manipulation behind people’s purchasing behaviour and as an individual,
I have always lived my life trying to compete with them. Yet, as a designer, I had the contradictory feeling that I was always contributing to the Manipulation side. I started this course to face such contradictions.

Line of enquiry:

In the first step, I depict the structure which we used in Unit 2, Position, to organise how to explore this project.

For the next, I set my line of enquiry as below:

  • To explore human-centred design (NOT USER-CENTRED DESIGN) that does not sacrifice the environment and animals.
  • To visualise the consumption in a more transparent.

Studio Work:

The publication expresses the process from the time a pig is born until it is eaten by humans as a medium. Regarding material, it mixes tracing paper and clear film depending on the transparency of the process to consumers. Some words make the reader feel pain, particularly in the slaughter process, so I avoid using illustrations and pictures.

Feedback:

It was the first time that I succeeded in reflecting on my questioning of the visual outcome. I noticed that questioning is the starting point of all the projects, and it is important to find the most appropriate medium after that. I have the tendency to find the solution at the very beginning of the project.
This week, I used most of the time to find my question. Therefore, I could not get time to make the polished design. However, I would like to reconsider my question first, which may be more connected to consumerism rather than animal rights.

●Presentation link

Cross Year Studio – Publishing

What I learned through this workshop:

In this workshop, we chose the book DOWN AND OUT IN BRITAIN by Jeremy Sandford. This book was published in 1971 and summarises the facts about British class society in documentary style. This man in the photo above is eating a sandwich provided by the city administration, and the author shows the issue of poverty in the working class of the UK at the time. To re-activate this publication, we started to be concerned about whether we should re-target the audience.
The target audience of the book was general people in the UK, and it should not be changed. However, 50 years have passed since publishing this book, so we can emphasise the fact that this issue has not been solved over 50 years to use this picture repeatedly.
Regarding the format of our publication, we thought to create publication which has only the picture for 50 times as the physical way. Then, we thought social networking is better to spread the fact widely now. So we designed the mockup to post this gif picture on Twitter(X).
It was a fun workshop concerned with the meaning of publication(n) and publishing(v) from different perspectives.

Reference:

Position through △2 – WEEK04+05

●Week 04 – making the draft

I chose ‘Design Activism Challenging the Speciesist Upbringing of Children’ as my reference for Triangulation △2. This thesis is about how design contributes to the animal rights issues written by a designer. The topic is the same as my project, but the target audience and the enactments are different. In my written work, I organise the key elements of this thesis to learn what I should know about animal rights related to producing meat and compare the position between this thesis and my project.

Regarding the Written Response for the Summative Assessment at the end of this Unit, I should correct the references again for my research since I changed the context of my questioning when I narrowed down the target audience.
The list of current references is below:

In week four, I analysed both Design Activism Challenging the Speciesist Upbringing of Children and PIG CITY to see the differences and similarities from these perspectives, purposes and the final enactments.

On the tutorial, Adele and Charles gave me the feedback. The working point was that the composition was very clear so that readers could understand my intention for the project. The non-working point was that it needed deeper analysis from the many types of perspectives. They also gave me the idea to connect the reference to my studio works, for instance, adding interesting information about pigs on the package so that humans feel similar to them as an animal.

●Week 05 – finishing △2 writings

During the tutorial, Andrew gave me 1on1 feedback, mainly about further studio work. He suggested that the design work should be wider than reconstructing packaging in expressing my position through design work. For instance, making DIY tools for activists or publishing a book regarding this issue.

◎The final outcome

Cross Year Studio – Technology

https://editor.p5js.org/Kumi_Sakai/full/IOz5TBJ7r

What I could learn through this workshop:

In today’s workshop, I made an original analogue clock using p5.js.
I only know a bit about JavaScript, and I have no experience writing it myself. So, it was challenging to create the design that I wanted to make. Especially when I put the numbers, I could not put them in the right place, so I put very random numbers to adjust. I want to know why the original formula did not work.

Reference:

https://i-n-t-e-r-f-a-c-e.org/
https://o-r-g.com/about

Position through △1 – Week02&03

Preface:

I caught a cold and could not attend last week’s tutorial. I shared two weeks of progress this week.

What I did this week:

・Gathered two types of references – same position / opposite position
・Researched etymology of pig and pork
・Iterating package design as studio work – translation/investigation

Reference01 – Same position:

by Emma Erickson

The first thing I looked for was references that used illustrations of animals to encourage us to think about animal rights in a positive way. Emma Erickson’s illustrations of anthropomorphic animals give us a fun impression of the vivid colours. She was originally a scientist. She says that the purpose of her illustrations is to convey our everyday behaviours and interactions in an interesting way. She also felt she was unique in that she didn’t use her mouth to manipulate facial expressions to convey joy, anger, or sadness.

Reference02 – Different position:

by Kate Louise Powell

On the other hand, Kate Louise Powell’s illustrations contain poignant expressions. She is a vegan and an animal rights activist. When she posted her illustrations on social networks, she realised that illustrations have more strong power as information than using only words. So, she decided to use them as a communication tool to tell animal rights. 

Reference03 – Controversial position:

by Egle Zvirblyte

Another interesting reference that I wanted to share is the packaging design for vegan bacon. They completely re-constructed the existing meat package through colourful, sophisticated and eye-catching graphic design. Compared to the first reference, it is the fact that using vivid colours for packages can convey a positive impression to communicate about animal rights. The other unique thing on the package is that the anthropomorphic pig is eating the vegan bacon. It gives me the impression that the pig is cannibalising. However, the designer may have intended to emphasise that even pigs can be eaten because they are vegan or express pigs are human’s friends through anthropomorphic illustrations.

Reference04 – humanistic food characters:

I have collected some additional examples of humanistic food illustrations and analysed the purposes for which anthropomorphic ingredients are used daily.
Left) Oden-kun: Oden is one of the Japanese traditional meals. It is an animation about their ordinary life.
Centre) Sausage Party: A story about sausages running away after learning they are ingredients.
Right) Yasaiccho: An animation to help children overcome their dislike of vegetables

Pig or Pork – Etymology

According to eGullet, it all goes back to the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066. When the French took over England, there became two ways of saying a lot of words, and from a gastronomic standpoint, the French won out (as they usually do). 
This is likely because the lower-class Anglo-Saxons were the hunters (so we get the animal names from them), and the upper-class French only saw these animals on the dinner table (so we get the culinary terms from them).
So the Anglo-Saxon pig became the French porc, which was Anglicized to pork; the Anglo-Saxon cow became the French boeuf, which became beef; and sheep became mouton (later mutton). Even chicken got a new culinary name: pullet, which is the Anglicized version of the French poulet and is now only used to refer to a young hen. All of those French terms are still the French words for those animals (as well as their meat) today. As for fish, we most likely still call it fish because the French term for it, Poisson, is too close to the English word poison.

Pig or Pork – Freepik & Google:

Studio Works:

Based on this research, I knew that the elements that evoke the existence of life through package design are influenced by various aspects of design. Therefore, I investigate what kind of impression changes can be made by breaking down various elements (colour, content, typeface, texture) through the current pork meat package design.

Studio work01 – Translation:

What could I learn?

  • all of the translating designs do not make us feel that meat is life.
  • The package design that wants to express a sense of luxury for wine and cheese is similar in tone to organic raw meat packages.
  • If a pork package has the character of an unrelated creature on it, it can be confusing to know what kind of meat we are eating.

Studio work02 – Investigation:

What could I learn?

  • Regarding the illustrations, expressions that suggest that the pig has emotions reminiscent of death will create negative emotions.
  • If a picture of a pig shows grass, it gives the impression that animal rights are protected or that the meat is organic.
  • There’s a sense of déjà vu when I see an illustration of a pig dressed as a chef, so we can see it in many different scenes daily.

Studio work03 – Investigation:

What could I learn?

  • As a result of the iterations, I felt that it was easier to manipulate people’s emotions through package design by using the order of photos > colours > fonts > words.
  • This result is also used in current cigarette packaging.

How do I continue to the next step?

I do not change my mind to convey the importance of animals’ lives in a positive way through package design. Therefore, I continue these iterations and explore the design ideas and possibilities.

Feedbacks:

・In the Translation project, it is possible to see the context by translating a more comprehensive range of package designs than just products sold in supermarkets.
・It may be possible to redefine not only the label design but also the other elements. (Materials, formats, etc.) It’s a good idea to collect elements that can be learned from other products, such as computer packaging or cosmetic packaging.
・By analysing things designed to attract people’s attention, such as billboards and road signs, it may be possible to explore the possibility of packaging with more impact.

Cross Year Studio – Language

What I learned through this workshop:

In today/s workshop, I created a Type Specimen A4 poster to analyse typography. I chose Monotype Grotesque, designed by Hinman Pierpont in 1926, to learn more about the Sans serif font, which has been trending for over 10 years.

There are four main categories in Sans serif font, which are Grotesque, Neo Grotesque, Geometric and Humanistic. A grotesque font was created at the beginning of the arrival of Sans serif fonts. Therefore, I thought it was appropriate to learn what Sans serif font is.

My first impression of Monotype Grotesque was cool because it includes a hand-made atmosphere created before the digital era. Especially details of curves, for example, lowercase a and r, and uppercase Q and J. Compared to humanistic fonts, which were created recently, this font looks more analogue in the details of typeface design.

Position through △1 – Week01

Feedback on the first introduction through dialogue :

・Cami advised me to decide on the target audience as specifically as possible.
・My line of enquiry was unclear: I should set the purpose of this project and relations between animal welfare and design role.
・Matthew asked me to think about What I can ‘hyper-focus in something’.
・Matthew advised me to focus on media rather than ethical issues since it is a project as a graphic designer. And I should pursue how the media can contribute to this issue.

What I did this week:

・Created the diagram(iteration)
・Setting the target audience
・Started doing the research

Diagram:

The topic in the previous term was about the possibilities of expressing emotional complexity through typeface design. Since the main feedback was about narrowing the target and topic itself, I decided to focus on complex feelings when people eat meat nowadays.
I start the investigation by analysing the current meat package design at a supermarket, which is one of the first touch points when people decide to eat meat. Regarding methods, I continue to use all the methods I have learned from last year.

Lines of enquiry:

Based on the diagram I created, I started thinking about what I could do as a graphic designer for animals. I am currently not vegan/vegetarian and eat meat a few times per week. However, I sometimes think about not eating meat to keep some animal’s life. It sounds better than the current habit. Even so, I still cannot stop eating meat to take protein and enjoy meals. That’s why I decided to explore another way to contribute to this issue as a graphic designer.

Target audience:

I do not want to design the package to appeal to consumers’ conscience in this project. The reason is this approach goes against the passion of farmers who look after their pigs with special care, even if it might be the most effective way to reduce the total consumption of meat. In addition, if the consumers stop purchasing feeling guilty, the meat at a supermarket will only lead to food waste. Therefore, I decided to set the target audience for the CEO of a supermarket in the UK, the company side.

Research:

I compared pork meat packages from the five leading supermarkets in the UK. Many supermarkets have two different lines, which are the best values one and the organic one(more expensive than the former). Interestingly, the label design of each supermarket is very similar. They use blue for the best value one and green/black for the organic one. The function of the package label is to tell this information: what meat, what part of the meat, expiration date, from the British, from the trusted farmer, and how to keep it. There is little information to tell about animal rights.

Feedbacks:

・I should try translating another food package design to a pork package label in order to analyse what elements of a package lead people to positive/negative emotions.
・I should analyse what elements or aspects of the food package make it feel artificial or natural.
・I should consider additional layers for people who choose not to eat pork for religious reasons.