Is Our Heart in the Work?
SYSTEMS, VISUAL DESIGN, BRANDING
“Many people continually make formal or informal resolutions to improve aspects of their lives. Although the goals may be set by an individual relative to his or her specific situation, many of the intentions apply to a larger body of people.”
—Stacie Rohrbach (Project Prompt)
Our goal for this project was to inform our audience about their resolutions, engage with them, and inspire them to take action to achieve their goals. Our task was to design a three-part communication system with digital, print, and spacial components. I worked with Elizabeth Wang and Jacob Paul to develop a program that promotes earnest/healthy conversation between isolated individuals and can shift the current mindset and stigma from one that is indifferent towards the stress culture to one that creates a positive community and a more balanced school experience.
C Studio II: Designing Systems
- 1 Month
- Illustrator, HTML/CSS/JS, Sketch
- UX Designer and Researcher, Web Developer
PART 1 – Print Component, Poster
PART 2 – Spacial Component
We want to spark conversation about stress without having it be all about negativity, even though the topic itself can be very negative. We plan to do this by steering the dialogue to ways that people cope/relieve stress. The installation will prompt, “What are you stressed about?” and then balance it out by asking other people to post responses to what their peers are struggling with. The problem + consolation pairs will add up to a shared, supportive community installation post.
We placed the second Installation in the University Center. Inspired by Candy Chang’s ‘Before I Die,’ we wanted people to reinterpret the famous quote said by Andrew Carnegie, “My heart is in the work.” Where else do students’ passions lie? The Installation included sticker handouts for viewers to take home. The stickers directed students to the next component of our system.
PART 3 – Digital Component
Our digital piece is multiple posts and post responses hosted on a website. The purpose is to give stressed students a safe place to talk about their stress. The website is similar to Quora in that others can reply with their advice/suggestions/comfort words.
From our fact gathering and brainstorming, we decided to focus on CMU’s undergrad students. We defined stress culture at CMU: “on this campus, it’s normal to ignore your stress and pretend that you’re doing fine, the more work that you can do without cracking, the more impressive you are” (Tartan 2012). The parts of the stress culture that we’re trying to address are the isolation that students deal with and the stigma against asking for help. Once we solidified a concept, we started to work on forming a visual language. Then, I designed a user flow diagram and screens for our website.
Below are Elizabeth’s initial visual explorations. Using critiques from our professors and peers, we made new iterations and started moving toward our final designs. Elizabeth created another round of ideas for our poster and handout. I created an updated version of our website, and Jacob started envisioning what our large-scale, interactive installation would look like. Feel free to take a look at more detailed process here.
We created a style guide to tie all the pieces together into a cohesive system. The final visual style incorporated a dark purple background with eye-catching type, shapes and graphics. The glitch effect was also toned down. We wanted to acknowledge that work culture at CMU can evoke negative emotions. We found that just the right amount of “stressful” visuals provided just enough harshness to stay true to the topic, yet visually attract passerby.
1. Poster: Garner participation
2. Installation: Promote and normalize having a balanced lifestyle
3. Website: Creating a sense of community