Environments Design, Winter 2020
Create an environment that changes over time (~7 weeks)
When I'm making a cup of coffee in the morning, I don't think twice about why I choose 2% milk over flavored creamer. It seems like a menial thing, but this lack of reflection also translates into the way I make other, larger ethical decisions. In the past, I have faced consequences due to this lack of thoughtful decisionmaking, and now as a designer, it's more important than ever to understand how the choices I make can affect the future.
Blind Faith is a three-part series that explores the consequences of hasty
decision-making by putting the reader through a series of interconnected
moral dilemmas that impact our past, present, and future.
Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Traditional bookbinding
I began by defining and brainstorming around "environment" and "time."
I defined "environment" as something people experience and can range in three different levels of physicality and abstraction. I categorized time by past, present, and future.
ex. dog park
With these slightly more defined categories, I began creating a list of topics that not only fulfilled both the definition of environment in the context of time but were things I was interested in exploring.
Dunne & Raby
I also discovered patterns in the interconnectivity of these topics. For instance, implicit bias within artificial intelligence is due to historical biased data input. This is also associated with gender bias. Dunne and Raby's work looks at these societal issues and designs realities around them that are offbeat.
With more research into related works and current ideas that are out there, many of these correlations and injustices come from instances of human error
or perspective shifts over time. What causes them to change over time is the conscious choice and decision to do so.
Dunne & Raby
These topics all relate through conscious decisionmaking.
Creating Book Structure
Although I wanted readers to slow down and think about why they're making a certain choice and how it'll affect their future, I didn't want to show this explicitly in order to simulate the fact that we often learn lessons retroactively rather than in the moment. I began looking into instances of blind faith over time because of the strength it holds over us in depending on certain things. The most prevalent example is our blind faith in technology and preexisting systems that we assume won't fail. We often feel infallible under these pretenses until they do begin to crumble, so I wanted to represent this concept in my storylines.
I fully developed the Past book and kept the Present and Future conceptual to serve their purposes in the series. For this storyline, it puts the reader in the shoes of an eight-year-old kid and the "big moral decisions" that someone at this age would face. While this isn't a book for kids this age, it's meant to be off-beat and reminiscent of childhood.
Prototype #1 of illustration and story component
In the main plot of the book, you're running errands for your mother. You just have to pick up milk from the grocery store, give Tupperware back to the neighbor, and pick up takeout from Ned's Deli. It's easy enough! You have your new bike AND she's trusting you with $30. However, the first dilemma comes when you stop at the grocery store to get milk and are tempted by the snack aisle. If you choose to get a snack, you later find out that you're short money for the takeout.
Your mother also asks you to grab extra napkins at Ned's Deli but the signage says to only take one when you get to the restaurant. Whom do you listen to? Your beloved mother who would never put you at risk or the restaurant rules?
I consider these "big moral dilemmas" because this is scaled to the age of a child. Those who are older might brush past these dilemmas as silly, but what we experience at this age are the building blocks of learning that shape our present and future.
Print and Logic Flow
With four major decisions in the tree, this created eight potential endings, and I found that it was difficult to order the pages in the way that they weren't predictable (too close to the end) and still made sense. This was the part in my process where I struggled most.
Because some story sequences were similar, I followed a more calculated path to determine how the story deviates. I ended up mixing up a couple of plot points that created confusion in the storyline, so I had to completely reprint and rebind the book at a certain point. What was helpful was creating a mini version in order as a prototype but also for scale. Although the environment was predominantly about decisionmaking, it was also important for me to acknowledge the physical presence of the series itself through a slipcase.
The final print was 40-pages. I used a kettle stitch to bind the book together. Because I wanted everything about the book to hint at the concept of discovery, I used vellum paper to create the cover page. I also iterated on the slipcase a few times to understand how each of the books functions as a set versus individually.