A new research and innovation project is enabling Graphic Design students at Cardiff Metropolitan University to collaborate with clients from a variety of health-related professions, to consider the role that graphic design can play in triggering health improvement and behaviour change.
Led by Wendy Keay-Bright, Professor of Technology and Inclusion and Director of the Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design (CARIAD), the "Design for Real Life" project has already secured support from Public Health Wales, Cwm Taf Health Board, Food Industry Centre (also based at Cardiff Met), Wales and Stroke Hub Wales.
Each organisation challenged the Level 6 BA students to design creative and innovative solutions to a number of preventable health issues including:
- Encouraging people to take their medicine properly;
- Raising awareness on antimicrobial resistance;
- Drawing attention to the difficulties experienced by stroke survivors suffering with sight deficit;
- Communicating effectively with stroke survivors suffering with aphasia (impairment of language);
- Promoting the importance of hand hygiene protocol in food-processing factories;
- Shedding light on the dangers of bad fridge safety;
- Highlighting the importance of medication review and falls prevention.
For four weeks, the 32 students worked intensively, carrying out in-depth research and meetings with health professionals and patients throughout the design process. They then individually pitched their proposed design solutions to clients.
Prof Wendy Keay-Bright said: "This initiative had double goals: We wanted to encourage more researchers and health professionals to acknowledge that design can generate real impact on wellbeing, and at the same time inspire our students to think differently.
"It is important that our students recognise the responsibility that design carries, and that they identify their work outside an academic context. This requires them to think about who the recipients are, therefore opening the design space rather than straight problem solving."
Students' products included modern apps and interactive posters; hand-crafted editorials, from small stickers to imposing murals, from meditation guides and poems to rhythmic animations - no campaign was the same.
The students exhibited their work before working on final products, based on feedback received.
Prof Keay-Bright added: "We're extremely proud of our students for the work they have achieved. It is not easy to design a creative health campaign from scratch in just four weeks, and to pitch it in front of potential real life clients – and they have done a fantastic job.
"I would also like to thank the organisations who have supported the project, for the briefs they provided and for their precious feedback, and we look forward to renewing the project next year."
To read this story in Welsh, click here.