Persuasion: An Introduction

When I wrote my personal statement for my university application just over two years ago, knowing approximately 0.1% of what I do now about graphic communication design, I stumbled upon a quote from Jonathon Barnbrook speaking about graphic design being utilised as an excellent tool for instigating social change. I remember thinking ‘god yeah…that would be good wouldn’t it? I could do that.’ The past few months in particular have opened up to me how important a role graphic design can have in motivating change politically and socially, and how important it is to use my skills for this purpose. It was only when researching for my dissertation, searching for an empty notepad to scribble notes in that I found my personal statement plan and suddenly some scattered dots connected – I first got interested in design because of the power it can have in reaching a lot of people, quickly, and communicating a message. This ‘ah yeah, that makes sense actually,’ moment came as I was sat in my kitchen, researching politically driven graphic communication in 1960’s America and rainforest conservation campaigns simultaneously. Bit slow, I know.

I have been looking forward to beginning Persuasion. After an inspiring field module full of learning new things, I am excited to see what I can apply to my subject work, as well as working on a topic which may influence a social opinion. The study trip to Morocco taught me a lot about a completely different culture to my own, destroying some misconceptions of my own and giving me a whole new experience to what I am used to. The misconceptions of Morocco I had previous to going were a results of information given by the media, on a variety of platforms. It got me thinking about just how influential subliminal messages can be when delivered in a certain way, how this has been harnessed for harm, and how it should be harnessed for good. Throughout Persuasion, we will take on a live brief which explores ways in which we can persuade an audience to, perhaps, change things about their lifestyle, change their views on a particular topic, or become aware about an issue they were not before. In order to create effective pieces of persuasion, I have been conducting research of the topic and outside of my particular topic too, as this was something Matt said was a great element of my last subject project.

I will be working on Size of Wales’ brief. Size of Wales are a small, Welsh organisation working to save areas of tropical forest the size of Wales and larger. They have asked for infographics displaying some of the facts that they have gathered to help audiences understand the importance of conservation work in Africa and South America to protect the tropical forests there, and to also understand the work that Size of Wales have successfully completed since they were established.

It was important to us to meet with our clients. We had complied a list of questions we wanted to ask, and we also wanted to develop a personal relationship with the client before the first meeting in a few weeks’ time. Claire Raisin, our contact from Size of Wales, met with us at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff and very generously gave us her time to answer our questions. We recorded the session and took notes – this will be very useful to refer back to throughout the design process. Something we wanted to find out from Claire was how much freedom we have with the brief, as it was important to us to attempt something completely different and original and push the boundaries of the brief. With 5 extremely talented people working on this brief along side me, more freedom will allow us all to come up with 5 completely different concepts and ideas, showcasing our strengths in our own way. Claire made it clear that we have complete freedom with the brief and can work across a variety of media to produce the infographics they need, plus anything else we can think of. Already, amongst the group we have different ideas about the kinds of things we would like to produce, hopefully making for an exciting project!

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