By bridging the gap between the unknown and the audience, design helps form a friendly interaction between the two.
Considering research at the base of good design work, I allow research to dictate the form of the delivery. I believe best work emerges when various disciplines intersect. I also learned about biomimicry recently and it’s so cool!!
Favourite or most effective re-brand you can think of?
“Frooti” by Sagmeister and Walsh.
Other than design, what creative fields interest you most?
Product design, illustration, photography, filming, and all forms of ingenious ideas in agriculture, sustainability, technology, architecture, engineering, etc.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
A multi-coloured crayon wrapped in a thin layer of brown. It would look normal but when an artist begins to use it, the changing colours would be unpredictable. Which would force the artist to let go of control and create with what they’ve got and make it work. Exploring and creating without a clear picture in mind is crucial at various points in the process because once you decide what you want without exploring first, you might miss out on better solutions. Also, I want to be everything.
If you could learn any new skill or talent, what would it be?
Parkour – nobody would expect it, and I would have strong muscles.
Drugs have been demonized by schools, media, and government but they are not the issue. Drugs fill the void which displeasures leave in our lives. A drug epidemic is a sign of unresolved problems like unemployment, trauma, financial security, etc. Bruce Alexander shows this though his “Rat Park” experiment. Governments are more focused on regulating drugs than investigating the initial cause of drug abuse. The roles of illegal or legal drugs aren’t communicated appropriately. The precaution doesn’t lie in scaring a population, it lies in correctly explaining what drugs are how they are used. The existing ideology about drugs exerts pressure against an honest dialogue. Drugs can also elevate pleasures but the project focuses on substance use to rid displeasures.
Why focus on this?
This PSA left a lasting impact on me. It was enough to scare me and deny drugs but it also wired me to look at addicts shamefully, and be afraid of them. PSA’s generally connote there’s a choice between using drugs and avoiding them and people who do end up using drugs have no self-control. But as a population, we need to become more educated so addicts don’t feel ashamed of their predicament and reach out for help without feeling judged.
Three diptychs, therefore six 24″ by 36″ visual essays were delivered.The essays aim to challenge the established notions about drugs through three comparisons. The three pairs are:
– Diamorphine Hydrochloride vs Heroin
– War and Coping with War
– Criminalization vs Decriminalization
The essays are directed towards designers, artists, and design and art enthusiasts. Designers and artists as creators, educators, and communicators can further play a larger role in de-stigmatizing drugs and spread the information. The posters work individually but it’s easier to understand them when the pair is seen together so that clues can be borrowed from one or the other.
The visual essays began as abstracts – there was a thought and meaning behind every element but a visual statement would have to accompany the initial designs. I did several communication audits to ensure I was covering the important parts of the research, that there was no repetition of information and to help me decide on information hierarchy. I jumped between my sketchbook and laptop and visual research; there wasn’t a clear order. I jumped between the others when I felt stuck or unsatisfied with the state of the project. Critiques from my peers and professor, Adam Antoszek-Rallo were a major help in realizing the shortcomings of the project.
War and Coping with War
In “Afghanistan’s Child Drug Addicts,” Ramita Navai interviews Ali, a thirteen-year-old boy who’d been abusing heroin had witnessed a suicide bombing in Kabul. Ali then went to stay with his relatives where he witnessed another American plane bombing his village. Ali and other villagers had to pick up the body pieces and put them in bags. He said he rather not live than live through the war, further stating he sometimes wants to kill himself. Drugs were helping him cope. He could escape the war for a limited time enabling him to live through another day. Trauma is a huge factor of drug abuse in countries under war.
While approaching this pair of visual essays I realized Ali had a story and the word “story” corresponded with movies, so I began my visual research on movie posters.
Criminalization vs Decriminalization
Richard Nixon started the War on Drugs and it was a failure. It increased corruption, violated human rights, and did not affect the drug use rate. In 1994, Former domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman who was also one of Nixon’s top advisor admitted, the policy was mainly designed to put black people and hippies in jail by associating heroin with blacks and marijuana with hippies. War on Drugs helped keep Nixon in the White House – it was calculated political move. Another example of hard-line policy is Prohibition.
On the other hand, João Castel-Branco Goulão, the current national drug coordinator for Portugal decriminalized all drugs. If a person was found with a small drug quantity, they would not be sent to jail instead recommended to a drug program. Addicts also weren’t forced to enroll in the drug program but the doors were open to them whenever they decided they were ready. Harm reduction program along with social workers played major roles in the policy. Not only did it change how the general population reacted to addicts but it decreased drug abuse, crime rates, HIV rates and drug overdoses.
Diamorphine Hydrochloride vs Heroin
Drugs are used to cure diseases but what’s the difference between the medical drug and the street drug? Diamorphine is a synonym for heroin. The major differences between the two are that Diamorphine Hydrochloride is made in a clean environment, you know who manufactured it, it’s more stable and potent, and patented. Medical drugs are prescribed and the doctor directs you the dosage and when and how you should take the drug to reach internal homeostasis. Whereas heroin is “self-medicated” and is used to reach euphoria. Diamorphine Hydrochloride can also be used to reach euphoria if you take more than recommended. Drugs have a great potential in curing mental disorders and diseases.
Diamorphine Hydrochloride and Heroin are products, therefore, I treated them like advertisements.
For more information on the project please visit kaurdesign.ca/shift.