Response 3: Journal Research

In The Disruptive Aesthetics of Design Activism, Thomas Markussen argues that most of the existing frameworks are insufficient for defining urban design activism and that a new, alternative framework is needed “based on the notion of design activism as a disruptive aesthetic practice”, placing emphasis on how it effects people’s daily lives. However, Markussen’s focus on disruption of public space to induce change falls short of an all inclusive definition and instead offers an expansion to other existing frameworks rather than replacing them. He also neglects to name which existing frameworks he does deem sufficient.

In contrast, Grace Lees-Maffei questions in Reflections on Design Activism and Social Change, whether the medium of design activism is indeed the public space or as argued by Faud-Luke, has the “ability to operate through ‘things’ and systems” (Lees-Maffei 2012). Andrea Grimes points out in Designing for Health Activism, that creating systems to help users “cope with the ramifications of inequality” is also an act of design activism (Grimes 2013).

Meanwhile, in the Global Design Activism Survey, Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan points out that in India, design methods have been utilised to platform fascist ideology and exploitative behaviour, whereas in the USA, John Emerson notes that graphic designers have been involved in movements such as Occupy Wall Street.

In conclusion, design activism is practised in a varied manner and is not uniform in either it’s execution or effect. It’s aims, causes and effectiveness can take different forms and be both global or locally influenced in their response to contemporary social issues.


Grimes, A. (2013). Designing for health activism. (March+April), 22. Retrieved August 18, 2015, from

Kaygan, H & Julier, G. (2015) Global Design Activism Survey. Design and Culture, 5(2), 237-252. Retrieved from

Lees-Maffei, G. (2012). Reflections on Design Activism and Social Change. Design Issues, 28(2), 90-92. Retrieved from

Markussen, T. (2013). The Disruptive Aesthetics of Design Activism: Enacting Design Between Art and Politics. Design Issues, 29(1), 38-50. Retrieved from

Brief: Quote Me

Using only typography and design principles, reflect the meaning of a quote, in a poster.


Each team will design up to four versions of the one (same) quote as a single-page ‘poster’ that expresses the quote typographically. Each version explores a different range of aspects and constraints and their effect on the visual and communication outcomes. Each team member will be responsible for one version; however, the team is assessed on the collective outcomes (the set).

“To push the boundaries, you need to know where the edges are”.

– Mark Boulton

Typeface Point Size Colour
Version 1: Kristi 1 * # * #
Version 2: Hayley 2 1 3
Version 3: Cade 2 2 2
Version 4: Vicky 3 * # 1


Task 2: Design Language

In her article On Logophobia, Elizabeth Glickfeld speaks of “logo-bashing” and partly blames “ignorance of the design process” (Glickfeld 2010).

Glickfeld notes that designers have a complex job in giving form to abstract values, concepts and attitudes in a single identity. Furthermore, “a logo designer has perhaps the duration of a glimpse to capture the audience’s attention and to etch that glimpse into their memory” (Glickfeld 2010).

Often a logo must communicate such elements as history, culture and values in a single illustration, all whilst justifying the price-tag attached to the work.

When it comes to branding cities, another challenge facing designers, as explained by Glickfeld, is the risk of “communicational whitewashing”.


(Logo Design 2017)

In 2008, Belfast City Council unveiled a new logo by Lloyd Northover “as part of a regeneration programme focused around celebrating the city’s industrial history and updating perceptions still locked in its political past” (Bowser 2008). The Council’s website stated that “Its aim is to help market Belfast to international visitors and potential investors, promoting the city as an exciting, vibrant and welcoming place…The time is right for us to build a thriving, vibrant city…we embrace the future to build an even better Belfast”.

However, artist Miriam de Burca, who in her video installation You and Me, showcased footage of gentrification and regeneration, accompanied by a soundtrack of the street violence and sectarian abuse that de Burca recorded from her kitchen window, poses the questions “where do places like north Belfast fit into the model of today’s Northern Ireland?” and “Who are we building this new city for?” (Coll 2008).

Photographer, John Duncan spoke to Bryon Coll of The Irish Times about a deep-rooted sense of loss in the North, made worse by the rapidly-changing urban landscape.”There seems to be a real drive to commodify everything in Northern Ireland for the tourist market. Whenever that happens, communities lose their sense of ownership”, says Duncan. (Coll 2008)

(Logo Design 2017)

 In 2011, São Paulo introduced a new identity designed by Romulo Castillho. In their article, ‘Top 10 City Logos’, Inkbot Design writes “The vibrant logo of São Paulo can be seen as representative of the diversity and variety of cultures in and around the city…(however) it lacks a specific cultural angle, instead of covering the feeling of the city over the people that inhabit it”.


In his article São Paulo Attracts, Armin Via states “The logo is meant to represent both the diversity and variety of people and cultures in São Paulo as well as being a loose depiction of the metropolis with roads and avenues that converge climactically at its center”. He later adds, “It lacks some cultural specificity’  (Vit 2011).


‘A new logo for Belfast’ 2008, Logo Design Love, 3 July, viewed 7 August 2017, <;.

Bowser, J 2008, ‘Belfast rebrands city logo to shake off old perceptions’, Campaign, 2 July, viewed 7 August 2017, <;.

Coll, B 2008, ‘A blank canvas for a new North’, The Irish Times, 3 July, viewed 7 August 2017, <;.

Glickfeld, E. (2010). On logophobia. Meanjin, 69(3), 26-32. Retrieved from

Logo Design 2017, ‘Belfast City’ [image], Top 10 City Logos, Inkbot Design, viewed 7 August 2017, <;.

Logo Design 2017, ‘São Paulo City’ [image], Top 10 City Logos, Inkbot Design, viewed 7 August 2017, <;.

Vit, A 2011, ‘São Paulo Attracts’, Brand New, 2 December, viewed 7 August 2017, <;.

Scrambled Mess

So, I’ve stripped the cable bare and now I have this to work with…

IMG_1430  Aaaaaand this idea sucks!


Then I found this picture on the net…


..and I thought, what if I used thin wire and made it look like power lines. I could make some power poles and have them amongst trees with the word spelled out in the wire. No point drawing it yet until I know if It’s doable or not.

So I bought this and had a go.

IMG_1436     IMG_1437     IMG_1438

And then I broke it.


I kind of fixed it and then put it under some books to try and flatten it a bit.


Even if it works I don’t think I can make realistic looking power poles for this thing. I could buy a model kit that I saw at the hobby store and then paint it but I think it will still look fake. I could turn it into a power cord or something with Photoshop but I don’t think that much manipulation of the photo is allowed.

Here’s what it looks like.


Why did I choose metal? 😦