Week 12: New Steps

Studio Practice

Take a graphic design interest that you are familiar with and investigate how the idea can be improved, disrupted or retold through a shift of application.

This might be an opposing media or environment ( e.g from book to installation, packaging to performance) or an opposing time or fictional future (e.g. speculative design). You can tell the story of your idea in any medium, but ensure the shift you make with your project is apparent, courageous and driven by risk and a rationale.

Initial Ideas

  • A friend working for an international news broadcaster has created a framework within the app which allows AR tools to be displayed to illustrate the news story. The first idea they would like to create is a big block of carbon in front of you to demonstrate how much we emit into the atmosphere a year.
    • One idea I had to use the new technology he has coded would be, with climate change and flooding becoming an increasing inevitability, to show how much sea levels could rise over the coming decades. The user would be able to aim the frame at the ground to see how much they and their surroundings would be underwater. This takes detecting geographic location and altitude from the user and gathering data from different climate change models and displaying CGI water in the framework.
    • Another idea shows air pollution. Before anyone says, “that sounds like what Anab Jain produced and presented in her TED talk“, I thought of this last Wednesday before the course material was released. The AR framework would take in local surroundings and reduce visibility to the user based on air pollution models and recorded data from previous air pollution events (like the Great Smog of London) and current air quality in Beijing.
  • My second idea focusses on a different looming horror: Brexit. Over the weekend, a document detailing plans for Operation Yellowhammer, which lays out plans for a worst-case scenario no-deal Brexit, and what shortages we could expect to face. The document was written as highly sensitive and not to leave department buildings, and written in March this year, but was only leaked on Sunday. There are a number of shortages detailed: fuel, food, and medicine; and I began to think how this might affect everyone.
    • Food: Would it be possible to have a pop-up supermarket displaying all the prices we might expect after price rises or shortages? What would we have to sacrifice in our daily/weekly shop to fit what was available and what we could afford?
    • Medicine: Many of us take different types of medicine, and although some are life-critical in hospitals, millions more rely on medications to maintain their conditions. I am one of them as I have no thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and take levothyroxine to replace the thyroxine that my body would otherwise make. It’s not a critical condition, by any stretch of the imagination, but to be without it for a sustained amount of time would have an effect on my day-to-day life. What does a potential shortage of medication mean for people with far more serious managed conditions, such as diabetes (insulin needs to be kept refrigerated), epilepsy or severe mental health conditions?

Decision: Medications and Brexit


A family member is a pharmacist and has advised me to make sure that if there is a break in supply, that I have enough supply to cover it. So, selfishly, I have.

As of February 2019, the government has asked suppliers of “7,000 prescription-only and pharmacy medicines” to maintain a six-week stockpile in case of a no-deal Brexit (Clewes, 2019). Reliable data for names of medications being stockpiled, or not stockpiled, is sparse. This is in part because pharmaceutical bodies, such as “The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA), the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have also confirmed that they have signed NDAs issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).” and that “A spokesperson for the DHSC said the NDAs are used “to protect the commercial interests of the government and its suppliers”.” (Wickware, 2019).

This has been problematic and that as a result of the NDAs, “Warwick Smith, director general of the BGMA, said the agreements were hindering his organisation’s ability to give guidance to its own members” (Wickware, 2019).

The official line is that everything will be fine and that hospitals and pharmacies have no need to order above their normal stock levels. The government has gone so far as to issue a statement saing that “any incidences involving the over ordering [sic] of medicines will be investigated and followed up with the relevant Chief or Responsible Pharmacist directly” (Hancock, 2019)

To retain control and to stop hospitals over-ordering, I can understand the directions from the government. However, it does not assuage the worries of the end-users of medication, such as myself and others. News articles over the past year have switched between ‘don’t stockpile’ and ‘prepare to keep a supply’, and what, and who, should we trust?



Keeping a supply of medication against advice, potentially to the detriment of the health service (if everyone did it) shows me how little trust I have in the government to deliver a smooth exit from the European Union. I voted to remain in the union and am deeply unhappy with the referendum result, but at this time all I can do is to prepare myself.

However, this led to the thought: Mistrust of the government and the ruling elite was part of the reason that the UK voted to leave the European Union. I am now the one feeling unheard, and that my health is being used in a political game, against the years of the people who voted for Brexit also feeling like they weren’t listened to.

How can I demonstrate this?

  • Union flag: make out of different colour tablets and blow away?
  • Ticking down counter to tablets to show each of day between the referendum and (proposed) leaving date, which is 1222 days
  • Effervescent tablets (discounted)
  • Corn syrup blood slow-mo filling the page (discounted)


So far, I have decided to create a collage of tablets to form a Union Flag, and this is where I have got to:


The background helps me see the white tablets. In a longer-term project, I would source tablets of this colour and size and stop-motion them being but into position. As the time is short, InDesign is doing the job. I did discuss with Stuart the irony of using 1222 tablets to create this whilst tablets are being stockpiled.


When the tablets are laid out…

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Writing a script that will export the tablets to the layers for stop motion graphics. It’s slow!

I’ve got a few files to come out, and have managed to render them into a video. It’s rather raggedy, but here’s the link!

For reflection, if I were to do this again, I would add the sounds of a ticking clock or beep as every pill disappeared. I would include some zooming in as the number got smaller, and I would vary the speed of the pills disappearing as negotiations went badly or terribly.


Wickware, C. (2019). Industry and pharmacy bodies confirm signing government ‘gagging orders’ over no-deal Brexit plans. [online] Pharmaceutical Journal. Available at: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/industry-and-pharmacy-bodies-confirm-signing-government-gagging-orders-over-no-deal-brexit-plans/20206944.article [Accessed 21 Aug. 2019].

Hancock, M. (2019). No Deal Brexit – Continuity of Medicines Supplies – NECS Medicines Optimisation. [online] NECS Medicines Optimisation. Available at: https://medicines.necsu.nhs.uk/no-deal-brexit-continuity-of-medicines-supplies/ [Accessed 21 Aug. 2019].

Clewes, G. (2019). Government identifies 7,000 medicines for no-deal Brexit planning. [online] Pharmaceutical Journal. Available at: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/government-identifies-7000-medicines-for-no-deal-brexit-planning/20206222.article [Accessed 21 Aug. 2019].





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