Sustainable Lifetimes – Journal Entry

From the start of Sustainable Lifetimes, I was very much interested with the topic. I liked the idea of sustainable design and as a practitioner I have always asked myself how to become more sustainable within my own practice. As a graphic designer I thought about of the possibility of creating sustainable designs and how can I inform it throughout my work. From the recycling of paper to energy consumption, ink and colour wastage to promoting the sustainability to other designers, and beginner designers and to the clients and businesses as well. The idea that designers waste so much of materials in the process of developing the work is clearly an issue there. However, the seminars have helped me to learn more about the sustainability and I have been given different perspectives regarding the theme. Being introduced to several theories and examples was a really eyes opening experience. At the seminars we have been taking part in group research and individual tasks where they have challenged us to think of different effects of sustainability. We have been presented different topics such as sustainable design, the ability to sustain, the origins of sustainability, objects lifetime where we have also done some hand on workshops as well. Also, we have talked about the different types of obsolescence and a brief history including videos and thesis of sustainable practices.


Overall, Sustainable Lifetimes gave me a deep insight into the theme and it helped me to understand the importance of a more sustainable life and it made sure to explain that well, Huw our tutor has helped us to understanding what sustainability really means through different topics and workshops by making us experience the sustainable design with our own eyes. After having an in-depth explanation of different topics regarding sustainability, I have also found very interesting the topic of planned obsolescence and the products lifespan. With the arrival of the new technology I always thought that newer generation of electronics must be better and improved in exchange for the older generation. I found it rather odd how electronics do not last longer than a year or two, so I was not sure how that is possible. Thus, I wanted to find out more as I could not understand why would electronics be designed to wear out after some time? I started to research into the theme in a broader manner. I started reading some online articles where they have talked about the issue in general, but it did not quite explain why it happens but rather just analysing it. I did not think it was enough to understand why and how it is possible, so I watched related documentaries as well where I have come across the word “monopolists”. Looking through the library I found out a bit about the business strategy of planned obsolescence, so I decided to study it further. However, having to write an essay I decided that I wanted to learn more about the planned obsolescence and the business strategy behind it, so I based my assignment around the planned obsolescence and object life time topic. I have then looked at articles and access the online archive where they provided me with journals and old articles surrounding the theme. As a result, I began writing about “The Notion Behind Shortening the Replacement Cycle and Object Lifespan”. In conclusion, sustainable lifetimes have helped me to identify and analyse the importance of recycling and sustainability. It has challenged me to understand and to see how sustainability can influence my practice and to see the truth behind big corporations finding ways to improve sales. Overall it was a good opportunity to learn about the topic of sustainable lifetimes. We then had the freedom to choose what we wanted to write about. I thought the issue of planned obsolescence it is a rather broad and a big problem right now especially with the mass production of electronics and the vast amount of e-waste being produced every year worldwide by the consumers there is definitely a concern regarding this issue.


Circle Line – Research

As part of the research stage we have been given some examples of documentaries to look at and even an an essay to read titled “The Art of Documentary Practice” where he talks about the art behind making a documentary and different effects and techniques encountered along the way of time by different practitioners. The way the world is being captured by the film maker and photography. He then talks about the differences between the way a documentary-practitioner uses his work to make a difference and based on the social encounters around the world. Whereas the contemporary artist as said in his essay is mostly illustrating the human drama and interpreting the world around him thought creative intelligence and visual interrogation. And then the photographer capturing literal interpretations of the world around.

This essay is a mind opening, as a practitioner it is important to tell the difference between the jobs of a contemporary artist, graphic designer, photographer, film or that of a documentary maker. It is the idea that every one of these artists see the world differently and each one of these techniques are capturing the different parts and meanings of the world around them.

So I started to look up the examples given within our group in order to identify and construct an idea about documentary making and different effects and techniques used.

So here it is a documentary by John Smith The Black Tower (1987) I chose to put this on the blog as I found it very interesting the way he implemented different shots of places, buildings and patterns then gave it a purpose, also through a voice narrative. It brings me back thinking of a project that we did a while back about the animation making and the creation of narratives. Sometimes the image is just to give a visual representation. The importance of perspective and the focus on the narrative is what gives a documentary a sense of purpose, a story. In this case the message is being translated by a voice over but mainly through shadow, time, colour, the sound and movement also. Every image has a narrative of its own, yet the implied narrative by the artist is what gives this documentary a story, an interpretation of the documentary maker’s reality within various pictures, sounds, repeated scenes and patterns of things and his voice tone is what makes this video appealing to me.

This documented animation ‘Feeling My Way’by Jonathan Hodgson shows the life seen through his conscious and unconscious mind at work on a journey to work from his house. This visual representation of his urban encounters works powerfully as a movie collage and animation. It feels almost like you are living through his mind and experience his thoughts which is to me quite fascinating and rather beautifully illustrated too. From human interactions to architecture and sounds it seems to work quite efficiently.

Dziga Vertov also a documentary film-maker of 1920’s has created this documentary that wanted to show and experiment with the power of a movie camera through a political film created in 1924.

Dziga Vertov  – The man with the Moving Camera 1929 these two movies both remind me of the movie metropolis 1927. The movie metropolis is a very popular dutch movie created in 1920’s and is mostly know for its powerful images of the future represented at that time through a lot images of a mega futuristic architecture and technology. The movie is also a silent film but it is narrated by actors and dramatic sounds. It is a powerful example on where imagery and sound work together to conveying a tone. The shots were also taken from certain perspectives that makes the movie even more interesting.

Browsing the internet archive for manifestoes I have come across a 2010, 90 minutes movie Manifesto that screens the actor Cate Blanchett impersonating 13 different manifestos from a homelessness manifesto to Suprematism / Constructivism and 11 more. The movie draws on the writings of different movements and is questioning the role of the artists within the society. After watching the movie I feel like there is a lot more to know regarding the exploration of cinematic picturesque images and the way it is seen by different movements and interpreted by people around the world and within different industries as well.

So, I have looked up more examples of manifestoes where I have come across this interesting manifesto about life.


Next, I have found this manifesto Everybody’s Free ( To wear Sunscreen ) Moulin Rouge created this lyrics based on an essay Mary Schmich from 1997 called “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”.



Consult maps in advance (paper maps not just Google!). Do some background reading about documentary making, creative manifestoes, psycho-geography, histories of the sites visited as per the brief.



On Display process and outcomes

On Display project was a great opportunity to work with the subject branding in a broader manner. This project allowed us to choose from a number of different themes and it gave us the flexibility to also choose what our outcomes were going to be. With the start of this project I choose Psychogeography as it sounded appealing to me. I have researched into the theme and looked at things such as what other designers did in response to Psychogeography. I found a lot of abstract yet visually interesting pieces of work, that really got me even more intrigued on finding out more. I started watching documentaries and read articles to get a more in-depth and clear understanding of it. I then read a few articles about the creator of this movement Guy Debord.

This branding project was a good chance to apply all the skills I have learned in the first year of University within one big project. It was a good opportunity to also work on my time managing skills as the project’s deliverables requirements were higher than in the previous projects. After I gathered enough information on the theme I started to write up some initial ideas for what I was going to deliver for this brief.

My initial idea was to create a brand that targets the youngsters and tourists mostly in a way that it allows them to interact a bit like a social media app while navigating an interesting path around the urban environment. The idea of walking around and meet new people then walk around as a group and get to interact with one another by completing different tasks around the city without using a legitimate map. Unfortunately, I didn’t think this idea was strong enough, so I asked a few classmates and friends to give me some feedback and have decided to completely redesign the concept of my brand.23336005_1358772324231662_1222338555_o

This time the map is meant to take you on a journey that encourages you to explore and deliberately make you want to see more by teasing you with small narratives providing you with beautiful visuals around the city through both virtual and non-virtual experiences. It is the idea of drifting around the city by following the map provided by the app to find new and interesting architectures and narratives to back up the effect that this will have on you while you are experiencing the virtual reality of contemporary and historical events that happened around the city. And, allow you to socialise and share your experiences with others as well.23336199_1358782714230623_622375908_o

With this in mind I have started to draw sketches of logos that represent and communicate the brand’s identity. Based on my brand’s concept I picked the logos that I believe it communicates the brand effectively and took them into illustrator where I have digitised and played around with different tools and effects. With the developing of the logo and the identity of my brand I was also trying to incorporate a minimal number of colours as well. I tried reds, blues and yellows as well. I wanted to have a unique and rather contemporary marque that would effectively fit in with the brand’s identity and that would stand out in terms of colours skim and that is aesthetically pleasing as well.



Developing Final Marque:

So this to me was what I was looking for, a minimalist contemporary approach of the marque. I choose black and yellow as being my brand’s main colours as the contrast between the two seem to work very well. Another reason why I choose these two colours is that “Black” is associated with mystery, and unknown. On the other hand “Yellow” stands for freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, and joy. To me this is what my brand is all about, the enjoyment and the discovery of new narratives related to the urban spaces.

After creating a brand and decided on the marque for it, it was the time to move on and start thinking of the ephemera and things such as the way finding exhibition and the brand’s identity in-depth.

So the idea of my brand is to provide a fun and entertaining experience around the city while you are exploring and experience the urban environment in different ways, discover historical and contemporary narratives as you go. But how do I do that? 

For my brand’s deliverables I was thinking at things such as poster, app, website design, also in terms of products I was thinking our own customised Virtual Reality gear. Within the virtual reality we have the app display and the animation within it. For this I have researched different apps, posters and websites in order to draw some inspirations.

For the branding experience and way finding I decided to create my own slogans that should work across different medias. I have researched for innovative ways to make people remember my brand and to stand out as well. So I have created my own phrases and slogans that are meant to tease and interest the eye of the audience through a good amount of playful narratives and playful slogans.



In order to experiment with narratives I was looking at photography and storytelling. I then started to develop some of my initial designs.

Initial Designs and Poster Designs:

For these initial ideas I was looking at the element of mystery and tried to play around with text and narratives. I quite like the mix between typography and photography on a poster so I have tried to see where I can get with this, see if it works. As my theme is Psychogeography I wanted to involve the city a bit more into my work.

Developing designs:

After trying out different approaches, I wanted to keep that element of minimalism of contemporary design with the idea of simple is better so I have focused on playing around with the words a bit more. I came to the conclusion that words in this context are more powerful both visually and conceptually and leave the visuals for later. The approach is that my brand’s colours are black, yellow and white and with this I tried to keep the consistency going throughout all of the work including my app, website and everything else.

So I have designed a few variations of website designs where it includes all the products, software a bit about the brand itself and how it works and the social media section.


iconapp design.jpg




In conclusion this project helped me to develop my branding skills and it was a great experience to have as it was very flexible I had the chance to choose what I wanted to do for the final outcomes.


I think the project went good yet there are parts that I need to improve upon and I think now that I have learned how to come up with a brand identity I will try to apply it to my future project in a more in-depth manner. Also, I believe this branding project in particular thought  me the importance of contextualising all of my practices as there is not good brand that doesn’t communicate or something or interact directly to its audience. I think its critically relevant to make sure that what you design speaks out loud that it makes sense and communicates whatever is there you are trying to communicate as a brand we need to stand out as much as possible by creating the work that really stands out from the crowd.

Object Lifetime – Sustainable Practices

For this seminar we have focused on the the objects lifetime. As part of a group following the week 2 research seminar, we had to put together a Pecha kucha style presentation where we had to talk about different sites that deal with recycling of products and sustainability. Places such as charity shops, Track 2000, Municipal Waste, Jacob’s Market etc…

As a group we have picked a place each, at least 6 together and talked in-depth about how these places operate and why are they good examples of sustainability.

A very interesting fact that Huw also bought along was that “98% of the products are thrown away within 6 months”. It seems like a crazy fact yet is proven to be real and that people do get rid of their products in a way or another. So with this we started to talk about the term, Planned Obsolescence. “Design to fail over a certain length of time”.


Interest in product life span and obsolescence of consumer
durable products was popularised by Vance Packard in his The
Waste Makers in 1964.
Cooper (1994b) identifies the contradiction between ‘consumer’
and ‘durable’ in the term ‘consumer durable’ – which by
definition are intended to be long lasting and resistant to wear
and tear, however, and give rise to disappointment if they fail


Google images

Sustainable Lifetimes Intro

The introduction of Sustainable Lifetimes, started with a group work. We have been asked the question of “What does sustainability mean to us?” then as a group we had to came up with a few examples each.

Then everybody was asked to sort their examples into four general themes, process, ethics, waste and solutions and discuss about our examples.

Once did that, we were asked to group up with the people from the same course and discuss how we can make our practice more sustainable. My group and I were thinking of things such as paper wastage, inks, and the amount of energy used only by us graphic designers while using PC, scanners and printers. So, we came up with a few solutions such as, to improve the sustainability within our practice by trying to use less paper, get involved with organisations that deal with the recycling of inks and papers directly . Create designs that attributes the issue to other junior designers before they had become professionals and followed on our bad un-sustainable habits. Also, the idea of creating work that is mostly paper-free, such as sketch on a computer, reuse old paper and magazines. Base your work on the internet such as app design, web design etc… Yet, some of these are still debatable and we’ve only just come up with a few initial ideas.

Then we have been introduced to different types of obsolescence and the relationship between people and objects and “why do we throw things away?

There are different types of obsolescence:

  1. Component Obsolescence, such as some watches, smartphones and different technology that doesn’t allow you to customise, change or repair the components inside of them.
  2. Technical Obsolescence, as with the time passing some technologies become obsolete as with the new technology and gadgets come out every year which are better and faster the the older versions.
  3. Economic Obsolescence, in some cases is almost smarter, faster and usually more convenient to buy a cheaper item than go and repair an old one.
  4. Psychological Obsolescence, for this type of obsolescence its more like a trend, almost like a fashion where people buy stuff for the seek of keeping up with a certain trend and because its  cool to have the newest model all the time.

So, we have discussed and engaged in discussions about the relationship between people and items and why do people decide to throw things away. However, we have also been given a brief history about the rise of Sustainability.

Today’s lesson has been very interesting as I have learned and understood the importance of sustainable practice and it was a good opportunity for me to engage in group discussions and bring my own ideas to the table. It helped me to understand why we need sustainable practice so much and especially nowadays with the mass-production and waste issues around the globe. As a graphic designer I believe I can use the skills I have learned to try and improve the sustainability by contributing and focus on sustainability within my own practice as well as maybe creating my own sustainable designs.