February 2007

Guiding Principles of Sustainable Design. A nice little publication from the National Park Service, circa 1994.
>  26 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
Not IT my name. Last week, the Premier and Culture Minister of Italy launched a new logo and campaign to promote the country as a brand in areas like tourism. (See a video of the launch in streaming Quicktime, Italian.) Following an outraged thread of comments on its blog, Social Design Zine, another social design blog and a project of the Italian Association of Graphic Designers, is organizing a protest along with the magazine Progetto Grafico and the studios Ministero della Grafica. Nearly a thousand Italian graphic designers have signed a petition asking the government to rethink the effort.
>  25 February 2007 | LINK
A Radical Apple Map. 14 points of radical New York City history around the East Village, plotted using the More Accessible Map CSS technique.
>  25 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
Radiation Warning. The International Atomic Energy Agency has published a new symbol warning of the dangers of radioactivity to supplement the current trefoil warning symbol. The new symbol provide a more narrative context to the existing abstract mark and was tested for comprehension before a wide-range of focus groups around the world.

Radioactive Warning

(Thanks Romualdo!)
>  22 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in
Guerilla Gardening. Illicit, nocturnal gardening in public space. A blog of projects, mostly in London, each described with a blurb, location, photos, and budget. Includes tips for making your own.
>  22 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
Shared Phone Practices. Results of a field study into shared use of mobile phones in Uganda. “[In] places like India and Africa and for many new consumers their first mobile phone experience is a shared one.... What happens when people share an object that is inherently designed for personal use? And based on how and why people share in what ways can devices and services be redesigned to optimise the shared user experiences?”
>  22 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in
New York City Local Law 86. Passed in October 2005, New York City Local Law 86 became effective on January 1, 2007. It requires all new construction using $2 million or more of city funds to meet sustainability standards that are at least as strict as LEED silver. An unhappy consequence is that it just got even more expensive for affordable housing developers. (Though some are finding ways of greening without going LEED.)
>  18 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,

Paving the Clouds

UNESCO regonition seems to carry a heavy burden of opportunity.

La HuastecaLa Huasteca canyon, an ecological park in Cumbres de Monterrey National Park in north-eastern Mexico, may soon become part of a high-end residential development and golf course.

Last October, the municipality of Santa Catarina approved a 900 million dollar project to build more than 9,000 housing units and a 27-tee golf course in this place. Just a few days earlier it had been made part of a UNESCO biosphere network. Monterrey will also host the second Universal Forum of Cultures in 2007.

La Huasteca is a frequented family outing, camping and climbing site. One third of the drinking-water in Monterrey (pop. 3.7 million) comes from La Huasteca. There are over a thousand species in the area, seventy-three of which are endagered. See photos here.

The state and federal governments have pretty much washed their hands off the issue while local politicians, including a brother of the Governor, own part of the land.

Media coverage and activists have forced the new municipal authorities to claim they would freeze the project for at least three years, but they are now hinting they could give it the go-ahead this week.

Two activist websites are lahuasteca.org and voluntariosgreenpeace-mty.blogspot.com. Subcomandante Marcos shows his support to activists in this audio file.

See La Huasteca at Flickr, or read about it in Crain’s and La Jornada

>  18 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Visualising Issues in Pharmacy. From April through June, the Omnium Project at the University of New South Wales, Australia is hosting a virtual collaboration to promote public health in Kenya. “Over 50 pharmacy students and 50 design students will join forces for three months, with project convenors, teachers and special guests worldwide, to work collaboratively [online]. Pharmacy students will participate in online discussions and forums to produce in-depth research papers on the specific health related issues. On completion of their research reports, they will then brief the graphic design students to create visual health awareness campaigns for use in the Nyanza province of Kenya.” Applications for design students close mid-April 2007.
>  14 February 2007 | LINK


The opposite of shoplifting, shopdropping is covertly placing merchandise on display in retail environments.

For instance, Banksy altering the Paris Hilton debut album and leaving it at the record store to critique and politicize its message, or the Barbie Liberation Organization swapping the voice hardware of Teen Talk Barbie and the Talking Duke G.I. Joe doll and returning the dolls to the shelves. (Instructions here.)

Coke LaborA new project from the Anti-Advertising Agency is PeopleProducts123. From the Web site you can download PDFs of new packaging for products, print them out, color them in, and place them in your local store. The improved packaging featuring images and stories about the workers who make them. 

Participants are encouraged to upload their images to Flickr, tagged peopleproducts123. See a video about the project here.

>  14 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
Testing cigarette warning labels. Keep it graphic and change it often. “In a multi-country study published in the March 2007 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers found that more prominent text messages were more effective and graphic pictures even more so in affecting smokers’ behaviors. Recent changes in health warnings were also associated with increased effectiveness, while health warnings on US packages, which were last updated in 1984, were associated with the least effectiveness.”

The published study, “Text and Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packages Findings from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Study,” is available as a 2.4MB PDF from researcher David Hammond’s site.
Tobacco Warning Table
>  14 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
Yellow Card. “This magnet was tossed onto your car by a cyclist who felt that you might have been driving in a way that could have endangered their life.” (via)
Yellow Card
>  12 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in
India's National Design Policy. This week the Government of India approved a policy and action plan to encourage design innovation and education, to foster industry, large and small, as well as traditional knowledge, and to establish a Design Council. Dori's Moblog touches briefly on the potential impact of the policy on African and other developing nations.
>  11 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,

On to March.
Back to January.