Monday, 8 March 2010

Designing Out Crime

Something that particularly interests me is the way in which context, design and crime all intersect with one another so while reading through the Design Council website I came across a selection of case studies specialising in this topic.

Last semester when we had to undertake an investigation into a chapter from the Tipping Point, I chose the Power of Context, understanding some of the key ideas surrounding the topic. Talking about how things in our environment affect our behaviour due to social circumstances, upbringing, personality, etc I was interested in the way in which we are all subconsciously influenced. Looking at lots of different examples of crime prevention while researching this area, it was clear that only some designers were using their skills to address the problems, with some designers listening to people more than others. By designing something that was beneficial to them, many people are beginning to heed their advice.

Recently in one of our assignments I studied the power text can have on an individual - something that designers are using to publicise the dangers of crime to society. Images have a very powerful affect on us, proving we are very susceptible to some more than others. Graphic Designers are tapping into what we are most responsive to and are trying heighten the awareness we have of crime and some of the dangers attached to certain aspects of our everyday life, e.g. listening to our iPod. I am guilty of this, relying heavily on music I would hate to count the amount of hours a week I listen to it and although I am aware of crime I have never really thought that I would be a victim of it. Using images that we associate with crime RKCR/Y&R has use the colours black and yellow, triggering for most the image of the police tape, trying to warm naive people like me that crimes like this do occur.

RKCR/Y&R crime campaign

Using this image, I tried a small experiment removing the text to see whether the colours used were helpful. These posters are no doubt placed largely in public spaces, with most people only glimpsing at the poster and not really slowing to read what the it says, it is important that the message RKCR/Y&R are trying to portray is the message that we actually interpret. Sure enough the people that I asked were able to derive the message that the poster was about crime and iPod's, a test which RKCR/Y&R clearly would have had to carry out themselves.

Manilla Mac

Gaining inspiration from an advert Apple used to advertise the Apple MacBook Air, Manilla Mac created a laptop case that looked just like a document folder. When carrying this case suspicions wouldn't be aroused as to what was in the 'folder', disguising what could spur others on to commiting a crime. (Obviously you would need a laptop slim enough into fit the case!)

Although it is important to remember that we as designers won't be able to solve crime completely, we can all aim to try and help create spaces, services and products less vulnerable by creating innovative solutions.

With thanks:

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