Media & Communications Design

Ethics and packaging design: Marketing of sugary breakfast cereals to South African children

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Media & Communications Design

Child-orientated sugary breakfast cereals are a prominent product feature in the dry goods section of supermarkets. Scholars in health sciences and marketing have reported on these products’ poor nutritional value and how marketers appeal to children through the use of persuasive television advertising and packaging design. This study presents a visual thematic content analysis of child- orientated breakfast cereal packaging available in local supermarkets. The results indicated that South African marketers use “friendly” and “welcoming” cartoon characters as the most prominent graphic element on breakfast cereal packaging.

OgilvyEarth: is this what a future communications agency looks like?

AuthorInstitution
Schaefer, CarmenRed & Yellow

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Media & Communications Design

Viktor Papanek, in his seminal book about ethics and design, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology  and  Social  Change (1971,  revised  1984)  declares  that  designers  share  responsibility  for humankind’s environmental mistakes, by all the products and tools that they have sold and created, either by bad design or by turning a blind eye (1984, p. 56).

The ethics review of visual communication design research proposals: is a 'dual mandate' approach justifiable?

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Media & Communications Design

The majority of institutional ethics committees at South African tertiary institutions state in their standard operating procedures that the role of the ethics committee includes screening proposed research with regard to the core principles of ethics (dignity and autonomy, justice, non-maleficence and beneficence), as well as the scientific validity of the envisaged study.  

The first part of this paper debates to what extent such an approach is justified, as the notion of validity is primarily located in the philosophy of science and not in the field of moral philosophy.  

The second part of the paper illustrates some of the main points of the discussion with selected examples from the field of visual communication design research.

The examples are drawn from

Wicked ethics in Design

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Media & Communications Design

Wicked problems are wicked because, amongst other things, understanding problems as existing in society, at the intersection of many possible points of views held by a variety of potential stakeholders introduces indeterminacy. Ethical frameworks in this context may also be multiple and may exist in harmony or dis-harmony alongside each other.

Framing Complexity: an experience-led approach to designing user research

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Media & Communications Design

Human-Centered Design (HCD) methods have been identified as valuable and effective approaches to designing with and for people, but is also due to complexity and indeterminacy, often difficult to practice. With the popularisation of HCD in contemporary design education, and the subsequent emphasis of human-centered research an ethical question arises as to whether design students are adequately prepared to engage with the type of research that more and more they are expected to conduct.

Re-representation: Addressing objectifying media portrayals of women in South Africa

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Media & Communications Design

Objectification imparts harm to women and sets a detrimental precedent for self-objectification. This is particularly true for young women who are seeking information to assist them in the process of identity construction. Experimental studies indicate that objectification in media causes negative body esteem, an unnecessary drive for thinness, eating disorders and related psychological problems. Globalised media trends emphasise and value women for their physical appearance. These trends de- personalise women, depict them as objects to be gazed at, and style them as decorative, rather than a person with a mind, aptitude, intellect, personality and a ‘voice’.

Exploring design strategies to determine information needs of caregivers

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Media & Communications Design

In this paper, the authors present information needs required by caregivers in a resource-constrained community during their health-education activities with considerations to design ethics. The role of visuals and technology in facilitating health communication, the need to design “with” users and the benefits thereof are discussed.

Non-maleficence as an ethical guideline to design

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Media & Communications Design

South Africa finds itself in the difficult position of not having a truly representative voice for design practice. Furthermore, we find ourselves without an advertising regulator with legislative support or legal force with a view on ensuring ethical and non-harmful design practice. The closest we come to such a body, is our advertising self-regulator, namely the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA).

Supporting a community through design: Melville Johannesburg

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Media & Communications Design

In 2012 the Melville Community Development Organisation (MCDO) approached the Department of Strategic Communications at the University of Johannesburg for a collaboration between the University and the Melville community, with the support of the Melville Residence Association (MRA). These Melville institutions requested groups of Honours students to research and propose a solution for the urban degeneration within the area, as perceived by its businesses, tourists and residents.

A reflexive account of developing community health care material

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Media & Communications Design

Full Title: A reflexive account of developing community health care material through the use of pre-testing methods and visual persuasion techniques

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a congenital syndrome caused by excessive consumption of alcohol by a mother during pregnancy. It is characterized by retardation of mental development and physical growth, particularly of the skull and face of the infant. FAS is a growing problem in South Africa, with it being rife in the townships and rural areas. The lack of public information and intervention is one of the reasons why the syndrome persists in these communities and this was also the motivation for this study.

Introducing De Jong: reflections upon reconstructing the life and practice of a white English-speaking designer

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Media & Communications Design

Jacob  Dlamini,  in  his  seminal  text  ‘Native  nostalgia’  (2010),  confides  that  the  first  time  he  heard  the  term ‘economic  sanctions’  used in the township  was in the early 1980s when he woke up one day to discover the local Barclays Bank had been renamed First National Bank (FNB). Notably, Dlamini continues to list “a bottle store and … the biggest news agent in Katlehong” as signifiers of urban life of Katlehong, but only the bank is recalled by brand. At the time, the re‐branding of Barclays engendered a storm of protest in South Africa, both in design circles, and amongst members of the public.

Visual literacy in community communication: pretesting nutrition education materials for elderly caregivers in Boipatong

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Media & Communications Design

The paper deals with issues and concerns relating to the process of pre-­‐testing visual  illustrations used in educational material in a community communication setting.

The first part of the paper discusses  how selected aspects of nutrition education materials meant for elderly care givers in Boipatong  were pre-­‐tested using questionnaires (n=55) and focus group discussions in order to establish the  target group’s views and opinions about different types of visual illustration approaches. The  information was subsequently used to guide the production of a visually illustrated nutrition  education booklet, which was distributed free of charge in the community as part of a nutrition  education intervention.

Democratising graphic design: the role of human-centred practice within communication design projects

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Media & Communications Design

The paper reports on a number of human-­‐centred design projects completed as part of the  undergraduate  graphic design programme at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT). The value of projects rooted  in participatory design practice and social responsibility is discussed in the context of the  multidisciplinary nature of graphic design and the opportunity provided by the Higher Education  Qualification Framework (HEQF) to re-­‐ design existing programmes at Higher Education Institutions  (HEIs) in South Africa.

Information architecture in design education: developing innovation through structured thinking

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Media & Communications Design

In this paper, we position information architecture design and the thinking skills required for its practice as a practical application of the theory of cyberdesign.

We further suggest that these thinking skills, while commonly applied to digital domains, transcend the digital because, at the cognitive level, the information architect is dealing, first and foremost with indeterminate problems. We describe how information architecture design involves the process of deconstructing dysfunctional formations (problems) and the characteristics of the design applied in the reformulation of parts into a functional reformulation.

Cultural Action for Change: A case for cross-cultural, multidisciplinary collaborations

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Media & Communications Design

Cultural Action for Change began in 2000 as a joining of artists, educators, and student-researchers to assess sustainability and address the impact of HIV within Phumani Paper; a government-funded poverty alleviation program, establishing hand papermaking and craft enterprises across South Africa. Inspired by ideals of empowerment and self-determination, a series of qualitative, Participatory Action Research (PAR) interventions for HIV awareness and action were introduced at six Phumani papermaking workshop sites. Student researchers and participants, with the collaboration of academics from the University of Michigan, were trained in Photovoice methodology to document with photographs and personal narrative the participants‘ struggles for economic independence.

Autoethnography as a research method in design research at Universities

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Media & Communications Design

It is generally accepted that the process of design is "messy" in that the final design "emerges" from an engagement of the designer with a plethora of sources, stimuli, interactions, commission demands, client needs (and wants) and other practices that engage with the problem at hand. By contrast, most definitions of research and research report writing emphasise the notion of a "systematic investigation" leading to a solution of the problem. Furthermore, most research requires the demonstration of so-called "new knowledge." Thus a research report has to (a) demonstrate evidence of some form of systematic thinking, has to (b) present the findings of that systematic thinking, and has to (c) argue the case from this for "new knowledge".

Towards An Educational Strategy For Promoting Social, Environmental And Ethical Awareness In Visual Communications

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Media & Communications Design

Visual Communications at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), incorporating graphic design and photography, aspires to instil social, environmental and ethical sensitivity within students in order to meet a perceived increase in demand for these issues to be addressed at local and global level. To meet this imperative students are required to produce visual communications solutions for charitable organisations and participate in community-linked photographic excursions that expose them to social and environmental issues within real life scenarios.

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