VCUQ Social Awareness Campaign Project – Sedentary Lifestyles

// Posted by on 04/11/2013 (2:07 PM)

"Design for social change"

This is a sketch of a possible social campaign on sedentary lifestyle that my design students have created. The caption here is “Don’t blend in with the furniture, you’re not part of it”. I was wondering what you think about how to improve the design in order to make it more effective and your comments on this type of social campaign, knowing that the target audience is students of 18-25 years of age.

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Andrew said...

I think that the campaign is pretty effective, as long as the textual message is clear. It took me a minute to realize what was going on in the images without the description you provided. I think it’d be really effective if you included some incredibly beautiful outdoor shots that can be visible through the windows in each example, while at the same time depicting office and desk life in as many bland, boring ways as possible. Overall, though, it’s a great campaign idea!

// 04/14/2013 at 2:11 pm

VCUQ Social Awareness said...

Thank you Andrew for your comment! I’ll make sure my students get the suggestion. I totally agree with you, and maybe the outdoor could be very colorful, while the indoor environment has only shades of grey. Do you like the caption “Don’t blend in with the furniture, you’re not part of it”? The original idea came out of a TV campaign to encourage people to get out of their chairs. You can see people people on sofas and armchairs trying to play football…with terrible results, obviously!
Here is the link:

// 04/15/2013 at 5:04 am

VCUQ Social Awareness said...

Another question, Andrew. Do you think the location should be more specific to address students 18-25 years of age? Maybe a university hall? A classroom?
In my sociology class I always tell the students that the narrative or message of the campaign has to be tailored around the specific target audience and that their campaign has to reflect the characteristics of their culture, as the idea is “different culture, different values and beliefs, different narrative”.
On this aspects, Qatari culture has made of the sedentary life a mark of distinction for wealthy people, as the wealthiest families have drivers and maids, often eat out and most of the times don’t even get out of the car to get their meals (thanks to the drive through option). Moreover, their sense of hospitality (and the impossibility for the guest to refuse food) has added some more incentives to bad eating habits. The climate is hot year round and being outside is really not an option, unless you want to die of hydration in the span of half an hour. So, if you get the idea, this is definitely a society that would benefit from a culture change toward a more active lifestyle, but it will not be easy, as there are still many resistances to women being active and practicing sports and the general motto seem to be “why should you do something, when you can get someone else doing it for you”.
I would appreciate any feedback or thought on this and on how to make the campaign more “culture aware”.

// 04/15/2013 at 5:20 am

Vicky said...

Like Andrew said I think you need to make the caption clear, because while the illustration is beautiful it is hard to understand the message from the image alone. I do think that if your target audience is students 18-25 years of age you should alter this pictures to better fit your target demographic. Right now this doesn’t really appeal to me as a 21 year old. You say that sedentary life is part of Qatari culture, especially for the wealthy, so what do 18-25 year olds usually do with their time? I know here in the United States 18-25 year olds are usually on the internet (Facebook, twitter, etc.), playing video games, or watching T.V. so if I were to run the campaign here I would incorporate those aspects. So I think you should do the same with Qatari culture. Also Andrew’s idea of posing the colorful outdoors in contrast with the dark grey indoors is great…however as you note it is extremely hot in Qatar and the possibility of people going outside to be active might be limited. Consider appealing to activities they can carry out indoors. Great campaign overall!

// 04/15/2013 at 9:22 am

Celia said...

I love the platform of this campaign, and the illustrations are great. I agree with the comments that have been made – I think that putting colorful outdoor scenery through the windows would be a great way to make the images come alive in a meaningful way. Maybe you could make it specific to Qatar, by using sites/parks/ scenes that people would recognize as ideas for things to do. In trying to reach your audience of 18-25 years old, I think it is important to cater to how those people usually spend their time. As a college student, a lot of time is spent on the computer or watching movies/TV, or inside doing work. Encourage people (through visuals) to move from their desks and be active! This could be working outside (in a shaded area to avoid heat?) or maybe having a lunch outside as a break. I like the caption; I think it is appropriate and relevant. Maybe in the final image, show a student with legs heading outside.

// 04/15/2013 at 11:56 am

Jorien said...

I really like the idea of the campaign, and I agree with the others that you might want to make the environment more suitable for students.. Also, I dont know if it is because of the sketch, but it seems like you could make it a bit more explicit that their legs are a piece of the furniture already because now it seems a little vague still. Maybe put the people in a library, classroom, or cinema to make them suitable for the age group. I really like the caption, the idea seemed clear to me, especially since they do not have a face. Good luck!

// 04/15/2013 at 2:41 pm

Sam said...

I do like the idea-it’s pretty graphic and gets the point across. I also agree with Jorien that the body should be more “morphing” into the furniture rather than sitting on top of it. Could you also add facial expressions that suggest inanimate-ness? Like maybe dark, sunken eyes or something like that…another scene that could work would be putting the human-furniture person next to a group of people doing physical activity and enjoying each other’s company, so that the sedentary person looks left out (only thing is to make sure the ads don’t look like they’re depicting people with physical disabilities)

// 04/15/2013 at 3:13 pm

VCUQ Social Awareness said...

Thanks for the comment! In fact today we had our rehearsal presentation of the projects and some of the comments (one in particular from a colleague Graphic Designer who is helping me with this assignment) were aligned with what you say. The images are now pointing at what doesn’t work (the sedentary lifestyle) but they don’t suggest what the audience should do (be active), so the students are working on changing the caption and including in the poster elements like running shoes or jump suit.
I’ll post the current visual and then next week we will have the final version, I’d like you to let me know what you think about the whole process.
Thanks indeed for your support and feedback! I’ll make sure my students get it!

// 04/16/2013 at 5:06 am

VCUQ Social Awareness said...

Good point! As students analyzed the cultural aspect of sedentary life in Qatar, they identified few elements that are more specific for their society, like laws of hospitality, heat, labor market, which impact negatively people’s lives. So the suggestion we gave to this particular team was to make the images more aligned with this, maybe an indoor scene, with traditional food and a caption that goes with it. On the other hand, the scenarios of sedentary students are universal, I think, and in fact the team has created one version with a computer and another one in front of the TV.
The outdoor option may be less appealing and have less meaning in Qatar, given the climate, as you correctly point out.
I’ll post these pictures soon, for you to take a look at.
Thank you so much for your feedback!

// 04/16/2013 at 5:11 am

VCUQ Social Awareness said...

All great points, thanks Sam! We are working on this already. I’ll post soon the current campaign and next Tuesday the final version of them.
Thanks for the feedback! Really appreciated.

// 04/16/2013 at 5:13 am

VCUQ Social Awareness said...

I think the team is working on using the color to convey the idea of “blending with the furniture”, for instance one of the posters have one person wearing a purple sweater on an purple armchair. You’ll see, I believe the result is pretty impressive, in terms of design.
I’ll post the campaigns as soon as possible.

// 04/16/2013 at 5:15 am

Patrick said...

I really enjoy the idea proposed by the images. I believe that it could be more influential if you added a picture of a class room full of students who all blend into the furniture to show the unchanging and uninspired attitude that these pictures seem to objectify.

// 04/16/2013 at 10:05 am