DESIS Shorts

A selection of projects from The Graduation Show at Emily Carr highlighting THEMES AND insights related to Design for Social Innovation for Sustainability (DESIS).

Social Fabric – Experiential Design for Social Anxiety. Social engagement is different for everybody. Master of Design graduate  Xian Luo’s research explored collaboration, acknowledging that people have varying needs when it comes to engaging with one another in the crafting community. Her evocative prototype allows for quiet individual work or group work.

Manteros. DESIS projects can support marginalized communities. Manteros is a service design project to support informal street retail communities in Bogotá, Columbia. Designer Erick Ortiz researched existing laws and government services, then developed a strategic proposal to shift existing legislation in phases so that policies will ultimately support the manteros (informal retailers). The first phase, which works within existing stringent laws, includes a mobile pack for easy setup, display and quick pack-up for evasion.

Earthling. Social engagement is complex. Earthling is an investigation into the pros and cons of several different types of engagement, from social media to real facetime communication. This project assesses types of engagement along the spectrum of: in sync, cue friendly, expected closeness level, likelihood of disclosure, time needed, and ease of use. Designer and researcher Diana Law recommends social media in the right circumstances and for the right reasons, but she reminds us of the important benefits of face-to-face interactions.


“Social Creation, not Consumption….”

Let’s Strip Together is an app by Matthew Pierce that helps people connect on line to to create comics together ‘strip by strip’ in a back-and-forth, reciprocal process. This brings the opportunity of dialogic relationships to a diverse online audience.

Vimgo, by Tiffany Yang, is an app that connects people with similar volunteer interests. It supports individuals to create a volunteering club, input their skills and passions, and embark on relevant projects together. DESIS is, after all, design for social engagement for sustainability.

The Convivial Kitchen. A well designed artifact can foster connectivity. Genevieve Poirier’s modular kitchen table provides a hub for people to gather around a variety of tasks from preparing to sharing food…. and it does all this through a clean and elegant design that allows adaptable heights for prep and eating, along with discrete storage of tools.

“A secret society of blood-letting kindred….”

The 1 Club by MDes Graduate Lucy McGroarty uses design and storytelling to engage type 1 diabetics in community. Type 1 diabetics need a great deal of support. Research proves that engagement with various support communities helps to counter diabetes burnout. This thesis project uses black humour that comes from a deep understanding of the life of the Type 1 diabetic to appeal to individuals who currently don’t understand how the community can be a resource for them.

Industrial design, communication design, interaction design, service design…. any can be DESIS projects if they are supporting new social relationships.