Cycling brings many different things to society; how can design tell the story of its diversity and cultural value beyond the stereotypes associated with it?
Aim and Objective
This project has cycling at its centre and the changes that cycling can bring. The aim is to break down the generalised perception of cycling and cyclists and show that it’s not only about fitness, fashion, fads, but people and what they believe in and the struggles they face.
To show through different stories how cycling benefits communities and causes by bringing people together, building confidence and friendships, or delivering a feeling of independence and release, a way to escape or change a situation. To get the full effect of the difference cycling can really make, you need to feel it; you need to connect.
The outcome is a set of haptic rooms forming an experiential exhibition where graphic design, image, light, sound and smells are layered to recreate different circumstances. The exhibition aims to heighten the senses required to understand unfamiliar situations and conditions faced by cyclists. The concept shows extremes, each room has its own story and a means for visitors to connect with that story and take it home.
Think beyond an exhibition stand – look at using an entire room; floor, ceiling, walls. Make the visitor climb up, lie down, squeeze through spaces—change temperatures and atmospheres; noise, silence, oppression, reaction. Visitors get to feel what it is like to have the adrenaline rush brought on by a long winding descent in the summer air, the heightened senses from inside a protesting crowd, the cold, the heat, the pressures, the sounds, all coming together.
Interaction: Touch-screens, lighting that tracks your movement, exhibits to push through and pull out of the way to enter the room and others to tear and collect into guides to build up an individual scrapbook of events.
Scale: Oversized objects represent the value of the bicycle and the story being told. A change of scale can make things overwhelming and strengthen a message; it can emphasise its importance, whether it is an object, an image or a typographic display – they have the same effect.
Sound and light: What is the effect of different lighting? Combine interactive sounds, visuals, lighting and music to create a feeling. Then change the soundtrack, increase the volume or interrupt the rhythm. Combine the lighting with the sound of the police and voices distorted through a loudhailer; what feelings would follow?
Visual: Each room is different in terms of aesthetics, content and structure but ties into an underlying visual identity connecting everything into a singular event; literature, publicity, exhibition guides and wayfinding. Each room has its own guide for visitors to pick up; colours clearly identify each room.
The interactivity of the rooms is extended through the print, guides and replica artefacts; protest placards, photos, stickers, badges, statements and personal stories. Building up scrapbooks of the exhibition by adding these messages and artefacts means that the visitors complete the guides. The layout structure means there’s no right or wrong way to fill them; the items aren’t numbered like a football album, and there are no captions to follow. It’s not a National Trust treasure hunt. The replica content is there to pick up from the rooms all around the exhibition space.
How has your practice developed while studying the MA in Graphic Design with a global cohort?
The global cohort brings different cultures together. They may only be slight differences, but being exposed to them and other ways of thinking and working helped me experience and develop a more comprehensive design approach beyond the usual confines of my studio.
The structure of this MA means you have to step up, and through it, I have rediscovered the value of collaboration, research and discussion, bringing me even more ways to improve my practice.