More than a Helping Hand

A visual representation of research regarding the socioeconomic history of the causes and perpetuation of poverty in America, the social and financial evolution that needs to occur in order to alleviate it, and the introduction of human-centric design for a proposed interdisciplinary solution.

For the final project in an Interdisciplinary Advanced Writing course, we were tasked with working in interdiscplinary groups to create an effective communication piece addressing a problem that impacted all of the group members' disciplines. The team I was assigned consisted of myself (a marketing & design major), an accounting major and a sociology major.

My team and I chose an infographic layout for our final rhetorical piece to help illustrate the intersections of design, social policy and finance for a participatory approach to relieving poverty. We each researched what professionals in our disciplines were doing - or could do - to help alleviate poverty, and then synthesized our results into concise points. As I was the only one with a design background, I was responsible for the creation and design of the final infographic shown below.

Beyond just creating a communication piece, we were also asked to elaborate on why we chose a particular method of communication, how it made sense for the problem we were trying to address, and where the piece would be hypothetically distributed. In terms of distribution, we came up with the idea of this infographic being handed out and hung on the college campuses of developed nations such as the United States and the UK, as well as spread digitally via social media outreach to a Generation-Z-and-younger audience. Our thinking was that we would catch undergraduate and graduate university students prior to, or early on, in their careers and influence them in an educational environment, ideally as part of their curriculum. This idea arose from the research we did on how different disciplines are changing their attitudes about impoverished people – one of the main methods the design discipline was using to instate this change was introducing the concepts and practices of inclusive design and designing for the “Bottom of the Pyramid” during higher education. Students in developed nations have the institutions and resources to follow the paths mentioned in the infographic of helping impoverished people through their current or future projects and careers.

It was because of our decision about our intended audience that we felt an infographic would be most effective in communicating our ideas, as people in this age group are technologically savvy and therefore accustomed to a constant stream of visuals. Information paired with visuals has also proven to help significantly with the retainment of information and even improve audience members’ following of directions by 323%.

  • — category: information design
  • — company: interdisciplinary writing
  • — year: 2019
  • — for: final project