First things First Lecture 

I was ecstatic for today’s lecture, after reading the ‘first things first’ manifesto, doing research, reflecting and asking questions of myself I was really interested/excited to see where this lecture was going to take me, what things I would learn and how eye-opening the experience would be, it did not disappoint; It was a great lecture to be a part of and I only wish we had longer on the brief to extend more, but overall I did gain the concept of sustainable design and how it could be introduced into my practice in future projects. I can only thank Neal for the experience and for allowing me to be part of his research.

Talk reflection

Neal’s talk was very insightful and has impacted me more than I could imagine like he said “today is an important day” which confused me but further talks compelled me to believe that statement. Not only did his talk show me what the world of graphic design is pushing towards, it inspired me to look inwards and consider the real impact I could have on the working world and my future career, it’s the here and now that I can reflect on and decide what route I want my career path to go down, this is what compelled me to Neal’s earlier statement.

Moving forward I learnt how that in fact, design is pushing towards sustainability which is a step up from before, it’s more responsible, it’s more thought out, it’s no longer just design and then chucking it away; it’s taking responsibility for your design, creating something sustainable, that it can be built on and become everlasting. Graphic design has turned  back to communicate rather than demanding, which reflecting further into the ‘First thing’s first’ manifesto I can now see where Ken Garland is coming from, Instead of designing for consumerism, his giving back the design to the people, to communicate, giving them the choice and giving power to them.


In groups of 4–5, you are asked using your research and reflection surrounding the First Things First manifestos, to develop a piece of design work that promotes and provokes the design community to take responsibility for the work that they put out into the world.

It could be a poster, a banner, a short video, an animation, an installation etc. The piece of work can be hand-made or digital, but the outcome must be digitised for your presentations at 3:00 pm (photograph of an installation).

It must relate to your own personal observations and perceptions of the role of Graphic Communication in shaping the future – and the discipline’s place in the world in incentivising change for good.

My group consisted of five members, myself, George, Callum, Dan and Simeon, I thought this was going to be a strong partnership due to our comfort and that we all could chuck ideas out without no regard; I also feel that Dan and George are quite creative with thinking outside the box and it was great to see them chucking out ideas, it also worked well with Callum and Simeon who then made the ideas more achievable, which made it a great combination. Following Neil’s design process, we considered what we want from our design and what impact we want it to have in the working world, so taking this into consideration, we were aiming to create a campaign to gain more awareness for the ‘first things first’ manifesto. The reasons why, upon reading and reflecting on the manifesto, it was so eye-opening and allowed us to question our career before hand and we would never have known this if it wasn’t for Neil’s lecture. We wanted to gain more awareness on the manifesto and make young designers look inwards at themselves and ask the question earlier for them and the graphic design future.

Moving forward with this idea, we started to brainstorm, chucking out anything that came into our heads and writing it down on a piece of paper. We had many ideas and generated many words linking to consumerism, people and the design industry in which after analysing we took the stronger ideas/words into our mind-mapping session which started to bring out some very strong ideas and concepts that we could work with the brief. We decided to go with the idea of consumerism and graphic designers supporting consumerism by designing for these products. The idea was to target younger designers moving into their career from education and give them a question that they could find an answer to, by making a link to the ‘first things first’ manifesto and hopefully doing so allowed them to read, reflect and question what they actually want to achieve in their future careers. We moved onto creating concepts, then a design and this is what we managed to create in the 3 hour period we had.


This is the design in a poster and sticker format, as you can see it is subtle and not in your face, it’s just asking you a question and by doing so it creates curiosity, it attracts the viewers to the poster and the design. Walking through the design, the barcode in the design is a symbol of consumerism, but it’s not the only function it has, it can be scanned like a normal barcode linking  to the full ‘first things first’ manifesto, so it allows the viewer to interact with the design, which leading on shows how we have to consider the viewer, we gave them the power by putting the information there, it’s their choice to take it further, by this method we hoped that people would not just see the design and than forget about it,  but that they can take it further, come back to something, keep them thinking, consider the idea of our campaign and therefore think what path they want to take their future career. The whole idea was just simply to show the link between our campaign and the manifesto. Moving onto the question ‘ARE YOU JUST ANOTHER DESIGNER?’ (typeface – Helvetica), the aim was to ask the viewer a question and attract them by finding a answer, its a tool to gain the initial attraction by reading into the question we are asking do they want to be another designer who designs for consumerism, so the word ‘JUST’ makes them seem just like a cliquey, by using this we hope that the viewer wants to know further why they potentially could be ‘JUST ANOTHER DESIGNER’ and explore more, that’s the reasoning behind putting the barcode in the middle of the question it allows the viewer to venture more. Finally the colour pallet of just white and black, its cheaper in production, it’s easier for the viewer to process as they walk by and it creates a more meaningful message, shows its a more serious matter.

How could it be further developed?

The design could be developed not only to link to the manifesto, it could link to a full website/app showing new projects, events, exhibits, courses, work that is created in the everyday working world, so that it allows the design to be sustainable that it wasn’t created to be chucked away, it can be built on, having more meaning to the viewer, the future of the campaign and ‘first things first’ manifesto, which I think we did grab the concept of sustainable design.

 Reflection on lecture

This lecture was really enjoyable and has taught me something that I will carry with me throughout my design career, I felt learning the ‘first things first’ manifesto helped me to realise what I really want to achieve in my future career, I also experienced the new concept of sustainable design, which was more eye opening to me due to the expert level it takes, it’s no longer about designing and chucking away, it’s all about designing to be stainable, something that can work in a working world, something designed for the future. I think that learning this concept has allowed me to venture into something new and realise there always more than one way to design, I also really enjoyed the thought of designing for people this time round, to consider what they thought, how I would like them to react and how to go about achieving this, the new design process was great to explore starting at the very end never thought of that way before and is something I will defiantly consider in every project to come. Creating designs in this concept was challenging at first but got easier as we moved forward, I was very happy with the design/concept me and my group managed to produce and really did relate back to the brief, as well being happy with our design. I did feel that another group did have a strong concept and was very nice to see, I believe their concept was to take a brand and rip back the label that you can actually see what impact that brand had on the working world around them so people had the choice to see the information and act upon it, again allowing people to have a choice and power, which reflecting on was a very strong concept and enjoyed viewing the idea. To extend the concept/design they could have done a more interactive piece by actually having a section to rip back and unearth the actual effect that the company had on the working world-to extend on that, this would make the design more playful and allow the viewer to interact and retain more of the information. Experiencing this lecture/brief was truly inspiring for me, and believe that a wider range of students could benefit from this type of lecture who are hoping to journey into the world of design, as it was a beneficial activity to help identify potential career paths.


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