For our most recent project we looked at Infographics and Data Visualisation. We were told to collect information, possibly data or facts, and present it in an interesting and exciting way. An attractive composition and innovative design will draw attention, and in doing so will make the viewer aware on the potentially dull and boring information you are putting on display. This shows how important visuals are in getting information across.
After brainstorming a few different ideas, I decided to look further into the topic of homelessness. I was inspired to explore this area after a trip to Brick Lane in London. It’s known as a very trendy area, with cool coffee shops and vintage clothing stores, but the borough of Westminster has the highest percentage of rough sleepers in the whole of London, which contrasts with it also having a large number of people with second homes abroad. You could see the poverty and sad truths behind the colour and vibrant street art.
Through my research I found a few artists that have already explored this area such as Kenji Naka Yama and Willie Baronet. I looked at websites for charities such as Shelter, and discovered some distressing facts. These include that there are an estimated 100 million homeless people worldwide, with 3 million of those in Europe. 3% of those sleeping rough served in the armed forces, and in the UK, 53% of those of sleeping on the streets are non-UK nationals.
Many of the infographics I had looked at had been done digitally. I wanted to do something by hand in an almost textile/collage style. I experimented with cardboard as often the signs, held up by those of the streets, are made of cardboard. I was particularly touched by a sign I saw that read ‘have you ever felt invisible before?’. We are all guilty of walking past those who are homeless, looking the other way and ignoring the problem. It’s no surprise that these people, who are at their absolute lowest, feel completely alone and abandoned. This inspired me to create this simple figure of someone sitting cross legged on the floor, with their hood up. They have no face because they have lost the identity they once had and have now become another figure in the worrying statistics that plague this topic.
The four photographs in this post are of my final four infographics, using this repetitive figure. I wanted to make it visually exciting but also relevant to the facts I am educating the audience on. I tried stitching text and pieces of fabric together to put across the idea of rebuilding and repairing; dealing with homelessness as an issue but also in reference to those who only have the clothes on their back – they will have to repair them when they are damaged, because it’s all they have.
It would be interesting to take these designs further, maybe putting them on to fabric or building on the idea of presenting the social issues of today in a innovative and thought provoking way.