User Experience
The Problem
As designers, we are too careless, too often selling our creativity to the highest bidder with little thought to the consequences.
At university, one of our second year modules was on consumerism, during which we learnt about its history. The BBC’s documentary “Century of Self” focuses on the founding father of modern-day consumerism, Edwards Bernays, as well as the work of his better known Uncle, Sigmund Freud. It opened my eyes and what it reveals has occupied and driven much of my thinking since.

The documentary revealed to me just how powerful design can be. What we often accept too lightly is the fact that we make a living out of manipulation: our creativity is used to enhance or convey an idea. Although this may on the surface appear to be a fairly vanilla concept, I have found it to be overwhelmingly challenging when it comes to my practice; Who do I want to work with? Am I telling the truth about a product? Do I believe in what I am doing? Does my work add anything positive to society?
The Solution
Subvert the status quo and encourage people to question.
In my response, I felt as though I was taking on a huge task that challenged a lot of what designers do on a daily basis. While I did want to come across as being preachy, I didn't want to shy away from what I saw as the big issues. I therefore went about creating an identity for a secret society, 'Excidus', the name being derived from 'Excitus' - to be summoned, stirred or awakened - and 'Exodus' - a mass movement of people.

Inspired on the strong intrigue and visual motifs of societies like the Illuminati and Freemasons movements, I developed an identity based around and opening eye that refers to the idea of an awakening. Working with a two-tone colour scheme of black and gold, I then went onto develop a series of icons and print materials that would help to disseminate my ideas. This evolved into the design an initiation-like process.

The first step was to create intrigue around 'Excidus' and to do this, I made a business card/calling card that on the front simply had the 'Excidus' graphic, and on the back had the societies tagline 'Control Alter Delete'. Inspired by the common computer command for when things take a turn for the worse.

Secondly, to follow on from the cards, I would released the society's manifesto that goes into detail about the ideas behind 'Excidus', highlighting its philosophy introducing a set of icons and key ideas – 'Ideas are power', 'Raise the alarm' and 'Fix and destroy'. Below is a copy of the manifesto if you would like to find out more about the project.

Following on from the manifesto, I also created a series of further materials that would act as reminders to the members of the challenge we face and the actions they must take. These included metallic stickers, temporary tattoos, a5 manifestos and a handy foldable summary of the cause that could all be hidden in a blacked-out card case.
Download Manifesto
The lesson
Control. Alter. Delete.
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