After visiting this year’s exhibition at the Royal College of Art (RCA) for the Service Design course, I came away truly inspired. Listening to the student’s presentations, it was obvious to see just how natural Service Design was to them and their passion for their projects was evident with every word they spoke.
Every student we met delivered enthusiastic ideas and the thought processes behind what they had created; I could have listened to them for hours. Their exhibition stands were equally engaging; fully working tablet applications and websites that from my point of view (as a visual designer) were simply amazing. Background visuals, printed booklets, and complimentary graphics all combined for a truly captivating visit.
Bohyun Han’s ‘mPrepare’ was a project I really enjoyed hearing about. mPrepare is a clinical dashboard for endovascular surgery. As one of the most complicated surgical procedures, endovascular surgery involves many specialists in different disciplines and this dashboard helps manage the complexity of the procedure from start to finish, providing thorough and clear communication on the patient between all specialists at all times.
Lais da Almeida’s ‘The Ladder’ was another project that really caught my attention. Tackling the problem of unemployment, The Ladder is an employability service that matches people’s skills to the needs of their community.
The final deliverables produced complimented this fantastic service too. It consisted of a beautifully designed and constructed table top model community with strategically placed areas where you could place a model persona onto sensors triggering a short animated film. The films played on a counter-sunk tablet screen explaining just how that persona’s life is helped by this amazing service design idea. Clever stuff.
Anna Pöyry and Iban Banzal’s ‘Urban Recipes’ was another interesting idea, exploring how the combination of technology and design could work together to make a city. Anna and Iban opted for Bath, with a view to making it more innovative and appealing to students and start-ups alike. I particularly loved their approach to exploring the needs and demands of Bath’s citizens; good old-fashioned chalk written A-boards situated around bath giving people the opportunity to voice their opinion; incredible work.
Irene Yen-Hsuan Shih’s and Vivienne Heyhoe’s projects were both stand-out pieces. Irene’s ‘Innovating Water’ project that is a sustainable community-based UV-solar water treatment system helping Kenyan schools receive clean healthy drinking water. Vivienne’s ‘Designing for Care’ is a network designed to support the 6 million unpaid UK individuals who care for the ill, disabled and vulnerable.
Two contrasting services that are literally a thousand miles apart from each other, though very similar in the way that at the heart of their ideas, they are about helping people.
Marrion Ferrec and Kate Wakeley’s ‘Disclosed’ project was impressive. Disclosed is a system that provides consumers with clear concise information about products, helping them to make more informed decisions about their purchases. Testing their app and seeing it work for myself was fantastic. The simplicity of design combined with a beautiful use of white space and crisp typography made for a great user experience.
Amy Hye Won Lee’s ‘Energy Seed’ project focused on clean energy becoming a reality, inspiring energy sharing within communities; a simple but awesome idea. Amy’s energy for her work, pardon the pun, was marvellous.
It was humbling to see the level of work created by the guys and girls at the RCA. Their attention to detail mixed with real creative vision and service ideas that will change people’s lives for the better was truly amazing. Echoing my opening paragraph, I came away inspired!