Help needed with a graphic design essay - please!!


New Member
Hi Everyone,

I need help with an essay I'm writing for my course

I'm set on writing about the importance of graphic design in emergency situations. Looking maybe into disasters such as the Dusseldorf Airport incident for which poor signage was to blame and/or WW 2 propaganda and the influence it had on the war and people.

I'm having trouble with structuring my essay and finding a good focal point with cohesive argument. I would really appreciate it if you guys could help with possible discussion points, potential arguments, ANY ADVICE would be useful to me.

Thank you so much in advance for reading my thread.

Hmm... Quite a difficult brief for an essay...

I'm no expert but when I first read the brief you just gave I instantly thought of visual signs we use in our every day lives which warn people or even give instructions to the public which could result in life or death. For example, the toxic signs on chemicals, the warning signs we get on roads when we're driving insuring we proceed with caution. All these signs are labelled and done in a consistent way that even someone who does not speak the primary language where they're situated - they can still get the gist of the situation.

For example, when I first moved to Thailand, I could not speak the language. Therefore I was constantly looking for visual signs/symbols which would give me clarity as to whether it was safe or not.

People from all over the world understand that a skull & crossbones sign is a symbol of death - therefore we all have a common understanding of that sign.

I know that this isn't very detailed and probably isn't enough for an essay but that was the first thing that came to my head...
It sure is a tough brief but I think Cassie is on the right lines here. Humans have a natural and instinctive ability for pattern recognition, it has been crucial for our evolution and has been in existence for thousands of years. Just think of the way different cultures interpret star patterns in to constellations. This same ability carries over in to signs, symbols and colour selection (red is danger, green is good).

Maybe a discussion point is to cover the fact that there are things like this which are recognised universally and do not require you to be fluent in a certain language or to have a deep understanding of a unique culture. In an emergency, what will people look for to escape from a building, or as a means of seeking help? Everything from the design of a "Fire Exit" sign to the unique font created especially for road signs in the UK to make them clearer.