GETTING PEOPLE CURIOUS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY
During the Winter of 2018, I worked with the TELUS Spark to put together a display on solar PV energy in Canada. The display was to accompany the Talking Climate in Alberta event, which featured Katharine Hayhoe and George Marshall discussing how to talk about climate change. As an Information Designer, I helped plan out what information should be on the display, as well as producing those visual materials. The entire project was done within a month, and involved numerous pilot tests before the display was finalized. Our effort was intended to make people think about solar photovoltaic (PV) energy, and hopefully discuss it with their friends and family. I put together two, 2' x 6' graphically designed displays for the project, which you can see below. The displays were slightly modified for the event, and were planned to stay up for a little over a month.
Display Side One
For many Albertans, solar PV energy production is typically seen more as a novelty than a significant energy source due to the oil and gas presence in the province. The point of this project was not to change people's opinions necessarily, but rather to get people critically thinking about solar PV energy. By making people curious, they are more likely to take part in the discussions regarding renewable and clean energy sources.
Display Side Two
There were constant pilot tests done with the designs to see how well people reacted to the data visualized. Some of the original designs relied on photography juxtaposed with text to make it more immediately apparent what the subject matter was. Some early designs simply had minor mistakes in the wording or presentation of the data, which was a consequence of only having several weeks for the design phase. Since we only had a month to put the entire display together, these tests were extremely valuable for designs that had to be quickly put together.
Although the display reflects graphic design work, a significant amount of the effort was figuring out what information to display. This involved using research by numerous credible government organizations and associations to first see what information they highlighted. Then we discussed what information is necessary to make people think about solar PV energy in Canada, and began putting together visual mockups to get feedback. The final display provides a simple, educational experience for readers, which only requires a few minutes to read through the information.
This was a relatively unique project for me, as most of the process steps I took were actually overlapped. The overview I provided is a much more simple explanation of this project than my own experience working through it. I worked on this project while finishing up my undergraduate degree, and had to balance academic projects on top of proper research, design, and editing for this display.