Communications Studio: Project 2

Joo Hee Kim
Mar 28, 2017 · 14 min read

Day 1: 3/28/17

Brainstorming + Visualization Exercise

Since the topic of “well being” is too broad, we narrowed it down to “sleep”. Between other subjects of well being, we felt like sleep is the most relevant to CMU students and our lives as well.

We first started by defining our target audience of our system. We mainly wanted to target college student, specifically CMU students because they have the most problems with sleep. After, we reflected on our topic and thought about what we want to promote. We mainly wanted to make our target audience aware of the problems with irregular sleeping patterns. We found that most students, especially CMU students, are too busy to sleep, or prioritize work over sleep. Also, sleeping early is commonly considered a waste of time or frowned upon by college students. Another interesting thing that Kailin mentioned is that out of social life, school and sleep, college students can only do two out of the three. So with our topic, we want to promote good sleeping habits and help people to value sleep also.

Contemplative (left), Experimental (middle), Uplifting (right)

During class, we did a visualization exercise where we abstractly tried to represent different adjectives that were given to us as a class. It was interesting to see the range of ideas and interpretations that my classmates had with the same adjectives. We talked about different visual variables that represented different connotations, like color, value, and form.

Day 2: 3/30/17

More Visualization + Addressing the Problem

Left: My adjectives, Right: Kailin’s adjectives, Black: Our guesses, Red: What it actually represents

On Wednesday, Kailin and I took the time to make our own adjectives that describe sleep individually, and visualize them abstractly without the other knowing. I kind of expected that we’d have the same relaxing, calming adjectives, so I tried to veer from that to try and grasp different perspectives people could have of sleep. It was really interesting how we both used cool, transparent colors and flowy, curvy textures to represent our words. We also had the same words: personal, relaxing/calming and healing/health. But we also had very different words, like Kailin thought sleep was secure while I thought it could also be stressful and lonely.

During class, we got into our pairs and talked about how to take our project further. As we talked, Kailin and I found that there was a problem in promoting our topic of sleep. How can we get students to change their mindsets about sleep? From our personal experiences, we found that a lot of students know that sleep is valuable and that it’s crucial to have enough sleep, but we never try to get more sleep. After talking to Stacie, she asked us what would make us personally sleep more? What would get us to act to sleep more? Kailin stated that she wouldn’t change unless there was a traumatic health consequence that resulted from not having enough sleep. I stated that if there was no social pressure into having to be busy and doing stuff, I would try to get more sleep.

Society has a mindset that you must be busy because that means you’re productive, so as a result, you must have less sleep. If you sleep more, that means you’re not busy, so as a result you’re seen as lazy. Because of this mindset, a lot of college students force themselves to be busier, which means sleep does not become a priority. Because of this, to get people to actually act towards getting more sleep, we would have to implement a culture change, or mindset change. One way could be to visualize the outcome of sleep. How does it feel after a good amount of sleep? How does it feel after a lack of sleep?

To get specific answers and a genuine perspective of college students, we decided to take interviews and surveys of CMU students over the weekend. Also, we need to tackle the obstacles we’re facing and how to address them.

Interview/survey Questions

Day 3: 4/4/17

In Depth Research

Survey Results

We spread our surveys out to other students and got 19 responses. We found that we shouldn’t have asked how much people sleep on average per day because people could be getting irregular sleep, and averaging that would be inaccurate. Although the majority said that they are sleeping 6–7+ hours per day, more than 50% said that they feel like they weren’t getting enough sleep and more than 70% report that the people around them affect their sleeping habits. Also, 2 out of 19 responses states that sleep is their number one priority, and other stated either school or social life. For people who put social life first, sleep was always last.

We also interviewed 6 people in person and found that a lot of them knew that sleep was important but still didn’t sleep enough because work is more important. They explained that the amount of work is set, and if it’s not done then their grades would be affected. Sacrificing sleep is easier and does not have immediate consequences, so people decide to lose sleep over work.

Insights we gathered

From these insights that we gathered, Kailin and I believe that to change people’s behavior, we need to get people to reflect on their negative behaviors, or show people the negative consequences of not getting enough sleep.

For next class, we decided we need to churn out basic ideas for each piece (physical, environment, and digital).

Day 4: 4/6/17

I searched for different inspirations to get some ideas going. After searching up different kinds of guerrilla artwork, Kailin and I found this type of art work was very intriguing and powerful, which is what we wanted for our pieces. We also wanted to have people have some kind of interaction with our pieces, because people tend to reflect best when they actually do things and they would be able to see what other people have done also.

We also tried to develop ideas for our catches, validation and call to actions. All of our validations were research that we found online. For our catches and call to actions, we tried to make it seem witty so that it would catch the attention of our audiences.

Some catches, validation, call to action

We decided to prototype our own ideas separately, so that we can come together with a bunch of ideas. I tried to make some posters with the catches that we made. I found that a lot of the guerrilla posters contained content that was very powerful, which is what I wanted to show with my posters.

Top: Rough posters; Middle: mood marks; Bottom: inspiration

After we came together and saw each other’s works, we decided we really like the mood marks that Kailin made, and decided that we should use them to show a trend. We decided on an idea which was to have a board with a question prompt where students put mood marks on, so that people will see the trend of moods among other students as well.

For next class, we need to think about our environments and digital piece. We also need to refine our physical piece a bit more and think more about our catches, validation and call to action.

Day 5: 4/11/17

Over the weekend, we started to refine our physical piece. We first brainstormed the different problems we need to tackle with this piece, and what this piece needs.

Brainstorm for physical piece and digital piece

The main problems we need to address is what the students are going to put the stickers onto and the message that they are going to take away from this. So we decided that we should make a board that has the range of hours of sleep and ask students to mark their mood to the corresponding amount of hours they slept the night before.

We also briefly brainstormed ideas for our environment and digital pieces. For our digital, we decided to make an app where you input the number of hours you slept the night before and it would output the consequences or benefits of sleeping the amount of hours you inputed.

Environments piece ideas list

Out of all the environments ideas we generated, we liked the idea of having a blanket attached to a wall with our catch, validation and call to action on it, and students would go behind the blanket and would be able to take a picture with it. Since it’s a very basic idea, we still need to refine it further.

Critique: After talking with Stacie, we found that we need more reasoning behind our physical pieces. What are the students going to take away from doing this? Also, from other students, we got the critique that it seems more like a research method rather than an actual visual piece. We need to think more about what we want to promote, and how we’re going to promote it. To do this, Stacie suggested that we really nail down our catches, validation and call to action so that we know exactly what we want to promote and how we’re going to do it.

After talking with Stacie, I found that changing behaviors of people is actually a very difficult task to do, especially with this project. Changing attitudes and behaviors of people take years to do, and with the depth of this project, we decided that it’s impossible to try and solve the problem of lack of sleep in students. Instead, we should just try to get people to be aware that they should be getting more sleep, instead of forcing them to get more sleep. So we changed our catches, validation and call to actions to more subtle, positive messages compared to our previous ones, which were more powerful and somewhat negative.

Under the topic of “Raise Awareness for More Sleep”, we generated better catches, validations and call to actions.

Day 6: 4/13/17

Group Critiques

After thinking about ways to get people to reflect on sleep and promote awareness, we decided on a sleep calendar. The textures on the mood marks gained a lot of positive reactions, and we also wanted to keep this visual style, so we decided to keep this. Instead of the textures representing moods, we decided to make them represent the amount of hours of sleep one gets. The textures with reds in them represented 4 or less hours of sleep and the textures with more blues and greens represented 5 or more hours of sleep. Then, on a calendar, they would put the corresponding number of hours each day. This would create a visual trend at the end of the month, and makes people reflect on the amount of sleep that they got. It also creates an interesting interaction in that people will be able to create their own textures, which would make the action more intriguing. I started creating the calendar posters. I added the graphic in the back and color in the background because I wanted the poster to still look visually intriguing even without the stickers.

Calendar Iterations

Our environment and digital pieces stayed relatively the same, since we worked on refining our physical pieces.

During our group critiques, we received positive reactions on our physical pieces. But for the visual style of the poster, it was suggested that we keep the poster fairly empty, so that the stickers can really stand out. Also, we need to think about the hierarchy of the text.

Regarding our environment, we got the suggestion to include the dream state that we have going on on our textures into our environment. This would create a consistent visual vocabulary between our pieces and would make a better appeal to our audience.

For next class, we need to work on refining our environment and digital pieces even further, and need to work on our visual vocabulary.

Day 7: 4/18/17


Today, we had a semi-formal presentation on how far we have gotten with the project. During the weekend, we worked to refine our environment and digital pieces more.

Physical: We made our calendars much more simple, but we could not decide on the background color. I also feel like the calendar is too simple, and there needs to still be somewhat of a visual appeal even without the stickers. Kailin worked on getting the stickers set.

Physical Concept

Environment: We decided to have a blanket that has the texture and our catch, validation and call to action printed on it. Then, the person will take graphic elements that represent dreams and create their own dream. They will lie on their creation, take a picture and spread it on social media so that they would essentially spread positive sleep culture.

Environment Concept

Digital: We decided to drop our previous idea and go with a push notification. People would input their schedules into a calendar and the app will calculate the times that they would be able to sleep and how much sleep they would be able to get that day. This would help people be aware of the amount of sleep that they would get and be mindful of their work and sleep balance.

Digital Concept
Catch/Validation/Call to Action

After the presentation, we got a lot of good feedback.

Many questioned our environment and digital pieces. One big problem with our environment piece was that people didn’t understand how creating a dream state would promote good sleeping habits. For the digital, many said that the push notifications was not enough because people tend to ignore push notifications on a daily basis. How can we make it more intriguing so that people will actually want to look at it? How can we get our environment piece to make people want to do it, but also promote good sleep culture at the same time?

Day 8: 4/20/17

Physical: We made more iterations of our calendar pieces and we tried to focus on typographical hierarchy the most this time. We also tried to play with the background colors. We also changed the typography from Avenir to Bell Gothic. We tried many different types and found that Bell Gothic was the best fit because it seemed the most simple and quiet.

Different iterations with and without stickers. Play with some typographical hierarchy

Digital: To make our push notifications more intriguing, we decided to put use our textures in our push notifications so that when the notifications pop up, it will be eye catching and it’ll make people look at it and want to click on it. We also decided to make it a feature on the already existing Apple Calendar App because then people won’t have to download a separate app and it’ll already be on their phone to use.

After looking at all the iterations, we felt like the white background was the best fit for our calendar because it seemed the most clean and simple. Black felt too “scary” according to our other classmates and I also felt like it was too heavy.

After talking with Andrew, we found that currently, if we were to make a real app, push notifications for iOS are not customizable and there are preset settings for them. However, since we’re making a prototype on invision, we could just make up our own notification, which is what we decided to do.

Day 9: 4/25/17

Physical: We made more iterations with the white background. I also decided to put some sort of color in the text so that even without the stickers or with little stickers, the calendar would still look somewhat visually appealing. I also played with placement.

Environment: We decided to change the graphic element to textured blankets. Each textured blanket would have an adjective that corresponds with it and the person would choose their adjectives and make their own textured background that they would then take a picture with and put it on social media. We haven’t decided on a prompt yet but we feel this idea is better because it’ll fit our visual vocabulary and it’ll make people reflect on their feelings about sleep as they choose their adjectives.

Digital: We added the textures to the notifications and feel it works better than our previous iteration.

Day 10: 4/27/17

Letterpress Workshop with Joe

Tedious but fun time setting type

Day 11: 5/2/17


  • Actual mock up of calendar with cardboard background
  • Cover designs
  • More guidelines for calendar
  • Working Invision prototype
First prototype of calendar with stickers

Things We’d Like to Add/Fix:

  • Pockets for stickers instead of post-its for cleaner look
  • Attaching sticker pockets on the bottom of the calendar instead of the side
  • Better calendar cover designs
  • Add instructions and catch/validation/call to action for the environment piece
Instructions we’d like to add for the environments piece

To Do:

  • Better mock up calendar with pockets
  • Using even increments and calculating measurements for the calendar
  • Print stickers on sticker paper
  • Add lock screen push notifications on digital prototype
  • Laser cut thought bubble chalkboard

Day 12: 5/4/17


  • First full prototype of calendar with pockets and stickers
  • Instructions/catch
  • Rough prototype of the environment piece
  • Digital prototype with lock screen push notifications


  • Calendar: revise type details
  • Calendar: maybe have more of positive stickers so that we could push the people to use more of the positive than the negative?
  • Environment: Texture cloth should be bigger, maybe just one per person. This should go behind the person when lying down and they should have a blanket that goes over them (doesn’t have to go with the texture) to mock sleeping state.
  • Environment: Type on instructions/catch
  • Digital: revise type details (hierarchy)

To Do:

  • Buy materials for environment
  • Revise type overall
  • Make final prototype of calendar

Day 13: 5/9/17

Final Show!!

Our setup
People trying out our environment piece