A book visualizing current gun culture in the United States by Tina Mukherjee. A nice example of data visualization.
“A collaborative poster conversation” started after the Newtown shooting to allow designers and members to contribute messages related to gun violence through creative visuals that add to this conversation.
Apart from being a compelling set of visuals, these examples are beneficial in terms of my individual project as a basis for how other designers are thinking about and visualizing the topic of guns and gun violence,.
Based on other public health campaigns, I began to develop ideas for gun safety promotions. Some ideas I explored were:
-Making a gun/shape out of different things (hospital bracelets, hundred dollar bills, etc.)
-Comparing gun statistics to other events (this many die a year…as opposed to 9/11, war, etc,)
-Comparing guns with seat-belts and other things that we use to keep us safe)
-High-quality ads for guns as “accident starters”, etc. (see beer goggles ad)
-Replace guns in pictures with something else (what else could soldiers be holding); replace everyday objects with guns (what if a baby held a gun instead of a bottle)
These early ideas were visualized and expanded upon in the sketches below. As I worked, I began to understand the challenges that I am facing in doing this project…
-How to portray controversial ideas in a way that makes people curious rather than offended?
-Maintain pro gun safety rather than anti-gun, or expose these subtle differences through the work
-Avoid playing into stereotypes (or use them to my advantage)
-How controversial/gruesome/shocking is appropriate? What are the limitations?
In order to create a gun safety campaign that is compelling and thought-provoking, I have been looking at existing public health campaigns for various other hazards. The following are examples of print, media, and installations that succeed at challenging perceptions through provocative imagery, careful design, and innovative messages. Some consistent themes/methods used in these ads include vanity, design fiction, images of children, visualizations of more abstract ideas, objectification, disturbing imagery, and symbolism.
Drunk Driving/Binge Drinking
Meth- Not Even Once (Arizona)
(Sleeping with a baby)
Interview with a member of the Allegheny County Child Death Review Team
Allegheny, Prevention, Protection, Review
The Child Death Review Team reviews the death of every resident of Allegheny County from the ages of 0-21. This team is made of a diverse group of people, including medical examiners and law enforcement members. They look over medical examiner and police reports as well as the background, childhood, and family dynamics of the victims. All of this information is uploaded to a national database with the purpose of revealing possible preventative and protective measures.
Most firearm deaths in Allegheny are the result of homicides and accidents (as opposed to suicides). It is a difficult issue to address because the intention of this review team is to protect, not to infringe on the rights of any community members. The team is also not allowed to have any follow-back with the families, and must rely on family support programs and information from other sources, such as police and medical practitioners.
As a result of this work, it seems that more consistent policies could make a difference in increasing safe gun storage (i.e. same policies for storing a gun for police officers as military personnel). New programs that focus on showing the aftermath of gun violence to young adults seem to be working. It would also be valuable to focus on childhood experiences as an indicator of later experiences with gun violence.
An initiative of the Allegheny Medical Examiner’s Office to reduce gun violence among young adults in Pittsburgh. The goal is to provide them with a “reality-check” as most shooters do not get to witness first hand the damage they inflict.