The way in which Graphic Designers approach challenges on a daily basis drives the work we create, the problems we solve, and the innovation that we seek to achieve; it is called Design Thinking. This is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designers’ skill-set to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. Over the course of time spent learning how to be a Graphic Designer, I have found that my passions are deeply rooted in finding solutions to Wicked Problems in society. My passions require me to be a competent and educated visual communicator; consequently, a large part of what I do is research. To fully understand the issue at hand, one must exhaust every resource possible, going beyond the traditional sense of research. It is important to have conversations with people who live in a society in which social issues are taking place. From doctors and business administrators to educators and peers, feedback is relevant to the chosen approach. My research has left me with the conclusion that our nation has failed us in the realm of sexual health and education. We have allowed opinions and beliefs to trump empirical research and science. This has left us with the greatest social sexual epidemic our nation has ever encountered, and what’s worse is that we’re doing little about it (dosomething.org). At the end of 2016, The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) released data claiming that 1 in 2 sexually active people will contract a sexually transmitted infection by the age of 25.
My thesis, Get Smart, is a sexual health and education campaign that engages college students in sexually healthy practices. It provides resources for student groups and organizations to effectively deliver factual health information related to sex. Due to social-economic issues, youth are marrying and starting families later in life and elongating the duration of their sexual activity with multiple partners. The campaign I have developed provides student groups with a model for addressing sex-related topics, by providing experts and resources around discussion and education. Being a Graphic Designer requires the ability to investigate ideas, develop refined solutions, and adapt to change. The process of creating Get Smart allowed me to engage the human-centered design process for an audience I care deeply about.