Split Flap

Last week we completed a 2 week individual ‘multi-layering’ graphic design course in conjunction with BeGreen Umeå and their Sustainable Ålidhem project. The brief asked us design multi-layered graphics that visualize the current sustainability status of Ålidhem (a residential neighborhood in Umeå). In addition, we were given a bus stop adjacent to the area as our site, in which the graphics were to be displayed with the goal of encouraging people to reflect and ask – How are we doing?, What can I do?, and Who can I talk to? – in regards to sustainability.

The purpose of the course was to ‘experiment with new and unorthodox ways of information graphics design in a specific context,’ which I used as an opportunity to take advantage of the ‘experiment’ aspect and instead proposed an analog installation that utilizes split-flap (or Solari boards) to facilitate sustainability awareness through an immediate feedback display of abstract information.

Long story short (as with the Sound Bowl post – more information later given when I update my portfolio), I spent the majority last week building a working prototype of a single split-flap, that would hypothetically be arrayed along the back side of the bus stop. The installation would display both practical (ex: the arrival of purple and yellow line buses) and conceptual (ex: board goes berserk when a non-sustainable ‘disturbance’ – a car – passes by) information through the graphical movement of colors. Not sure that makes sense without supporting graphics and animation. Anyhow, I’m pretty pumped about my prototype as I ran into lots of problems during the 4 day design and construction process, yet managed to complete it ‘at the eleventh hour.’

Skip to the last video to see the prototype fully working. As always, please ignore late night jargon.

Split Flap – Process 1 – Manual Gear Test from Karey Helms on Vimeo.

Split Flap – Process 2 – Stepper motor Gear Test from Karey Helms on Vimeo.

Split Flap – Process 3 from Karey Helms on Vimeo.

Split Flap – Process 4 from Karey Helms on Vimeo.

Split Flap – Process 5 – With Mirror from Karey Helms on Vimeo.