Johnathan O’Keeffe

Collapse Design

“Collapse Design” is a publication that observes and critiques modern design practices’s contribution to the structured unsustainability of modern global human civilization. This capstone discusses some ways modern design contributes to contemporary problems, how we got to this point, and some possible methods of being and doing that can transition us to a more environmentally and societally sustainable world. While the capstone critiques design as a whole, it seeks to hone its focus onto graphic design and its contribution to contemporary crises.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part concerns itself with critiquing the metaphysical worldview that modern design practices were founded on, cartesian mind/body dualist perspectives, and then argues that design practice must reorient itself to ontological perspectives. The ontological metaphysical perspective understands that mind, body, matter, and humans are not separate from reality. Ontological design theory understands that objects, places, people, ecologies, and the planet itself is the product of a multitude of relational interactions.

Part 2 hones its focus onto graphic design. The book goes into the multitude of uses that graphic design has in our hyper-capitalist society. From the ancient past of Mesopotamia to the modern day of skyscrapers, graphic designers have always been of use from instilling trust in economy to branding mega corporations. Part 2: Graphic World, critiques the modern use of graphic design and how it can fuel consumerism and brand obsessions in our society while also presenting design group and activism that seek to abstain from an exploitative system.

de-Branded Design

A main critique of graphic design is how it fuels industry, market growth, and ultimately consumerism by manufacturing consumer desire through marketing tactics like branding and advertising. The capstone presents new and alternative forms of branding when it comes to package design. What might de-branded packaging design look like? Can the creativity of some brands that consumers enjoy still exist without brands themselves? Would us consumers still enjoy the products we love in a debranded world? The capstone may not give explicit answers to these questions but invokes imaginative alternatives through presenting various speculations.

Speculative Package Mockups

By Johnathan O’Keeffe