Week Nine: Service Design and Saving the World

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

This week's lecture focused on service design and saving the world: principles, histories, manifestos, for good and change. Service design is a relatively new field in graphic design and was introduced at the Köln International School of Design, in Cologne, Germany, in 1991.

Service design is interested in improving the quality of user experience.

In the book, This is Service Design Thinking, the authors list five key principles of service design, which are:

  1. User-centred: People are at the centre of service design.

  2. Co-creative: Service design should involve other people, especially those that are part of a system or service.

  3. Sequencing: Services should be visualised by sequences or key moments in a customers journey.

  4. Evidencing: Customers need to be aware of elements of a service. Evidencing creates loyalty and helps customers understand the service experienced.

  5. Holistic: A holistic design takes into account the entire experience of a service.

Image: Book Review - This is Service Design Thinking - LearnSuits

There are also numerous tools available to service designers, some of which are listed below:


A persona is a summary of a specific type of customer that represents a broader demographic. After conducting qualitative interviews, which is a structured interview where interviewees are presented with the same questions in the same order, a persona helps you create a design with specific customers in mind, and ensure the process is user-centred.

Customer Journey Map:

A customer journey map is a tool that shows the best and worst parts of a customer's experience. The journey starts long before a customer starts to take action, and shows the entire experience of the service through the customer's perspective.

Service Blueprinting:

A service blueprint goes beyond a customer journey map and allows you to understand a customer from a more holistic viewpoint, including the work and processes that go into creating and delivering an experience.

In a video presented by the Design Council Arren Roberts, senior design officer at Shropshire Council, emphasises that service design is for people.

"We're about delivering usable, efficient, effective, and desirable services. The stuff that people want to use."

Arren Roberts

"How public services are 'designed' is central to their purpose, their function, their character. Design is about the application of hard disciplines, not soft furnishings."

Restart Britain

Artist as Activist

Although the field of service design is fairly new, artists and designers have played an important role in disrupting social and political injustice for centuries.

The earliest know example of protest graffiti dates back to the Roman era, with examples of protest and political slogans being found carved into the walls of Pompeii, famous for the volcanic eruption that killed thousands. Graffiti was common practice during the Roman era.

Image: Reading the Writing on Pompeii’s Walls | History | Smithsonian Magazine

The industrial revolution brought along the printing press which allowed mass-produced information to be done quickly and cheaply.

By the 1700s satire was commonly used to ridicule the ruling classes. Satire, combined humour and illustration, which suited those that couldn't read or write.

William Hogarth campaigned against the sale of cheap gin, through a painting called Gin Lane (pictured below).

Image: Gin Lane by William Hogarth, 1751 – Discover (brightonmuseums.org.uk)

Hogarth's image culminated in the Gin Act of 1751, through which a number of gin shops was greatly reduced.

By the 1800s, satire had become a global movement, pathing the way for satirical magazines, such as Punk in America, Punch (below), which was founded in the UK and Le Sourie from France.

Image: (98) Pinterest

The Futurists

Bt the 20th-century society, politics and technology were changing and art became a catalyst to reject the traditional social order. The Futurists revolted against traditional art and declared this through their manifesto in 1909.

Image: http://exhibitions.guggenheim.org/futurism/manifestos/


Constructivism was an art movement founded in 1913 by Vladimir Tatlin, in Russia. The movement believed that art should reflect the modern and industrial world. The Russian Revolution created a revolution in cultural society, and it was not long before artist and art were put to work in service of the new Communist society.

Image: https://daireleonardpte.com/blog-2/

Mexican Murals

1910 saw the Mexican revolution aimed to oust the dictatorship of President Diaz. At the end of the Mexican revolution, in 1921, the Mexican government commissioned the painting of public murals aimed at promoting the ideals of the revolution to the largely illiterate public. The purpose of the murals was meant to glorify the revolution. They were to celebrate Mexican identity, built up of both indigenous and Spanish backgrounds. The three most influential muralists from the 20th century were Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Siqueiros; they are known as los tres grandes.

Image: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-arthistory/chapter/the-mexican-renaissance/

Frida Kahlo

On a side note from here, Frida Kahlo was influenced by indigenous Mexican culture, which is apparent in her use of bright colors, dramatic symbolism and primitive style. She frequently included the monkey as a symbol in her work, which in Mexican mythology is a symbol of lust.

Image: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-arthistory/chapter/the-mexican-renaissance/

John Heartfield

With the rise of Hitler and the nazi party came a decline of the Avant-garde art movements, such as Bauhaus. However, artists such as John Heartfield used art as a way to protest against Hitler's ideologies with the use of photomontage, like the image below named Adolf, the Superman: Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk (1932).

Image: https://www.johnheartfield.com/John-Heartfield-Exhibition/john-heartfield-art/famous-anti-fascist-art/heartfield-posters-aiz/adolf-the-superman-hitler-portrait

Peter Kennard

Following on from this, another notable photomontage artist, Peter Kennard from Britain, has also used the medium in protest, against war.

"With a career spanning almost 50 years, Peter Kennard is without doubt Britain’s most important political artist and its leading practitioner of photomontage. His adoption of the medium in the late 1960s restored an association with radical politics, and drew inspiration from the anti-Nazi montages of John Heartfield in the 1930s. Many of Kennard’s images are now themselves icons of the medium, defining the tenor of protest in recent times and informing the visual culture of conflict and crisis in modern history."

Richard Slocombe, Imperial War Museum

Image: https://www.peterkennard.com/posters

Documentary Photography

During the Vietnam war, which lasted almost two decades, photographs were shared amongst newspapers, magazines, and television companies to help illustrate the horror of war through pure documentation. The images were and still are, shocking. I believe this is the purest way of capturing something so horrific that most of us would struggle to comprehend. Photographs so the humanity behind war, the reality and clarity. They transfix you and compel you to think and question in a way that (arguably) no other media can.

Image: https://time.com/vietnam-photos/

And Babies

After the exposé of atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in 1968 in the My Lai Massacre, AWC members Frazer Dougherty, Jon Hendricks, and Irving Petlin designed this poster. Its image was taken at the scene by army photographer Ron Haeberle. The devastating phrase ​“And babies” came from a news interview with soldier Paul Meadlo, who had participated in the slaughter. Rather than symbolism or metaphor, the artists used journalistic evidence to convey the horrors of the war–horrors the government had kept hidden for more than a year. They printed fifty thousand of the posters, distributed them for free, and displayed them during protests, confronting the public with war’s grisly truths.

Image: https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/q-and-babies-and-babies-111524

The Suffragettes

The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Image: https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage

Tedx Talks: Can Art Stop a War and Save the Planet

Image: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-09-17/peace-center-culver-city

It was fascinating hearing Carol's story through the Ted Talk. She's extremely passionate about positive change in a wide range of areas with a vast resume that includes activist, art historian, lecturer, writer, and curator. She mentioned how she has been collecting posters and producing political art exhibitions for over thirty years.

Something that has caught my attention this week, through both the lecture and Carol's talk, is political posters are usually created for the illiterate. They're created to enable anyone and everyone to make an informed decision on subject matter that isn't always easily accessible for those that (perhaps) come from an uneducated background. Therefore, they have to take, potentially, complex issues and present them in a clear, concise, conscientious manner. She described how this is usually done through bright colours, bold graphics, a poster that catches your eye and asks you a question. She also mentioned how not all posters are against a subject matter, such as war, they can be in favour of it too, such as the Uncle Sam war posters that promoted war and encouraged people to join the US army. According to TIME magazine, it was painted by noted U.S. illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, the image first appeared on the cover of the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly magazine with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?” The U.S. would not declare war on Germany until April of the next year, but the storm signals were clear. The image was later adapted by the U.S. Army for the poster with the new, unforgettable call to action. More than 4 million copies of it were printed between 1917 and 1918.

Image: World War I Anniversary: Story Behind the Uncle Sam Poster | Time

Shepard Fairey

Following on from Carol A. Wells, I was reminded of a photograph I took whilst in California a couple of years ago. Widely considered to be a pop-cultural phenomenon, this iconic portrait of Barack Obama caught the attention of millions during the historic 2008 presidential campaign. The renowned poster was designed by Los Angeles-based, contemporary street artist Shepard Fairey.

Workshop Challenge (Task 1)


Personas, otherwise known as Human Archetypes, Behavioural Archetypes, or User Profiles, help narrate the different types of users, based on clusters of behaviours and needs. A persona is essentially a fictional representation of users of your service, typically developed based on design research such as interviews, surveys and other insights. Most often, there are often multiple personas of service users if there are key differences in preferences, behaviours, needs and objectives. The idea is to prioritize your personas based on whatever criteria makes sense to you. This allows you to either figure out how you can provide solutions to serve your diverse users based on their characteristics or to focus on those that are the top priority.

Download PDF • 413KB

PDF: https://servicedesigntools.org/tools/personas

Customer Journey Maps

A customer journey map is a tool that reflects the best and worst parts of a customers' experience. The journey map is a synthetic representation that describes step-by-step how a user interacts with a service. The process is mapped from the user perspective, describing what happens at each stage of the interaction, what touchpoints are involved, what obstacles and barriers they may encounter.

Download PDF • 413KB

PDF: https://servicedesigntools.org/tools/journey-map

Service Safari

Service safari, also known as Mystery shopping, Auto-ethnography, allows the designer to experience service as if they were the user themselves. While pretending to be a user, designers can understand in detail all the aspects of the interaction with the service, observe how other people in the same space/environment behave, and eventually intercept the opinions and perceptions of other users. After having gone through the service, journey maps help generate documentation of the experience that can be used for ideation and comparison purposes. Often, the safari could be replicated going through the competitors’ service as well.

How Can Service Safari Be Used To Discover Insight Or Challenge?

Service Safari can be used in multiple ways to discover insight or challenge as it allows you to walk in the footsteps of users, experiencing a task, product or service as near as possible to how they would. Through direct experience, you can assess where the strengths and weaknesses are. As well as building the teams’ empathy with users and domain knowledge. It also allows you to:

  1. Improve service and loyalty.

  2. Seek out new opportunities.

  3. Build competence.

  4. Become more efficient.

From here, you're in a stronger position to conduct more relevant research according to your research outcomes on a specific area/areas.

Image: https://blog.prototypr.io/how-why-and-when-to-run-a-successful-service-safari-accbf8f32e55

Workshop Challenge (Task 2)

The campaign that I decided to look into was Choose Love, originally known as Help Refugees. I volunteered with the charity in 2016 and have followed its progress since. Choose Love started as a grassroots charity in 2015 and has remained that way.

I feel that from accessing their website there has been a lot of thought put into the user's experience, making it extremely easy and efficient to navigate. I believe there has been a lot of emphasis on service safari here as there seems to be a lot of thought on the user easily being able to access the desired information that the user requires.

The example I've chosen of this (below) shows how the user, If looking to volunteer, can quickly navigate to becoming a volunteer which then gives further options on where to volunteer. This quickly narrows down a lot of questions that the user might have, thus saving time for the user and the charity itself in potentially responding to questions via email from the user. I think this reflects the grassroots nature of the charity as the charity isn't driven by profit but on providing help and assistance quickly and efficiently.

Image: https://helprefugees.org

A map is available on the website showing the drop-off points for donations, again, this makes it extremely easy for the user to use and works effectively for both the user and the charity.

Image: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1HMMUEy_Q1vl-lafTEGMb5OgXZ20&ll=54.469168287982654%2C-3.4789768532616847&z=6

I also believe there has been a lot of emphasis on Personas too. The charity is dependant on volunteers and, in regards to the quote below, it shows that they're reassuring potential volunteers of the environment they'll be volunteering in and the worldly view they'll gain.

Image: https://helprefugees.org/volunteer/calais/

There is also a video on the website about volunteering which, again, is reassuring to any potential volunteers. Again, I feel personas has been carefully considered here as volunteering in another country is a daunting prospect for many people. The video is just under four minutes long and is packed with footage of volunteers volunteering in a variety of areas and interviews with people explaining how the process of volunteering works. Although I know from experience that volunteering attracts a wide demographic of people, this video is mainly aimed at a younger demographic.

Image: https://www.indigovolunteers.org


It has been very interesting learning about service design and saving the world. It's incredible to see how design has been used through the years for multiple reasons concerning human rights and positive change. It stood out to me that many political posters, and posters concerning positive change, were primarily created for the illiterate. I found this fascinating as they have allowed everyone to be informed and make informed decisions when perhaps they might not have had the ability to.

In regards to the challenge this week, it was challenging to fully understand some of the service design tools yet being able to look at the Choose Love website and figure out what tools were used and how allowed to see them with more clarity. I feel the service design tool aspect of this week is something I'll have to come back to, to fully understand some of them, however, this has been a great foundation to build upon.


flex.falmouth.ac.uk. (n.d.). Log in to canvas. [online] Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/691/pages/week-9-lecture-service-design-and-saving-the-world?module_item_id=49424 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2021].

Can Art Stop a War and Save the Planet? | Carol A. Wells | TEDxLoyolaMarymountU. (2015). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQKNkmuZ7V8 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2021].

Knauer, K. (2017). I Want You: The Story Behind the Iconic Recruitment Poster. [online] Time. Available at: https://time.com/4725856/uncle-sam-poster-history/ [Accessed 30 Mar. 2021].

Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (2014). Why the public sector needs service design. [online] Design Council. Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/why-public-sector-needs-service-design [Accessed 31 Mar. 2021].

Daire Leonard. (2020). Design Report. [online] Available at: https://daireleonardpte.com/blog-2/ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2021].

courses.lumenlearning.com. (n.d.). The Mexican Renaissance | Boundless Art History. [online] Available at: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-arthistory/chapter/the-mexican-renaissance/ [Accessed 4 Apr. 2021].

Peter Kennard. (n.d.). Quotes. [online] Available at: https://www.peterkennard.com/new-page [Accessed 4 Apr. 2021].

americanart.si.edu. (n.d.). Q. And babies? A. And babies. | Smithsonian American Art Museum. [online] Available at: https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/q-and-babies-and-babies-111524 [Accessed 4 Apr. 2021].

History.com Editors (2009). Women’s Suffrage. [online] HISTORY. Available at: https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage [Accessed 4 Apr. 2021].

servicedesigntools.org. (n.d.). Service Design Tools | Communication methods supporting design processes. [online] Available at: https://servicedesigntools.org [Accessed 5 Apr. 2021].

Anon, (n.d.). The role of personas in service design. [online] Available at: http://www.tesanidesign.com/the-role-of-personas-in-service-design/ [Accessed 5 Apr. 2021].

Lubbock, H. (2019). How, why and when to run a successful Service Safari. [online] Medium. Available at: https://blog.prototypr.io/how-why-and-when-to-run-a-successful-service-safari-accbf8f32e55 [Accessed 5 Apr. 2021].

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