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Ellon design student aims to raise awareness of sight loss


An Ellon design student has used her final year project to highlight shocking facts about sight and hearing loss.

Laura Sim Degree Show 2015Laura Sim (22), who is about to graduate with a BA (Hons) in Communication Design from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, has presented key facts about the issue in a form that is accessible to people with different needs and abilities.

The former Ellon Academy student, whose work is currently on display as part of the Gray’s Degree Show, has produced a range of designs that are laser cut into birch plywood to raise awareness of the importance of eye check ups.

She explained: “From the research I carried out for this project a lot of things were brought to my attention. For example, the shocking facts on how preventable many cases of sight loss are from simply getting our eyes checked regularly.

“Images or information for sighted people are presented differently than for people who are blind and obviously there are different requirements for different abilities. I wanted to experiment by exploring ways that information can be presented in a design form that is accessible to everyone.

“I also wanted to produce designs that appeals to more than one sense, such as our sight and touch, whilst creating pieces of work that teach people something.” 

Laura added: “I created a range of posters to highlight the facts I’d discovered. I used birch plywood as my chosen material as I wanted to explore the facts I had found in a subtly tactile way. Wood is a material that can be changed to create different textures and surfaces. Using the same material I additionally designed a wooden framed mirror and five pairs of oversized glasses with each having a different tactile surface design to represent the five senses.

“The purpose of this allows people to try the glasses on, take and photo and share online. Therefore reminding people in a fun and different way the importance to remember to get your eyes checked regularly.”

Laura also created a book of embossed facts and graphics about sight and hearing loss, which incorporated the use of braille to emphasize people’s sense of touch. She kept use of colour to a minimum in her work.

She said: “I felt removing colour helped to make a fully sighted person more aware of the other senses within the design, for example texture through touching.”

Laura is now hoping to find an internship after she graduates next month to add to her experience.

“It is bitter sweet to be leaving Gray’s,” she said. “I am sad to have finished a great course with many talented people, however, I am very excited for the next stage in my work.” 

Laura’s work is currently on display at the Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, sponsored by BP for the twelfth year, which runs until Saturday, June 27.

Release by
Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology