Graduate 2017: Six Legs for the Main Course
Everything indicates that in the future we will use insects as an important, climate-friendly source of proteins. But imagine the faces your children would pull, if the menu consisted of ant soup and grub pâté… So how can we get children to eat insects? Meet the designer, Tina Karlström. In her degree project she created board game to tackle that very challenge.
What is your final project about?
The title of my final project is ‘Tenebrio’. It is a campaign to give children aged 8-12 a positive attitude towards eating insects: in other words, using insects as an everyday food. The campaign consists of a board game and an app.
What was your motivation for this project in particular?
I have an interest in food and the impact our food consumption has on the climate. The production of animal meat depletes the planet’s resources and emits a lot of CO2, which in turn causes the temperature to rise. This is where insects become a climate-friendly, alternative source of protein, which we could benefit from. Focusing on insects as an alternative food made sense, because the subject is both serious and entertaining. I saw it as an opportunity to work on an important topic in a new, fun way. I knew from the start that I would like to work on strategy, concept and design, and the project gave me an opportunity to focus on all three.
In what way does your project contribute something new to the area you have been working on?
When it comes to the subject of persuading people to eat insects, usually the approach is extremely serious or extremely ‘attention seeking’. I based my approach on work with a new target group - children - and to reach them in a way that had not been attempted before in this area. So I came up with a board game to alter the eating habits of the players.
Where do you imagine your degree project will make a difference?
I hope my degree project can provide inspiration in terms of how to make serious topics fun and interesting. Naturally, I also hope it will draw attention to the subject of eating insects.
What methods did you use when working on your project?
I worked with a focus group along the way and held meetings with food industry professionals in both Denmark and Sweden. I also threw an insect dinner party for a group of adults who work in the hospitality industry. I researched many different topics. I needed to learn about insects, but also about designing for children and designing games, and about how habits can be changed etc.
To which UN goals does your project relate, and why?
My degree project relates to UN global goal number 12: responsible consumption and production. Using insects as a source of food is part of a growing movement that is working on behalf of a more sustainable food system. It is not only about eating more insects and fewer cows: it is about fundamentally changing the way we eat.
What are the most enjoyable and the most difficult aspects of designing the way you do?
My project involved delving into areas of which I knew only little or nothing at all in advance. That meant there was a great deal of trial and error. In order to come up with a strategy and a good concept and design, I needed to understand both the market segment – children – and the actual problem – the fact that we have an innate resistance to eating insects. Even though the process was sometimes hard and long, it was also fun: then seeing how all the elements finally fell into place.
What sort of development potential do you think your final project has?
I can definitely see potential in the way, in which I worked on the project. I concentrated equally on understanding the issue, getting to know my market segment, coming up with a strategy and a concept, and on the actual product. Retaining a sense of the big, complex picture is definitely one of the skills I will incorporate into my future job.
What do you think is your greatest strength as a KADK design graduate?
Probably the fact that I trust my own opinion and that I am open to learning from my fellow students or colleagues. Providing feedback on each other’s work and getting involved in other people’s working processes played a major role in my postgraduate degree course. Also having to stand up for my decisions and being sure of myself when having to present my work.
Where do you see yourself career-wise in five years’ time?
In five years’ time I will be working with design in a broader perspective: on strategies, concepts and art direction. I could imagine having colleagues with a huge diversity of backgrounds.