Design and the price of dwelling disaster

As Britain slides further and further into the cost of living crisis, seeing steep increases in the price of food and drink, design plays an instrumental role in helping and at times, hindering those on the receiving end of this emergency.

From Channel 4 partnering with top brands to air money-saving ads, to celebrities like Zayn Malik voicing their support for the Food Foundation’s #Feedthefuture campaign, design’s ability to amplify a cause is certainly being harnessed – but in a time of such crisis, is there more that can be done?

One of the loudest voices in the fight against food poverty is Marcus Rashford, who, after successfully petitioning Parliament to tackle child food poverty in 2020, extended his message in partnership with chef Tom Kerridge to call Full Time on child food poverty in 2021.

The duo tapped creative brand agency The Clearing to design the campaign’s identity, which utilised inviting colours and bold fonts to communicate low-cost recipes to struggling families, designed specifically to be made with few resources. The Clearing’s founding partner Richard Buchanan explains that words are just as important to consider as images in conveying information to audiences who may be starved of time as well as money.

Buchanan is honest about the complexities of the issue, and what design can do to respond. “I trained as a product designer,” he says, “and design for me is something which should be life enhancing – when it comes to communication, it’s about positive choices.”

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