Heat by David Loy uses coding and thermochromic ink to educate on climate change
- Ruby Boddington
- 14 February 2019
“Daily, through our screens, we see accumulations of information overload about climate change,” states graphic designer David Loy. “Our visual landscape is full of climate disasters, political debate and global warming impacts. It gave me the unusual sensation that it had become almost commonplace.” Spurred on by this fact, David created Heat an in-depth project which explores global warming and its long-term effects away from mass media.
David studied a bachelor’s in graphic design at ECAL, from which he graduated last June. He is now based in Hong Kong, working as an exchange teacher for a few months as a part of a programme arranged by his university. With a portfolio that includes a range of projects, particularly ones which create a “connection between print and screen”, it was David’s diploma project, Heat, which piqued our attention.
While researching for this these, David stubbed upon the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, created by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). What interested David was that the report not only detailed the current impact of climate change on our planet, but provided projections of impacts and consequences until 2100.
In response, David created Heat to raise awareness of these facts which were originally published for the scientific community, presenting them in “a structure that can help the reader to easily understand the complexity of the contents and make it accessible to a greater number”.
The book therefore features two kinds of media – the first is composed of the contents of the report, whereas the second features imagery from the National Geographic Archives. Information is then divided into three chapters. Firstly, readers are presented with scientific responses to those to deny climate change. In the second chapter, spreads are dedicated to showing our present situation (left page) and our future situation (right page). In the final chapter, David outlines current solutions and possible strategies of how governments and individuals can act to change our societies to reduce global warming.
In order to ascertain a treatment for the imagery from the National Geographic Archives, David employed a script made in collaboration with Pierry Jaquillard. These images appear between each chapter: “These generic pictures don’t describe anything in particular, they are here to show to the reader an overview of the planet,” David explains. The script, therefore, dictates the placement of the 1500 images throughout the book. “Just like global warming, the layout of the pictures gradually clutters the book, pointing out the urgency of the situation,” he adds.
The final element of David’s design is perhaps the most direct manifestation of the book’s concept. The back cover of Heat is printed using thermochromic ink which reacts to heat, and therefore human touch. “It’s a symbolic way of saying to the reader that their gesture can really have an influence on the climate,” he concludes. “This impact can be positive or negative, the reader just as the human kind have a responsibility to the environment.”
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.