Independent Project    |    Municipal Waste Management    |    Designing Research: A Process Book

Throughout the design research process, how can graphic design be used to “design my research” and communicate information in the most effective and compelling ways? 

I designed an independent study project on building graphic design skills to communicate research findings and effectively engage with research participants. 

Early exploratory, digital graphic design experiments led to the development of printed design deliverables that supported my thesis work.

The process book, designed for print, charts my work process for this course.

View and download the Process Book as spreads or single pages.


Lead Design Researcher and Graphic Designer


Spring 2023 (8 weeks)

With support from

Elizabeth Leeper, Independent Study Instructor

Designing a playful graphic to show the costs of waste disposal

Why is illegal dumping a problem? Why doesn't my neighborhood coffee shop recycle? How do we get people in a city to throw out less and recycle more?

Many of these questions can begin to be answered by understanding that trash costs money—and that depending on who you are, and what you have, you might pay more or less. 

I created an engaging diagram that illuminates this hidden aspect of the waste management system.

Design Process—Selected Spreads

Creating a research toolkit to map community perspectives on litter

In my thesis research, I uncovered three distinct perspectives about litter in my neighborhood—three "litter alignments." I designed a survey and research toolkit to collect thoughts from additional community members.

The survey design expressed my uncertainty around any spectrum that might exist between alignments, and invited creative and varied responses from participants.

Design Process—Selected Spreads

Telling a new story about waste management systems

In the course of my thesis research, I discovered that the more people understood about the trash system, the less they felt victimized by neighborhood litter and system failures, and the more they felt empowered to engage with the mess.

Under the banner of the Department of Strange Beauty, I designed a booklet to guide people through the reality of the system and toward new possibilities for responding.

Design Process—Selected Spreads

Full Process Book PDF

Process Book Single Pages 1-12-24.pdf