Nick Lovegrove: Crisis Communication
Presented at the University of Hertfordshire, 9 October 2014.
‘Crisis Communication: A visual history of BP’s use of public relations after the Deepwater Horizon accident’
The project I will introduce is part of a larger body of work I created whilst conducting my MA in 2012. After extensive research, I produced a series of rhetorical pieces of design that explored how graphic design’s techniques of persuasion could be used to expose and critique the Public Relations industry. They attempted to explain the nature, history, practices and ethics of the industry to the public, drawing attention to the way organisations attempt to control and manipulate their public image.
One of these outcomes was a book that acts as a critical reaction to BP’s crisis management of the Deepwater Horizon accident. Using the firm’s own press releases, commissioned imagery and publicly available data I created a one-off publication that acts as a timeline charting the company’s response to the disaster.
After presenting the project at a conference at LCC in August, this method of visually documenting an event has resulted in a number of potential collaborations with academics from varying fields who usually rely on the written word to communicate their practice. This takes graphic design away from its usual commercial constraints, towards a wider role as a research tool.