Monday, 26 November 2012


In today’s lesson we were set a new brief that will focus on collecting a body of visual research and developing design solutions.

Firstly, we were divided up into research groups, when in these groups we were given a research theme, ours was ‘Transport’. We used this as a starting point to create a list of things associated with transport.

Modes of transport – Car, Bike train etc.
Signage – Signs used within transport (International & National)
What is being transported? – People, Products.
Transport of information – Internet.
Laws and Regulations regarding transport.
Transporting narcotics/ people.
Travelling homes/communities.
Money spent on transport.
Effect transport has on environment.
Hybrid cars.
Environmentally friendly transport – Bike.
Different modes of transport used in other countries.
Underground transport.
Banned methods of transport – Concord.
Past modes of transport – Historic.

After forming our list we had to select one subject that we would then individually research in-depth.

Alex – Commercial transport.
Danielle – Money spent on travel.
Jane – Public transport.
Charlie - Different modes of transport used in other countries.
Me – Narcotics transport.

We then made a list of places we will look to source information.

Magazine articles
Online documentaries 

Before I started my primary research I decided to re-write my subject matter so it is more focused and understandable.

I will research into ‘The transportation of narcotics into Europe’.

For my primary research I will create a survey to find out what people know about the narcotic smuggling trade, and what is being done to stop it.

Firstly, I researched into how to write a survey that is straightforward and clear. I used a survey guide that I found on the website ‘eHow’, it presented good advice and a series of tips to help when writing a survey. The ones that I found most helpful are shown below. 

After reading the article I wrote the text for my survey, I tried to keep my questions simple and introduced my survey with a brief introduction about the topic and what the purpose of the survey is. When i collect the surveys and analyse the data, I hope that it will give me an insight into how informed people are about the topic.  


Despite the best efforts from European governments and police, a constant stream of drugs is smuggled past boarder control and into countries such as England. Are the police and UK boarder agencies to blame? Or are they fighting a losing battle against smugglers using more and more sophisticated methods of transportation. The purpose of this survey is to find out how much you know about the transportation of drugs into Europe, as well as offering you a chance to voice your opinion on what should be done.

 What do you think are the main drugs being smuggled into Europe?

Amphetamines (MDMA etc.)

Using your answer from the last question, where do you think is the drug originates from?


What do you think is the main form of transport used smuggle narcotics into Europe?

Boat/shipping container

How much do you think that European governments are collectively spending on stopping drugs crossing into the EU?

30 million
50 million
1 billion
1.5 billion
2 billion

What do you think should be done? 

Next, I produced the base design for the survey. I wanted to keep the content fairly formal looking, so that the focus of the audience is on answering the questions.

I printed the surveys and handed a number of them out. The fourth person noticed a big spelling mistake in the title, smuggling was spelt ‘sUMggling’…

I corrected the mistake and reprinted another ten surveys out, I am aiming to collect information from twenty people, ten surveys had already been completed with the spelling mistake. As time is an issue I will keep the surveys, as the data that can be collected from them is fine. 

After the amended versions of my survey have been completed I will organise the data in a visually appropriate way.

Once I had collected all the completed surveys, I started analysing the data. I found that a lot of people had a little knowledge about the topic, but still were misinformed with minor details. I plan to visually display the information by using graphs displayed along side an example survey. 

One thing I found when asking for feedback about my survey was that it felt like a test, this was not my aim. I simply wanted to gauge the level of knowledge people had on the topic. In future, I will write a more in-depth of introduction explaining the intentions and function of the survey. Moreover, I could have created more specific questions. Some of the questions, such as the first are misleading, as nobody can be certain what the most common drug is as drug monitoring units and boarder agents base their figures on drugs previously seized. 

Moreover, I also watched a film called 'Cocaine Cowboys' to help widen my knowledge of the topic, and the different techniques that are used to smuggle the drugs into different counties. Below are some notes I took while watching the film.

Key Points

  • Various modes of transport are used to smuggle drugs into the country. The most popular modes were privately owned planes, boats, shipping containers and cars/trucks. 
  • Violence surrounds the drug trade, murders and toucher is a common form of discipline/revenge.
  • There is a huge amount of money in the drugs trade.

Firstly, I started researching into the amount of drugs that are smuggled into Europe/UK. I found this information very hard to find, as the exact number cannot be known. Regardless, I found figures from websites such as the ‘Serious Organised Crime Agency’ and The ‘European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’ . I discovered that official websites like this offered the most in-depth information on the subject as often the figures collected are for official reports.

I then found a downloadable pdf. Of the ‘United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’ 2010  report on the world drug problem. This is a detailed document that covers in detail all aspects of the narcotic smuggling trade. It includes visual aids in the form of diagrams and maps throughout. This is an appropriate way of visually displaying information that will engage the reader. I collected a range of different diagrams relevant to the drugs trade.


Other diagrams used different shades of colour to communicate data.

Bar charts were also used throughout the report to display data

Below are a selection of diagrams showing smuggling routes into Europe.


For my final research board I am required to collect research on possible visual solutions. Due to the fact-heavy nature of my research topic I think the best way to display the information would be to use infographics. Presenting the information in this way makes it aesthetically engaging for the audience, rather than having large amounts of text to inform the audience. 

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