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Kara Pecknold

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Designer + Researcher

Member since October 05, 2007

  • For The Love of Labels

    Aid, Communication Design


    I wrote a response to the various dialogues that emerged around humanitarian design and its potential to be categorized as the "new imperialism."

  • 78 Reasonable Questions to Ask about Any Design

    Education, Communication Design

    I've posted this on my personal blog but thought it might be worth adding here. I love the way it causes me to think through my design decisions on multiple layers:

    The last time you made something, did you ask 78 questions about it? With that many to go through, one can't help but pause and consider the impacts of design.

    78 Reasonable Questions to Ask about Any Design by Stephanie Mills


    1. What are its effects on the health of the planet and of the person?
    2. Does it preserve or destroy biodiversity?
    3. Does it preserve or reduce ecosystem integrity?
    4. What are its effects on the land?
    5. What are its effects on wildlife?
    6. How much and what kind of waste does it generate?
    7. Does it incorporate the principles of ecological design?
    8. Does it break the bond of renewal between humans and nature?
    9. Does it preserve or reduce cultural biodiversity?
    10. What is the totality of its effects - it's "ecology"?


    1. Does it serve community?
    2. Does it empower community members?
    3. How does it affect our perception of our needs?
    4. Is it consistent with the creation of a communal, human economy?
    5. What are its effects on relationships?
    6. Does it undermine conviviality?
    7. Does it undermine traditional forms of community?
    8. How does it affect our way of scene and experiencing the world?
    9. Does it foster a diversity of forms of knowledge?
    10. Does it build on, or contribute to, the renewal of traditional forms of knowledge?
    11. Does it serve to commodify knowledge or relationships?
    12. To what extent does it rede...
  • Design Can Make A Difference

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    National Design Week is a chance to celebrate some amazing ideas and developments in design. As I look through the list, I find it hard to know who to pick for the People's Design Award! Wonderful work abounds.

    But I appreciate the tweet that Design For The Other 90% posted, which asked us to vote for designs that were making a difference. As a volunteer with Design For Development, I was excited to see the Bambulance nominated. Again, it's among fine company!

    So whatever you vote for this year, consider how your vote might celebrate the way design can make a difference for those who may not otherwise benefit.

    Thank you!

  • Dsc_6196_177_

    Some folks led a session at SoCap09 that I wish I could have been sitting in on. Twitter allows you to catch a glimpse of the topics but I would have loved to hear the dialogue beyond the 140 characters.

    Here's the description: Social investors and social entrepreneurs have been struggling for years to align on the right tools for measuring new-to-the world offerings. These offerings often take years to show results and many initiatives run the risk of stalling or failing due to lack of demonstrated progress. In addition, the evaluation of new solutions is often uncharted territory in terms of how to measure and what to measure. In this session aimed at funders and social entrepreneurs, IDEO, JD Power & Associates and Keystone will share their frameworks and experiences for creating a strategic measurement portfolio based on human centered measurement and evaluation methodologies. In the workshop portion of the session, participants will break into teams and create a human centered evaluation strategy to meet their current measurement challenges. Participants are invited to come with an evaluation challenge of a new-to-the-world initiative that they would like to work on in the workshop. The session is part of a collaboration between Ideo and Good magazine to advance dialogue about evaluation in the social sector.

    Twitter began feeding these 5 principles for making change happen:

    1. Put people at the center of evaluation
    2. Take a systemic view
    3. Navigate uncertainty
    4. Zoom out...
  • INDEX:AWARD FINALIST: The Bambulance Project

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    I'm excited to be a new volunteer with an emerging non-profit based in Vancouver, BC. Design For Development is dedicated to using the design process as a problem-solving tool to address issues in poverty-stricken areas of the world.

    In 2007, DFD worked with two Emily Carr University student interns to create the Bambulance. And now, the Bambulance is a finalist for the 2009 Index:Award Design To Improve Life.

    The Bambulance is a bicycle–pulled emergency medical transport device created in response to the lack of safe, affordable and sustainable healthcare transportation in underserved communities in the developing world.

    With the aim of saving lives by improving emergency transit times for communities where motorized transport is unavailable or inappropriate, the Bambulance is a cost-efficient and sustainable trailer and stretcher combination, pared down to essential materials. Composed almost entirely of bamboo, bicycle inner tube, and reused trucking tarp, the Bambulance is designed to be affordable to community members, utilizing local materials and trade skills in its construction.

    Inspired by skin-on-frame building techniques, the chassis frame and stretcher are fabricated using simple hand tools and craft processes, making the parts easy to assemble and disassemble for repair and replacement. Bamboo – an underutilized locally available resource in Western Kenya and other African regions - is inexpensive, sustainable, lightweight and strong.

    With the initial...

  • Where I blog

    Communication, Communication Design


    I'm currently pursuing my MAA Design at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. My research blog is housed here.

    In my research, I am looking at issues of communication design, sustainability and development (after a brilliant internship in Rwanda).

    If anyone does happen to read this, I'd love any leads or ideas in these areas.

Designing beyond the borders.

Contact Kara Pecknold
Olivelife Creative

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design