culture and design solutions

While I’ve been in China for so long, I’ve come to realize the importance of culture and its integration in our design solutions. As designers we must come to understand that the audience that we are generation our designs for are not for us, but for people. Peoples who embody different cultures and beliefs. Check out this simple design solution and how it the lives of many villagers the widespread problem of Anemia.

Design is powerful.

Iron Fish valued at $1.50

Anemia is a serious problem in Cambodia, leading to birth defects and impaired brain development. Chris Charles, a graduate student at the University of Guelph in Canada, was trying to persuade villagers there to increase the amount of iron in their diet. A simple solution would be to stir chunks of iron inside cooking pots, but Charles encountered serious resistance to this idea. His solution, which gained broad acceptance, was to shape the iron like a local fish considered lucky: “We designed it about 3 or 4 inches long, small enough to be stirred easily but large enough to provide up to about 75 per cent of the daily iron requirement,” said Charles. They found a local scrap metal worker who could make them for $1.50 each, and so far they have been reusing the fish roughly three years. “We’re getting fantastic results; there seems to be a huge decrease in anemia and the village women say they feel good, no dizziness, fewer headaches. The iron fish is incredibly powerful.”


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