Researching how design can help the UK’s threatened butterflies and moths.

A body of design research which looks at what design can do to help the diminishing populations of UK butterflies and moths. Combining a variety of research methods such as role-playing, brainstorming scenarios with butterfly experts and speaking directly to farmers about conservation revealed insights about the butterfly and moth crisis.
Exploration Project
Design research

Understanding the key issues of butterfly and moth decline.

All initial research was compiled into a book that offered a visually compelling and informative introduction to the importance of butterflies and the issues around their decline.

Quick interviews with members of the public on the streets of Newcastle and in Kendal, Cumbria, showed people like butterflies (one woman explained that she “loves to see them in the garden”) but few people knew that many British butterfly species are endangered.

Making wildflower gardens better for butterflies.

Planting wildflowers in domestic gardens can create habitats for butterflies. To better engage gardeners with conservation, a journey map of the garden centre retail experience was produced to indicate where they could be persuaded to plant flowers that are better for various species of butterflies.

There is currently very little information about the benefits certain types of wildflower can have for specific butterfly species. This presented an opportunity for the Butterfly Conservation Trust to engage the public by showing them how planting flowers can help.

Improving methods of butterfly and caterpillar recording.

The Butterfly Conservation Trust relies on volunteers to go out and log butterfly species in certain areas. With this data, the trust is able to build a comprehensive picture of the state of butterflies across the UK. One of the biggest challenges for the trust is finding these people and helping them understand how to accurately log butterflies.

A role play exercise reenacted how a member of the public might go about recording butterflies highlighted that much of the process is currently analytical and hard to understand. The exercise looked at the many stages a volunteer would go through to record butterflies; from researching recording methods online to locating butterfly trails - the routes on which the trust take recordings.

Making collaboration with farmers easier.

Farmers and land owners can help butterfly numbers by setting aside some of their land for butterfly habitats. An investigation into how to more effectively convince them to do this involved working closely with Chris Winnick, chairman of the Butterfly Conservation Trust’s Cumbria branch.

By showing Chris a series of flash cards which illustrated some of the aspects of conservationist/farmer collaboration, he was able to scribble down thoughts and rank which methods of engaging farmers he saw as most important.

Butterfly conservation requires a multi-pronged approach: we need to engage land owners as well as educate future generations.

Chris Winnick, Chairman, Butterfly Conservation Cumbria

Exploring what traditional coppicers can do for conservation.

The process of chopping down small trees (coppicing) is an effective conservation method in that it encourages low level plant growth in woodland, thus creating habitats for butterflies. An exploration into how the traditional craft of coppice weaving was conducted to see it if it could really improve butterfly numbers.

Local primary school Vicarage Park had commissioned forestry expert and coppicer Sam Ansell, to create woven sculptures of childrens’ stories and mythical beasts. Visiting the school revealed how coppicing and conservation methods can be made more engaging for children.
Jamie Samman
Multidiscplinary designer
+44 (0)7375 511859
Designed and built by
Jamie Samman in Webflow.