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Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

Hannah Cardall

Hannah is a multidisciplinary designer, researcher, and writer focusing on the sociocultural impacts of designed objects, systems, and technologies. Prior to studying at the RCA, Hannah worked as an experience designer and design researcher, primarily in start-ups. She has published work on design trends and the use of social media to understand design history and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on the ways digital communication platforms function as online cities to influence cultural norms. Hannah is originally from San Diego, California. She holds a BFA in Industrial Design.

Select Experience

Design for Good Challenge (2023)

Experience Designer at Tiled (2018 - 2022)

Industrial Design Show // Adobe Salt Lake City (2018)

Pose: Portraiture in the Digital Age // Gallery 303 (2017)

Executive Director’s Award: New Horizons Student Art // Shemer Art Center (2014)

Exploring Sustainable Futures // Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (2014)

Writing + Publications

RCA Dissertation 'The Outernet: how digital design shapes physical culture' awarded Distinction.

"Identifying Product Design Trends at Dutch Design Week" Proceedings of the Academy for Design Innovation Management Conference (ADIM), London, June 2019.

"Sketched: Students Identify Trends at Dutch Design Week" Visual Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. September 2019.

"Using Instagram to Increase Student Engagement with Design History" Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE), Dyson School of Engineering, Imperial College, London. 6th - 7th September 2018


In my work, I try to encourage speculation and criticality on behalf of the user: I believe design should enable people to exert agency over their experiences. I try to draw out the absurd qualities from everyday life to help people develop a greater understanding of the role design plays and the relationship between an object and its context.

The projects shown here explore future possibilities in an attempt to understand the present. Tuning Conversations questions what social standards might look like when digital communication moves off-screen to act more like a physical conversation. Mallcraft asks players to express what they value in public space through a placemaking game. Studio for the End of the World uses AI and current news and innovation to imagine a fictional branding studio creating household brands of the future.


Tuning Conversations

Tuning Conversations is a design provocation to let people tune in and out of digital communications like they would tune in and out of a radio feed. It asks people to think about what information they want reaching them and when, and puts them in control of that reality by turning written messages into an ambient audio stream.

The radio is the result of a design research investigation into how people find digital communication relates to their daily lives. Most people feel an inherent tension with messaging — we desire, generally speaking, to block out the noise from our phones and focus on our physical realities, but we are afraid, rationally or not, to put down the phone and risk missing something we want or need to see.

I explored these tensions through a series of experiments, prototypes, and research probes to learn everything from ‘texting personas’ to what happens if we only communicate via walkie-talkie for a day. From these explorations, I was able to deconstruct and define the social situations that change the norms we want our phones to follow and look at new ways the design of the device and the medium of messaging could impact the way we connect.

radio orthographic
project studies
early concepts
person using a walkie talkie at Tate Modern
journey map
concept iteration
interaction map
mallcraft board with cards
mallcraft display
Paper prototyping
mall craft board

Mallcraft is a design probe that looks to understand the functional and cultural roles of public space. Its inspiration was the nearly 200 malls of Singapore, each with slightly different objectives – some for locals to eat and socialise away from the outdoor heat, some for tourists to be dazzled by otherworldly experiences, some to preserve the cultural heritage of Singaporean crafts or traditions. Conventional malls are less popular in the United Kingdom, but continue to exist in new forms, such as the newly renovated Battersea Power Station.

By acting as a game, Mallcraft asks players to speculate on what form malls could take in the future. Players draw three cards: a location card with a city or neighbourhood from around the UK, a challenge card with an everyday objective they’ll need to complete, and a wild card that reveals a game-changing personal or societal piece of what this future looks like. They’ll use pieces to build a place on the board that combines their three cards, where their future counterparts could find a space to fulfil their needs.

In Mallcraft, all roads lead to mall — but what form that mall takes is up to the player, and their cards, personality, ideas, and worldview will shape the space they build.

memory of: remember life with the power of cryonic chip

In fall 2022 — just before ChatGPT opened the gates of generative AI to the public — we explored an exhibit speculating future human-animal hybrids, and I started reading about design fiction and diegetic prototyping. We started with a question: could the unreliability of AI help us come up with ideas of the sort we struggle to with present bias? We decided to use AI as a futures tool to invent household brands of the future, solutions to our present problems that will be taken for granted in future life. The studio acts as a piece of design fiction to explore what might line our future stores and shelves, and who the minds behind those items might be.

boxed cities: your new neighborhood, delivered to you
fuzz babies: facial recognition learning by play
fuzz babies
face reverse aging: reverse age your face with your own genes
face reverse aging
evergreen: eco-friendly fabrics made of recycled pulp fibers
Aquapura: filter water, any place, any time.
evado: plug in to evade responsibilit
Munchapack: long-lasting edible packaging