Cradle To Grave: The Lifecycle Of A Laptop

Project Purpose

The purpose of this project was to show the complete lifecycle of a piece of technology and show any many details of its total lifespan as possible in the form of illustrative infographics and charts. The total lifecycle displayed had to start with where materials for the featured technology were collected, how it is manufactured and where, how long it is used by consumers, what happens to the technology once consumers decide they are done with it, and what happens to it beyond that point — if anything at all.

The Creative Process

When doing this project, I wanted to select a piece of technology that I felt was relevant to our current world in terms of its popular use and that was interesting to me personally. With those criteria in mind, I chose to focus on laptops as a whole. I then proceeded to do research on the sourcing of materials, manufacturing, and other information about laptops from the most popular brands on the market, such as Microsoft, HP, and Dell. Once I had an adequate amount of information to start the design, I started creating the overall design and style of the piece: simple and full of simple imagery that is easy to recognize with details and features that help viewers imagine how each phase of a laptop’s life occurs, especially those that most consumers may know nothing about.

Section 1:

In the first section, I show where the majority of materials used to create laptops are gathered. As can be seen here, the metals and oil used to create them are gathered from all over the globe.

Section 2:

The chart on the left highlights which countries are responsible for manufacturing the majority of laptops.

The chart on the right gives a small insight into how many resources and materials are needed to create a single laptop.

Section 3:

The chart on the left of explains that ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) are responsible for designing laptops. Other companies and major brands then decide which designs they want to include in their lineups.

The chart on the right explains that once the laptop designs are selected by various companies and then manufactured, they are then sent to warehouses, distribution centers, and brick and mortar stores. They are then ordered or selected and purchased by customers through various retailers.

Section 4:

Here is a basic timeline on the average longevity and performance over time of most laptops once they are in the hands of consumers.

Section 5:

Once consumers are done using their laptops, there are two primary options for disposing of the laptop: it can be thrown out into a landfill or brought to a store or recycling center to have the different parts and materials re-used into future laptops and other products.

End Result

The end result of this project is a detailed, informative, and organized series of infographics that effectively communicate the general stages of manufacturing and use that a laptop goes through, from the gathering of materials from around the world to its fate of being in a landfill or, hopefully, being recycled.

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