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Critical Design, 6th Semester BA, 2018/19, group project

Ideation, card & poster design, product prototyping  











Emily Jaeger, Selina Bauder, Laura Humpfer

Secondary Research, Adobe CC,

product prototyping material


The Problem

More and more unsuspecting people, especially women, are becoming victims of so called „liquid ecstasy“. The substances GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) are often misused in the party scene. At low dose, the substance initially has an intoxicating and disinhibiting effect, similar to alcohol. However, just a few drops more are enough to make the victim will-less and then unconscious. Perpetrators exploit this to sexually abuse or rob their victims.


Why is „liquid ecstasy“ so risky? In addition to the small degree of dosage, „liquid ecstasy“ has other dangerous properties. They are colourless and odourless. If they are mixed with alcoholic beverages, the victim can hardly see or taste the substance.

Another typical charactereristic is the loss of memory. Victims often report gaps in their memory and can only guess what terrible things must have happened.


Despite the dangerous properties and the increasing number of incidents, the substance GBL is freely available. In the form of industrial cleaner, the substance can be legally purchased in Germany. The substance is not mixed with colourings or strong flavourings.


The Process

The Concept  

With the project Flavour.les.s we would like to draw attention to the easy accessibility of „liquid ecstasy“. How are the reactions, if „liquid ecstasy“ is not only sold online as cleaners, but directly in happy, multicolored vending machines? Colourful plastic balls with the character of toys are reminiscent of chewing gum vending machines. However, the content is now a bottle with a dangerous substance. With the scale on the bottle you can roughly estimate which effect is caused by which amount of the drops. 

Everything sounds very bizarre, right? This is the goal of our "Critical Design“ project and is in no case intended to advertise „liquid ecstasy“ or similar party drugs, but to draw the viewer's attention to this critical topic. 

In addition to the vending machine, our "advertising campaign" includes several other products such as postcards, supermarket displays, posters and a mobile pdf, which can be opened by a QR Code.


Two levels - Attention and Clarification


The vending machine, as well as the other products, work on two levels. On the first level, the „liquid ecstasy“ is positively promoted to attract the viewers attention. The second level is only visible on closer inspection of the project, for example by opening the ball or scratching the postcard.


Postcards on which information on the issue can be scratched off


Content of the vending machine, the ball contains a vial and a "manual", on it you can read information on GHB/GBL and a QR code can be scanned to save the information as a PDF. 

Vending machine, vials and postcards


Poster "Fancy a forgettable evening?"


Poster "K.O. drops, small amount, big effect".

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