Week 32/33 Summary of Design Work.

So we are now in the final week of Design 2 module, with all briefs having been completed or being finished off, now I’m going to provide a summary of the work covered in the last three months.

The first brief was split into two halves, the first of those was a short brief that involved two main tasks to produce a Data Wall and to create a 16pp Zine based under the theme we were given called ‘Interactive Billboards’ individual to our group.

The first session was a brilliantly busy and productive day in the studio where we were placed with new tutors and in new groups, the data wall was a group task involving the new team. It was a running theme this semester to research topics and then analyse and present our findings in different outcomes therefore most our work was based in the collect section of the 5C model followed by comprehension on the tasks, there were also moments where we would carry on through to concept and create towards the conclusions of the briefs.

We got to visit the Design Museum early in the semester and see four different exhibitions while I was there, little did I know one of the exhibitions I was casually viewing may have crossovers with what I’m tackling in my final project.

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Figure 1: Neue – Passport Redesign (The Guardian, 2014)

The exhibition that inspired me the most was the Designs of the Year 2016 exhibition. I really liked the project that redesigned the Norweigan Passport, I really thought they did an outstanding job in modernising a very static formal document and breathing new life and ideas in how a passport can look without losing any of it’s sense of tradition and importance.

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Figure 2: Fear and Love (happinessinmay, 2016)

Another exhibit that interested in me was in Fear and Love and the response robot that was protected by a shelter, it was an expensive installation and it’s movements could cause real harm if you were too close to it, but it’s behaviour and interest in those that walked up to it and past it were interesting, it also gave me a real emotive feeling of sadness to see it isolated and secluded within it’s display space, like a kind sociable person who just ends up feeling very lonely and overlooked in society by it’s peers.

The zine was mostly an independent learning task where we took what we discovered from the data wall and turned that research into a lo-fi outcome summarising the parts of the research we found interesting and organised that into a narrative.

Our work had shifted in the second semester to look at Speculative Critical Design (SCD) as part of that when looking at Design Fiction, the Future Mundane was a subject that interested me with the talk of utopian and distopian future scenarios created as a result of SCD design. I liked the idea that we look to accumulate rather than replace our worldly possessions, that we should focus on the background talent over just the hero characters that we tend to focus on visual and written media forms and that things are never perfect, there will always be problems in how we interact with things whether the item itself has it’s flaws or how we use the item evolves from it’s original purpose with both positive and negative implications.

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Figure 3: A Superflux video called ‘Uninvited Guests’ (Superflux, 2015) was particularly inspiring as part of this subject and was our aspiration for the creation of our own video projects.

The second part of the brief was bookended with a session from Kin design, the workshop day in particular was a fun experience full of quick tasks to stimulate our imagination and develop further our thoughts about the research from the first part of the brief.

We had to work to a very fast schedule to produce a one minute long video, it was very challenging to initially create a storyboard that might be suitable for a video to be made, much to my delight my own storyboard was the one that was chosen.

This video project provided my first experience of using Adobe after effects and it was a steep learning curve intitially to get my head around it. To turn my storyboard into a video, I took on the the role as the lead actor in the video and was the target for the personal adverts that the interactive billboards were displaying to me. I was very satisfied with the outcome to this project, it was challenging but we had achieved a successful video beaten by a video that had a simple story but well presented with editing tools and even a sense of humour that made it the rightful victor.

The next brief was to create an exhibition on Data Visualisation based on the theme of the City of Winchester, we were given Winchester high street, this was a challenging project as our group had struggled to maintain the standard of teamwork we exhibited in the video project.

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Figure 4: Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia by Charles Joseph Minard (Menase, 2013)

In the build up to this project I was interested in the fact that a lot of the best examples of data visualisation in practice are actually from really far in the past, I was particularly inspired by Charles Joseph Minard’s work on the French campaign of Russia in 1812-13. Good data visualisation follows the word ASK – Accurate, story and knowledge. It was also interesting that a lot of tools used for data visualisation remind me exactly of how you would plan and construct a video project, seeming as both are visual presentations of information this makes a lot of sense.

Often I found myself being flexible and adapting my approach to make sure that the project had some kind of unity with mixed success. While I didn’t particularly enjoy this brief as much as I enjoy working on exhibitions, I still did learn a lot about myself, particularly that I do come up with good ideas and sometimes turn my back on them too easily. I also tested my approach to difficult group work when the team isn’t working smoothly with mixed success, an experience that I will take away with me and hopefully grow on as inevitably in the workplace this will happen again at various times in the future.

The third brief ran over the Easter break and this was when the focus shifted to look at our Final project. My intial final project in my own opinion was too outcome focused and I had to adapt my approach to finally work in a manner that I would call research led and that was the key skill in my opinion being taught to us over the course of this semester.

I chose the topic of Transmedia Storytelling as topic for the final project during this time, what was interesting about the subject wasn’t so much the obvious examples I was aware of but really creative uses of this topic for activism, memory and education. An example of this was a very personal and wonderfully presented insight into a former mining town that no longer exists after the industry closed down in that town called Pine Point.

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Figure 5: Welcome to Pine Point (The Goggles, 2017)

The presentation was straight forward in construction but it was a good process to start to unravell my various thoughts about my final project and opened the door to the current project which I know feel very positvely about moving forward into the summer.

Other key skills tested were public speaking which I feel very comfortable with and organisation and time management, I feel like I’m strong in both areas and know how to pace myself but to develop those skills and feel futher confidence in them is something that this project did help me with.

The final brief which is drawing to a close as we speak is to produce a research magazine for the final project which I shall continue with over the summer as part of my assessment for the final project itself. This task involves a combination of comprehending our findings from earlier research, supported by research into new areas to continue the development of the project.

We got to enjoy a pass to this year’s D&AD festival, my personal highlight was meeting one of my favourite illustrators David Shrigley and getting to hear his approach to his work and projects from the past, his work is very strong in personality and styled as a result, what I really noticed was how his illustrations connect so literally to his sense of humour and musings about the work subjects he is approached to work on. I like how he remains very true to himself no matter what he does in his career. His work is much more successful as a result of this.

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Figure 6 – David Shrigley Fiat 500 Adverts (Coloribus.com, 2009)

What surprised me was the amount of research I had already gathered, the challenge to convert that using graphic design skills to easily communicate to new readers to the subject was a good challenge, it works on your narrative skills to show your journey through your work, it should hopefully reveal the next steps in which to explore next and it should help to develop skills where you can present information about any topic in concise interesting outcomes visually on the pages of the magazine to maintain the readers interest.

At this point I feel very satisfied with my own personal contributions to the briefs individually and as part of a group. I’m starting the process of exploring a very interesting topic for my final project and I’m interested to see where that will take me over the upcoming months.

References:

Coloribus.com. (2009). Fiat 500: “NOT EXACT” Print Ad by Krow Communications. [online] Available at: https://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/prints/fiat-500-not-exact-15142805/ [Accessed 17 May 2017].

happinessinmay (2016). Fear and Love. [image] Available at: http://happinessinmay.com/2016/11/19/fear-and-love/ [Accessed 17 May 2017].

Menase, C. (2013). Charles Joseph Minard’s Flow Map. [image] Available at: http://articlesofmenase.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/charles-joseph-minards-flow-map.html [Accessed 17 May 2017].

Superflux (2015). Uninvited Guests. [image] Available at: https://vimeo.com/128873380 [Accessed 17 May 2017].

The Goggles (2017). Welcome to Pine Point. [image] Available at: http://pinepoint.nfb.ca/#/pinepoint [Accessed 17 May 2017].

The Guardian (2014). Norway’s new passport – already a design classic?. [image] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/nov/17/norway-new-passport-design [Accessed 17 May 2017].

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