Horses don’t make good designers.

Today as usual we had another inspirational talk for our Change By Design module, to open the morning of lectures we had a fellow DJCAD student, Douglas Kinnear, talk about his experience as an undergraduate design student specialising in jewelry. From the off he was a likable character who seemed moderately comfortable talking to a crowd of tired students first thing on a Friday morning.

He began talking about his expectations starting at the uni from doing and HND in art and Design at College, he describes his focus as having ‘blinkers’ on. This i could definitely relate to with past experiences at other institutions, confusing tunnel/narrow vision with determination and ambition while missing the big picture. After several years of dotting around various schools and different teaching styles as well as gaining and impressive pile of rejection letters from art schools across the country -I entered this course as open mindedly as I possible could. Almost will to take anything that came at me even if it wasn’t what I wanted to do, just to get somewhere in education, almost settling for Textiles over fashion. If anything I have learned over the last few weeks of the course it is that at this fantastic design school the course and what you study is what you make of it! Which I think is the point Douglas was trying to get across.

Douglas continued to talk about his ‘hallelujah’ moments when he realised not everything had to be strictly jewelry to relate to his craft. For his fourth year project he began working on the concept of medicinal jewelry: Something which would distribute medication while not looking like something which would instantly have a stigma attached ‘oh, what’s wrong with that person’. He began to see the wood for the trees so to speak, that design was about everything and anything around us which inspires us that can be changed for the better or taking an existing product/idea and using it in a different way to create something completely new.

His main point throughout his short talk was how to appreciate what we are being taught and to ‘absorb’ ALL the information given to us, not filtering out what we believe to be irrelevant to our chosen specialism. See everything as being relevant.

Be a sponge – Not a horse.

www.dougiekinnear.com

More notes from Friday to follow, there is a lot which has to be said reflecting on professor Mike Press’ excellent and awe-inspiring lecture.

Rockin’ the print lab

Yet another print workshop done! And another workshop success. Today I mixed my own dye with the lovely David Ramsey and it was great fun, not just for the charming aprons.

I found if difficult remembering everything Norrie had told us in the induction but everything came swimming back thanks to the helpful instructions posted all over the walls. I mixed 400ml DS Acid dye with 2% strength (1% Violet, 1% Scarlet).

These to make this!

I remembered where all the boats, floats and goats were kept and tidied after myself but the most fun was mixing it all together.

Starting by measuring out all of my components then following the 3 simple steps to glory! Mix the Dye (4g) with Glyezin BC (16ml) and urea (8g) until there are no grains and you have reached a comfortable consistency before adding boiling water (80ml). Continue stirring while marvelling at your very pretty colour in a beaker or your bought tub.

Measure out your indalca (140ml) without making too much of a sticky mess, it has the same consistency as honey but I’m pretty sure it’s not edible. Then finally mix your ammonium sulphate (Thank you David for point out I was in the wrong cupboard)  with  boiling water (20ml).
Mix all together, without licking the spoon, and you have a pot of your very own DS acid dye.

Much fun especially when there’s a camera involved xD

Big thanks you to David for the images.

Group 12’s Think Tank success!

After receiving the live brief ‘In the Round’ our group was keen to get started comparing ideas using the brain storming and mind mapping techniques we have been using for our Change By Design class. Our assignment was to work as a group to swap ideas and discuss our understanding of the brief towards a product outcome.

Our initial response from the brief seemed mutual confusion, from the brief we were asked to design a something which would give people a better connection with 3D objects -specifically aimed at teenagers ranging from 13-18. When we came together as a group it quickly became apparent the brief refered to the distance between teenagers and the world around them, a product which would distract them from their ipads, iphones, portable games and worst of all Facebook.
From the beginning we used different brain storming techniques to ‘warm up’ and then get down to business, shortly after ideas were flowing! By not dismissing silly ideas we felt more at ease with each other and comfortable enough to think more openly. As with most group activities; personalities can class, voices are louder than others or people are shy -however, the post-it brain storming technique worked wonders for us all as we realised we were all evenly making suggestions and considering other people’s ideas.

Our ideas;
We aimed our thoughts to something which would join people together without the use of gadgets and gizmos, something which would help young people connect with their surroundings and even everyday objects which would usually be taken for granted. From the brain storming we began to narrow our ideas to certain key ideas.

Our product should;
Be social -Bringing people together with similar passions
Creative and exciting – Something they can design or custom make to their own personal specifications.
3D Spacial awareness -Paper folding/origami or sculpture
Energetic – Get people interested and willing to further their experience into other similar fields

Something Green – Recyclable, changing the 3D form of something.

Music – One of the major ways of displaying individualty among teenagers is music choice.

From these key points we discussed further and decided on something which embodies all of these ideas focussing on music. Television series/movies such as Glee and High School Musical to (must to my disgust) X Factor have had a huge impact on young people, this is too much of a viral pandemic to not exploit into an opportunity for a positive product for young people: which embodies recycling, social activities, creativity and exciting.

Together we came up with a plan for world domination via a ‘How to -Make your own Instrument pack’! This idea sparked all of our imaginations and grabbed our attention as something we all want to experiment with! We finally created a mind map of all the different aspects of this product, all of which would be a positive influence on young people’s attitude, social skills, creativity, dexterity and hearing -May also encourage teens to take up a real instrument.

We even came up with a name for our group;
The Battle of the Pop-Up Flash Orchestras

A ‘make your own’ instrument pack would encourage young people to look at normal day objects in a different way; see a margarine tub as a guitar, consider stretching different types of fabric to create a drum, elastic bands as strings (giving teens a better understanding of pitch and tuning) to even a wine glass with different markings up the side to relate which note is created when friction is created on the rim.

This product could even be used as a way of connecting people with their current limited social communications, as mentioned in our group meetings, teens could make up bands of these different instruments, practice over skype, create groups on facebook and create band web pages also.

I believe this project is quirky and alternative enough to make a positive influence on the public, the new disconnected/screenless guitar hero. The topic teen rebellion was brought up a lot in our discussions and how better for a teen to rebel by learning and unofficial instrument with almost ‘party-trick’ qualities. This product would inadvertently be teaching young people new skills and perhaps even inspire them to later take up a real instrument.

As for our group project, I’d say it was a massive success.

Rock on  The Battle of the Pop-Up Flash Orchestras!

Special thanks to Alice Kennedy for taking photos used in this post. And a simple thank you for everyone else in my group David Ramsey, Rosie Kimber and Laura Samuel.

Change by Design in Sunny Dunny

As Friday’s go, today was quick and painless! Had a lecture with Johnathan for Change by Design. I was curious as to why we were to bring starburst sweets but thinking of how we are to change our way of thinking I assumed it was to do with colour association. Thankfully the lecture was a lot more interesting and in-depth, there was a consistent flow of interesting information which kept me intrigued throughout.

The main topic which caught my attention was not just blogging but how to network, our guest speaker spoke about how experience and how networking forwarded her in her academic career. She answered my question, how to gain followers, well and in terms I understood. Talk to people, comment on other people’s blogs to grab their attention and interest them enough to look at my own, other ways are to use tags in my posts which will appear in google searches.

Another point about conversation was made, redundant and entropic phrases – redundant  being how you phrase a sentence/question with whistles and bells – entropic, the main reasoning and point of key information. As well as being amusing the comparison between Chinese and English language was an eye opener. The example given was an english question;
‘Are you gaining weight?’
Chinese phrasing translates as;
‘You fat’.
Following this I found myself noticing the small graces I add to my sentences to put others are ease for example I will call a friend; my dear, my love, sunshine etc, some people in the past have found these to be diminutive terms and seeming patronising as opposed to the good intentions of which I use them. In future I should be more careful with my redundant chat!

This afternoon I crashed a Product design induction for woodwork, I thought it was excellent, the facilities, the lecturers and materials. Made me upset and jealous that I’d probably not get the opportunity to use them.. Since I am doing a project on natural pattern I thought it would be valuable to investigate natural and man-made materials like those found in a wood and ceramics workshop. Note to self: find an excuse to do wood work – Change by design? I could make a…

WOODEN GARMENT!

Might resemble something like a wooden/iron maiden.

BRAINSTORMING!
Brainstorming workshop to round off the day, we were set into groups and I met people I would be working with over the coming weeks, little intimidating but a learning curve will have to be conquered as far as pubic group work is concerned. The tasks set were to brain storm fast a furiously about random topics just to break the ice.. All in all enjoyable to meet new people who have similar interests. I have a brief to read over regarding 3D objects, seems vague but the best briefs are so you can interpret them in your own way.

First attempt using post-its: everyone jots down ideas and sticks them to a board.

One person scribes the whole brain storm while poeple fire off ideas no matter how ridiculous.

The tipping point?

For our Change by Design unite I was required to read the book; The Tipping point by Malcom Gladwell, I realise this book was an attempt to broaden our horizons as designers and to convey how a small idea can branch out and influence the world however, the book itself I found rather dull. Yes, it was full of interesting fact, some of which I have already began to tell my friends, but I found the writing style flat at times. The point of the book was evident and clear and served it’s purpose well as an example to use when mind mapping. After a while I found myself going round in circles rather than branching out to new points.

The mind mapping excercise was a success as I can now easily recall areas of the book I couldn’t after finishing it, this might have something to do with not enjoying it as much as other social science books such as Stanley Cohen’s: Folk devils and moral panics: the creation of the Mods and Rockers.

The opening chapters of the book started on a high note and I slowly felt the tipping point of my lack of interest. The topic itself should have been exciting and held my attention all in all I gave it a 7/10.

For our assignment we were asked to create a mind map focussing on different elements of the book we could remember, we were to show this via the new mind mapping techniques we had learned in Friday’s workshop.

Then we were asked to create a second going into further detail, at this I felt rather laboured as I had already lost myself in a lot of detail in the first attempt and felt I was repeating myself. I do think I have analysed the key points ‘Law of the Few’.

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