Summer reading and other plans

Over the summer I am planning to get a lot done, from sorting my blog to connecting with other people. But to start, I plan on reading some books that interest me. Here are the books I am planning on reading over the summer period.

Blink- Malcolm Gladwell
From reading Gladwell’s tipping point, I feel that I would enjoy reading another of his books. Blink is about ‘The power of Thinking without Thinking’ It looks into how a snap judgement can be far more effective than a cautious decision.

The Art Of Innovation: Success Through Innovation the IDEO Way- Tom Kelly
I came across this book online and I feel it would help me with my creative thinking. Tom Kelley shows behind the scenes of his widely imaginative company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit.

Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity- Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono shows how to stimulate the mind in new and exciting ways. This book should show me how to approach problems from different angles and offer solutions that are as ingenious as they are effective.

Back of the napkin- Dan Roam
Dan Roam looks at an idea that interests me, the use of pictures and drawings to help translate and sell ideas.

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck- Chip and Dan Heath
Chip and Dan Heath isolate the six factors that make ideas ‘stick’. They show what we can all do to make sure that our own ideas register with others.

While reading these books I plan to completely re-think my blog. To start I am going to create a totally new layout, and hopefully this will give it a more professional look. I will also create tags at the side of the page so that it is easier to find certain things on my blog. My blog will also be linked to a tumblr account which I will use as a visual diary of things that interest and inspire me. I have had an Etsy account for a long time, but have never done anything with it. So I plan to get this up and running, then I will link it to my blog and hopefully make some sales of my jewellery. Finally I will be posting a lot more on my blog and get into the habit of posting every day.

In-between all of this I will also try to connect with the following people.

Sheila Fleet – Who is a jewellery designer and maker based in Orkney. I have met her before in Orkney and we talked a lot about jewellery. She offered me to come to Orkney one summer for some ‘hands on’ experience in a jewellery workshop. I will contact her through email and hopefully spend a week with her company.

Benjamin Lignel – Who is a French jewellery and furniture designer based in London. I received him as my designer for the research project. I emailed him a few weeks ago but he was very busy, so I plan to get in touch with him through the summer as I would like to know where he gets his inspiration from.

Lisa Maclean – Co creator of Jude magazine which is a quarterly magazine/online community/live events. I will do this through Facebook and email.

Kate Pickering – Jewellery designer and creator of Vanilla Ink, this is a programme which aims to help and support jewellery graduates. This lasts one year and provides help for the graduates and space to work in. Again this will be done through Facebook and email.

Stu Hepcat – This is a tattoo artist who is based in Glasgow. I was offered an apprenticeship in his studio last summer, so I plan to keep in touch with him as the offer is still on the table for when I finish my studies. I will go into see him in the studio personally.

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Assignment 5: Planning for the future

It is recognised that certain areas of our environment have higher rates of crime than others because of there design. I would like to further research this idea of ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental design’ or ‘CPTED’. Can the crime rates of an area be improved with the use of designers, or is it simply a bad community that cannot be changed? From having studied a number or articles in the past from Timothy D. Crowe, Diane L. Zahm, Susan Greason and Paul R. Wilson, I believe that CPTED is something that we should be using throughout our communities as an aid against crime. To fully understand what communities need from designers, I propose to research different aspects of communities and there surrounding environments by collecting primary evidence through the use of appropriate methods.

My first and foremost method for collecting evidence, would be to set up a series of interviews with members of different communities. Collecting appropriate and accurate information would be key for my research. From experience, I find that it is best to use ‘mind mapping’ to develop an interview. A mind map helps with the flow of ideas and ultimately helps to achieve suitable questions for the interview. The use of this design tool lets the less obvious ideas and questions flow which can then be brought forward for the interview. ‘Change your life’ by Tony Buzan is a very interesting book which explores the use mind mapping and how useful it is to use for these situations. This mind map can be done as an individual, or it could be taken on by a group which would bring even more ideas and questions forward. These interviews would be in a Semi-structured form, it would follow a plan but could deviate to follow up interesting comments in more detail. It would be held with members of communities from varied age groups, probably varying from early teens all the way to the elderly. Having such a broad selection of people to interview will help me to see how everyone living in these communities are affected by there environment and other people living in there community. Thus giving the appropriate and accurate information which I need. The interviews would be held in these peoples homes within community that they live in with a relaxed atmosphere, to help receive honest opinions and answers.

One problem with interviewing people in the community may be that, I do not get definite answers about whether design can help fight crime rates in these communities. People may be influenced by peers and not answer the questions honestly. To solve this problem I propose the use of a separate series of interviews aimed at ex-criminals who have committed crimes in different communities. This should give me a clear idea of why people commit crimes in communities and how environmental design can help stop these crimes from happening in the first place. In these interviews with the ex-criminals, I would use images of different areas in communities where the rate of crime is high, to help understand what makes these areas an ‘easy target’, or what it is about these areas that encourages people to commit these crimes in the first place, against images of areas which have a low crime rate. The images would help me see exactly why these crimes are easily committed and why the criminals are rarely caught. Also, the images of areas with a low crime rate may highlight where environmental design has come into use to prevent crime in the past.

In ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design’ by Timothy D. Crowe and Diane L. Zahm, they argue that “Crime prevention need not amount to building isolated walled and fenced communities. On the contrary, the same design techniques that make communities more attractive and more neighbourly can also prevent crime.” From this I have realised that how communities act toward one and other may be affected by there surrounding environments. Also this would have an effect on the crime rates of the area, as there may be no sense of the community or ‘looking out’ for one and other. One way of researching this idea, would be the use of ethnography (the study of people in every day situations). Ethnography can show peoples behavioural patters and how they interact with one and other, It also shows the connections they make with the people or objects that surround them. Most people do not realise how they interact with there environments, so the use of ethnography would give truly honest results about how people behave in different communities. For example, a single young person would be less likely to commit a crime in a community than a young person who is surrounded by there peers. Peer pressure and the need to ‘fit in’ with the group would outweigh the consequences of committing the crime, where as if the youth was not in such a large group or on his/her own, he/she would not feel the need to commit the crime and ultimately risk the consequences of there actions.

I feel that this research should start as soon as possible. If this research supports the argument for CPTED then it would be beneficial to start implementing this idea into communities sooner rather than later. By going out to different communities and using the research techniques I have mentioned in a group, I believe that I could accumulate the necessary information in a short period of time. Analysing the results may take a while, because of the amount of interviews, but through working in a group this time would be cut dramatically.

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Assignment 4: GRALI Design!

For assignment 4 myself and grant decided to try a different approach to the task. Our idea was to work together, to design a questionnaire/interview which would give what we felt were better responses.

To design the questionnaire we started by choosing our question which was ‘what objects do people treasure the most and why?’, then we created a mind map to help us come up with more ideas for questions which would give us more feed back and avoiding closed questions. We then took our findings from the mind map, and individually created a questionnaire. After this we used the design service tool ‘role play’ and asked each other our questions to find out which questions were best suited for the interview. Some of our questions were similar so we chose we chose the question that gave us a more in depth response. Our final questions were as follows:

1. Which object(s) do you treasure the most?

2. How did you obtain this object?

3. Describe your attachment to this object.

4. Do you treasure your object more because of its monetary or sentimental value, or both?

5. If both, what outweighs more, monetary or sentimental value?

6. How would you feel if your object was lost, stolen or damaged and why?

7. How do you feel when you interact with this object?

With the first few interviewees we struggled to get an answer for the fist question, so we then amended the first question to:

1. Do you have an object which you treasure above any other of your possessions, what is this object?

We conducted four interviews which consisted of two girls and two boys. The objects that were the most treasured were: a photograph, an iphone, a bed and a playstation 3. We initially noticed differences between the male answers and the female answers. This was that the males both chose electrical items ( iphone and playstation 3) which helped them deal with every day life. The females on the other hand both chose items which had a greater effect on there emotions.

We found that the boys had a few similarities, which were that if the item had to be replaced, given a short period of time, they would feel the same for the new object as it still offered the same service as the original. Both of the males said that they get a thrill from using it. Whether to listen to music, talk to friends, or to play games. Without there objects they feel that they would be lost. The only one disagreement was that the playstation was used as an escape from reality. This interviewee is a wheelchair user and uses these games to ‘live’ as an able bodied person. The iphone user was I complete contrast as he used his phone to stay in touch and keep up to date with what is going on in his life.

As with the males, the females also had similarities. Both the photograph and the bed cannot be replaced if stolen or damaged, our interviewees felt that they would be upset if this happened. The objects both had a great deal of sentimental value, but the value differs for each object. The photograph has sentimental value because it is of a family member who is no longer with them. Where as the bed gains its sentimental value from being repaired by the user and is unique only to them. Both these objects pull on the users emotions more than the males objects. But again the type of emotion the user feels is different. The photograph evokes emotions of sadness for her loss but also happiness because of the memories. The bed on the other hand help to remove negative emotions and anxieties which creates a calm and relaxing frame of mind.

One of our interviewees, after getting rather emotional about his attachment to his object, he then reminded us both that ‘at the end of the day, it’s only an object’, we found this interesting because it’s not the object that’s important, it’s the memories behind it.

We both agreed that our memories are more significant than an inanimate object, as they can be broken, lost or changed as society evolves. Where as our memories are uniquely personal to us and never change.

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Assignment 3: Secondary site, Coffee house

I have chosen a high street coffee house as my secondary site for observation. I definatly felt more comfortable observing people here, I think it was because I ‘fit in’ more than when I was at the bingo. When I opened the door I was instantly greeted with the aroma of fresh coffee. I made my way to the counter to buy a coffee, there were a few people in front of me who had formed a cue. But why had they formed a cue here, in this way? There were no signs which indicated where to cue, but people did so in an organised fashion, no pushing or trying to get served first. When I finally received my coffee, after a lot of different options, I made my way to a seat quietly. The people I were observing were from all ages. I found that everyone there were rather quiet and well mannered. One woman’s phone went off in her bag, which was to great embarrassment. She quickly found the phone and answered it in a very rushed and quiet way. Other onlookers seemed to just smile and nod at her, which seemed like an acceptance of her apologize for disrupting them. The whole atmosphere of the coffee house was very relaxed. I think that most of the people who came in for there coffees and sat in were there to relax and unwind. After a while a couple of young teenage girls came in and sat in the corner who seemed to be very hyper and giggly. This did not go down well with the others in the shop. I noticed one older woman in particular who kept glaring at them, as if to tell them off. I enjoyed making these observations, in the environment of a coffee house. I did not feel uncomfortable about taking notes about people as I did at the bingo. This is probably because there were others writing and reading aswell.

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Assignment 3: Bigo, primary site

So, as part of assignment 3, I chose to practice my ‘ethnography’ in the Mecca bingo hall in Dundee. To play a game in the hall you must register, so I went a couple of days before we actually played. When I arrived, I think I had a very steriotypical image of a bingo hall in my head. Was I wrong or what? I thought it would have been a dinjy dirty hall that smelt of soap and piss. But when I ventured through the doors, I was welcomed by an imaculate, highly polished staircase and mirrord walls. In between the stairs was a small elivator, I guessed that this was for the masses of elderly standing outside. So my enitial steriotypical image was wrong. When I got to the top of the stairs I went to the front desk to register. The woman who greeted me was very helpful and seemed very happy about doing it. One thing that surprised me about the registration form was that it asked if I was a smoker or non-smoker. Why do they need to know this? I feel that whoever designed this entrance and service knew what they were doing. As soon as you walk in you feel excited about being there because of all the lights and ‘glam’.

A small group of us went to the bingo on Thursday night as it is the ‘free’ night. Note the ‘free’. There is no way you can enter the place and not spend money. When you are receiving your ‘book’ to play, you are offered other extra games and offers, which cost anything from one to ten pounds. The bar sells very cheep drink and there is also a kitchen which will bring your food to you. During the interval there are electronic bingo games on your table which cost a pound to play. Jackpots for these games can hit five hundred pounds. When we arrived we signed in which was a very quick and simple swipe of our membership cards. We were then asked if we were new to the game by what looked like the manager, a very ‘always happy to help’ camp man. As we had never been before he showed us around and demonstrated how to play game with a few hints and tips. So once again we were welcomed with open arms by the staff. We found a seat on the top floor which seemed like good place to observe our fellow ‘bingoers’. I would say that most of the customers were elderly women only a few elderly men, I think this could be a generation thing. Elderly men feel that its a bit ‘girly’ and ‘camp’ to go to the bingo. Dotted through out the elderly there were a few groups of middle aged women and couples, also there was a group of people my age. But this could be others from the Design Studies course, although I did not recognise there faces.

During our time spent, I observed a couple sitting next to us, who were middle aged and looked like they were from a working class background. The male was sitting reading his ‘news paper’, I don’t think the sport counts as a newspaper. Both the couple stayed very silent and when they did talk they only whispered. During an interval the male went to the kitchen area and ordered food which was brought to them by a member of staff. There didn’t seen to be much thanks for this. One of my group managed to get ‘a line’ which would have resulted in winning ten pounds. She didn’t manage to shout loud enough to stop the game, which I think was down to nerves about what to shout out or how loud. What is acceptable, what isn’t? Because she did not shout loud enough, another member of the group shouted out, which was too late. As it was too late she never won her ten pounds. This had caused an unwelcome stop to the game, which was definitely frouned upon by the regulars. During the interval we decided to play a game on the table. To do this we needed change, which was very easy. To do so you just put your hand up, and a member of staff will come across to give you change with no disruption.

After leaving the bingo, my heart was racing after all of the excitement. I also felt that I could happily go back and play again. This made me realise that the whole service of the ‘bingo experience’ was very well designed.

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Assignment 3: Design Safari 3A

For the first part of this assignment we were to look at which surprisingly enough is a site dedicated to service design tools and examples of them in use by designers. The site took a while to get used to and understand which I found surprising as it is dedicated to service design… but I eventually got my head round it. A lot of the ideas and examples on the site were slightly confusing because of the way it was worded, which we have discussed in previous lectures with Jonathan. I’m starting to get the ‘language of designers’ or ‘jargon’ into my head, but I still have a bit of studying and practice to go. Never the less I did find the site very interesting with some good ideas that I could practice in the future. I cannot really relate a lot of the ideas to what I have done this year, as none of our briefs were to design something for a certain client. I did find some that could have been useful during our reviews thou. In my reviews I have sometimes found it difficult to get my ideas across to others and then totally misunderstood. Here are just a few examples.

Rough prototyping: A quick method to build prototypes using all the objects and materials available in that specific moment and location. These elements are used to simulate the service components in order to better explain an idea in front of the other members of the team.
It is a tool supporting the visualization of ideas and a way to be sure that all the members of the team are talking about the same thing. It also contributes to make the process of design more interactive and concrete.

The mock up: A model, an illustration or a collage describing an idea. At the beginning of the design process, the mock up is mainly made through the use of photomontages, created with photos of existing situations, products or services combined with other elements. During the next phases the mock up get more and more realistic, till they become real prototypes representing the main features of the project.

Also I feel that I need to work on my sketchbooks more, as a lot of the time designs pop into my head and I never really write them, or draw them into my sketchbooks. Instead I just keep them in my head and create the final piece. I think this is a big problem when it comes to reviews of my work as I cannot describe my ideas that I have had as they are in my head. If I had just made a note of them at the time, others would be able to clearly see where my design process had taken me.

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The catwalk project has been completed!

Here they are, my final pieces for the catwalk project. My pieces have been based on sexism and advertisements towards woman in the 1950’s. The pieces show the attitude of people in the 1950’s, which was that woman’s place is in the home. Women had images thrown in there faces from advertisements of cooking, cleaning, doing the ironing, looking after the kids etc. This is where alot of my insperation for this project came from.

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