FIELD LEVEL 5 REFLECTIONS

FIELD 1 ; INDUSTRIAL DESIGN 

 Having felt disheartened by my first year experience of field, I was apprehensive to begin this module despite having selected it as an option. I couldn’t have been more wrong – I developed a passion for Industrial Design during this module so much so that it made me doubt my choice of product design at one point. This module taught me how to submerge myself in different ways of design thinking and styles from week to week as well as how to adopt different methods of design approach as well as selecting best methods for design communication/presentation. Through doing this, I widened my skill set in presentational techniques and perfected my ability to choose which style best to present my work from week to week eg through sketch, digital sketch, CAD etc. This also gave me opportunity to improve on some of my weaker skills eg CAD and even adopt whole new skills for instance, digital sketch. I liked the fast pace, layout, teaching style and demands of the module as well as the mixture of tasks given both group and individual constantly developing new ideas and gaining constructive feedback – a mixture of these benefited me in working to my best ability/workload while still finding it interesting and enjoyable.

Although I’m proud of my workload from this project, if I were to do it again, I’d certainly have pushed myself to explore CAD and digital sketch as a tools for development sooner in the process rather than letting them intimidate me. This would have also allowed me to produce a better final render in the penultimate week – this is the only part that I’m not so pleased with due to lack of time and skill, I wasn’t able to present my final idea to my best ability.

FIELD 2 ; BEYOND THE BARCODE 

This module focused on learning to understand the importance of whole business design/knowledge in order to apply this developed understanding in designing and developing my own business idea. I have always had a keen interest in business hence selecting this module however, I was nervous on commencing due to having no previous experience or knowledge in this field and being within a group of predominantly fashion students. Having begun developing some of my own business ideas in my spare time, I decided to brave it and take one of these ideas forward for this module rather than playing it safe and designing a freelance style service as did many of my peers. I was nervous to do this due to it being a theme very personal and close to me, it took a lot of confidence to be so honest and open to the group in my first presentation but it certainly paid off. I surprised myself most out of all during this project, I fully submerged myself in it and developed a huge passion for the idea I was developing, going above and beyond to develop my ideas and continue working on it in any spare time (alongside a hospital admission for a chunk of the project). Through the different workshops, presentations and support from various professionals I developed a breadth of new knowledge in this subject area that I was able to apply and develop for my own ideas.

I am most proud and passionate about this project over all this year and have continued working on it in my spare time with great success. It has helped me begin making huge decisions and plans about the direction I would like to take my third year work and career path post university.

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LIVE PROJECT ; THE PARSNIPSHIIP

I was very much excited to kick start the year with a live project which consisted of a very new and alternative brief to anything that we’ve explored before. The brief asked that we worked in mixed groups to develop a new and quirky ‘on the go’ packaging design for a local sustainable, vegan and vegetarian food company – The Parsnipship. It was lovely that the staff from the company presented the initial introduction and brief so that we could get a real feel for who they were, what they were about and what it was they wanted of us. It was also great to see and taste the products that we were designing packaging for for similar reasons – I really appreciated and found this hugely beneficial in kick starting the project despite both themes of packaging and food/vegan food design being very new to me.

I started the project conducting huge amounts of both primary and secondary research into the various elements of the brief for example, existing food packaging examples, the company themselves, sustainability, visiting shops such as Pughs garden centre to research and gain inspiration as well as conducting a survey which focused on all consumers including vegan and vegetarians in order to gain a better understanding for the consumer and the existing market. This also helped me better understand the brief and get a feel for the way I might start designing. This research also helped me underpin what was lacking in current areas of this market as well as what could be improved on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ideation stage of this project – I tried not to limit my ideas and be as creative as possible continuously looking back to my research for guidence and information as well as gaining feedback from my group which consisted of 2 male, BSC students and 2 female BA students. One thing I would say is that there was a fairly clear divide in the group which became more apparent as the project progressed which made communication and decision making a little difficult at times. Some team members were a lot less open to exploration and chose a final design far too early on in the process I’d say. I definitely think that we could have better explored and taken forward some of my organic shapes from the beginning and perhaps I should have pushed for this even more at the time – this element was certainly a learning curve in terms of group work and occasions when it sometimes isn’t quite as successful. I really enjoyed and appreciated the teaching styles and different inputs during this project, I felt like it was really beneficial in taking the project through the stages from research and ideation through to manufacture and final presentation. Despite designing a food packaging sounding like quite a fun and straight forward process, there were many elements that we had to consider for example, ergonomics, the display of adequate information, how the product would be accessed, how the internal product might be seen, the manufacture, build and adhesive of the product and so on… I certainly feel like we could have better clearly allocated each other roles during the project in order to ensure that all of these elements and the rest were covered and done to our best abilities rather than lying in the uncertain a lot of the time due to different members having different understandings and ideas.

Taking our decided design through to more developed stages of modelling, prototyping and testing was really exciting and far more advanced than what we had done previous. We bought one of the Parsnipship’s food products in order to test in our prototypes which was really useful as well as taking our prototypes to relevant shops such as Bean Freaks in order to test them on the shelves there and gain some feedback from the staff and customers. We also had the privilege of using PEL for the first time as a means of user testing and research which was an incredible tool to get to see and be hands on with experimenting with. We used our own images from our research to place into PEL to analyse and visualise what our product as a food packaging would look like on the shelves next to its competitors and whether consumers would be drawn to it or not (determining its potential success). This means of virtual product testing was extremely insightful and useful and certainly a big thing I have taken from this particular project.

We further experimented our designs external print and aesthetics by using various colour waves, fonts, sizes and print until we were happy with the aesthetic from a commercial, cost, sustainability and aesthetic perspective. This also gave us variation to demonstrate and pitch in our final presentation to the Parsnipship having chosen to use screen printing and die cutting as manufacturing methods with a home made sustainable PLA as an adhesive. Preparing to present back to The Parsnipship after all our development and hard work was rather daunting and felt extremely professional. We worked hard to perfect our presentation techniques, design booklet and prototypes in aim of being best organised and prepared as possible. I actually really enjoyed preparing and presenting in this way, I felt like we worked well in executing the final presentation and that it was a brilliant opportunity to practice for future opportunities.

All in all, I felt like this project was an enjoyable and interesting experience packed with lots of new information and opportunity to kick start the second year despite some of the problems previously discussed. Looking back, the project is even more appealing to me now than it was initially and I’d really like to revisit something similar in the near future in order to produce a really high quality, successful outcome. Despite this, I am pleased with mine and the groups general workload/presentation despite there being things that I would certainly revisit, improve on, work better collaboratively and change if the opportunity arose again. 

 

 

 

ROBOT PROJECT UPDATE

Although I feel as if I’ve been extremely reflective in terms of my work, tutorials and group work with Adam during this project, I felt like I’ve lost sight of my blog due to the workload and having multiple different things ongoing.

However, I feel like through my design booklet, final portfolio and final presentation(s) these reflections and the journey I’ve taken within my work will become clearer.

Since my last blog post for this project, we have come a rather long way. We stuck with the toilet seat shutting mechanism and have been through multiple iterations, conversations, tutorials and bumps in the road since. Having initially simplified our idea to a fairly basic mechanism (we both knew it was very basic and were unsure of how we felt with it but were rather confused in the electronics of complicating it), we made a last minute decision after all of our successful and unsuccessful developments/experimentation to add electronics into our design. This has meant that we have had an even higher workload during the last couple of weeks of the project to complete this and that we have had to compromise some things to get this done. However, in terms of meeting the brief from a mechanism perspective, we have worked to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and develop something more complex. If we had more time following this, I’d certainly have liked to work on creating a better outer aesthetic for the products casing. I’d also have pushed myself to try and better understand and be involved with some of Adams aspects of the project.

I have been rather unwell for a large majority of this project meaning that my design booklet isn’t quite as dense as I’d have liked it to have been. Despite this, I am both pleased and proud that I’ve pushed to complete and submit all work on time. However, despite this, I am  generally pleased with my efforts during this project in pushing into a rather gimmicky, comic style of design also considering design for manufacture and mechanisms. I am aware that my work may not present as beautifully as usual or as much in terms of workload however, I feel like I have benefitted from this project in a much different way – it has been a huge learning curve and eye opener from a BA to a BSC perspective with consideration of electronics, mechanisms and design for manufacture. I have learned so much that I will take forward into consideration for future projects which will be extremely useful moving forward to my third years projects. Despite not enjoying this project as much, and feeling like the project was more BSC orientated I have enjoyed the process, the mixture of teaching methods and the chance to work in mixed pairs.

PDP – Personal Development Plan

 

Level 5 constellation has certainly felt more purposeful. Having finished Level 4 with much confusion, lack of enjoyment and, motivation for the module, I was apprehensive for Level 5. However, I was pleased to discover that Level 5 consisted of a slightly different dynamic with term 2 allowing more freedom for the type of avenue wished to explore not only in theme, but in method of presenting/academically writing too.

 

A mixture of my first term study group, Relational Ways of Knowing, with the second terms Research Proposal’s focused tutorials, tailored both in groups and on a one to one basis, have grounded a lot of my understanding and knowledge in terms of the wider purpose of constellation and how it links not only constellation study groups, but to Field, and Subject modules too to ground all of my skills and knowledge as a practicing creative professional in order bring everything together to write a purposeful Research Proposal that not only means something to me but, I can also take forward when entering the world of work. Having undertaken a module titled ‘Beyond The Barcode’ during Field, I developed a passion for business and combining my Subject of Product Design giving me the ability to create a brand for for my product(s) as well as other parts of a business such as financing and marketing. I was then able to channel this new found passion into my Constellation work in developing a business plan that I genuinely enjoyed researching and writing about. Not only that, but I can then take and use this plan in moving forward after my degree giving me the ability to start my own business as a career. And if not, having an intuitive piece of work such as a business plan is a great thing to show an employer too. I feel like I have certainly developed and built upon many skills during the course of this module. Being introduced to a new topic during the first subject group and new methods for analysing sources/case studies in a methodological way certainly helped me enabling me to apply these skills in my own piece of writing and research. I now know little tricks in helping with this academic writing such as having the ability to identify sections of sources that will be most helpful rather than reading and highlighting a whole book as I did before. I enjoyed and benefited from the mix of case studies such as The White painted trees of Kefelonia, Stuat Walker’s ‘sustainable by design’ and the Eleanor Hawkins examples – although all very different, these helped ground my ideas and understandings as well as got me thinking in different ways and analysing different styles as well as having the ability to work with and learn from a mix of different practice groups seeing what ideas and thought process’ different people brought to the table.

 

Moving onto my critical writing piece for the first term, I decided to write a piece titled ‘The Gucci Stoma Bag’ which explored how looking at a design problem from animistic, naturalistic and ecological views that I developed understandings for during the study group, could conclude how, or how not, the use of these different views could be used as a tool for improved empathetic design. I really enjoyed finally having some freedom over my topics for discussion and the ability to relate it back to something of interest and personal to me.

 

Taking on board my feedback comments along with my own personal reflections, I decided that I was confident in some of my ideas and was able to relate to the overall theme. However, I feel like I could have better connected with the topic and some of the points I made for discussion. I could have expanded and better argued them with stronger context and case studies – I feel that this was partly down to the fact that some of these theories, vocabularies and ideas were very new to me for example the animistic, ecological and naturalistic views. I still felt partly distanced from what they actually meant to me and what I actually wanted to be writing about.

 

It was also clear from my own reflections and from my feedback that I needed to better some of my academic writing skills and include more detail in my references as well as a bibliography. In moving forward, I’ve attended a tutorial with Martha Ashford, our librarian, and been using the website Cite them Right as a tool for referencing correctly. I’ve tried to correctly include all relevant details within my work this time around as well as having provided a bibliography. I understand that this still may not have been executed perfectly however, I certainly feel more confident in this area and that I have a better understanding of academic writing in the style that the university work within. I feel like my writing, researching and working style has definitely developed from that of Alevel and my previous constellation submissions to where it is now in developing my research proposal.

 

I now feel very differently towards constellation, I can appreciate the theories and methods taught over the last year or two despite not having completely understanding or connecting with them on occasions. I remember Martyn Woodward telling us to trust the process, stick at it and eventually, we’d reap the rewards – I feel this very true of constellation as a whole now having written my Research Proposal and moving forward to writing my dissertation I can appreciate the process and feel equipped in moving forward independently.

 

I plan to be ahead and organised in moving forward with the writing of my dissertation piece itself, I have already identified some additional further reading and sources that I plan to use in order to create what I feel is the best piece of research/writing that I can in order to answer my question. I plan to continue building upon what I’ve learned and submitted during my Easter and Summer breaks, so that I return at level 6 confident and prepared to finish and submit my dissertation piece.

Friday 15th March

Questions for Martyn;

TUTORIAL FRIDAY 15THMARCH – QUESTIONS FOR MARTYN

 

  • Do all sources and research methods have to be identified at this point with no further allowance for modification/addition/adaption?
  • Does it make a difference whether I decide now or post submission whether it’s a business plan or not?
  • Should I focus on ‘medical’ design, the stoma bag example as before or, wearable medical products?

 

 

Is learning journal for whole year or just proposal writing?