Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Design Studies - Assignment 4

Designing the Interface Between Dementia Patients, Caregivers and Computer Based Intervention

The main purpose of this article is to ‘demonstrate how our multidisciplinary, user-centred approach to design for computer-based assistive tools for people with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) can support progressive, non pharmacological intervention and promote improved quality of life in dementia care environments.’ Therefore the key question being posed is whether this can ‘satisfactorily meet the particular needs of our target demographic, that is people with dementia, their family and caregivers.’

Important information raised in this article is that AD is a growing health problem, due to the aging population. AD patients struggle with their short-term memory, leading to loss of communication, a sense of detachment and feelings of distress. The article highlights that long-term memory is retained, and when given the appropriate stimulation patients can have the ‘capacity to iterate complicated stories from their formative years’. The article therefore investigates which types of archival material and which forms of media are most successful in stimulating long-term memory.

Medical journals make up the majority of secondary sources cited. These cover music therapy, psychosocial interventions and the effect of the environment. Primary research was invaluable to this project. An advisory group was established with members from Dundee Social Work Department and Alzheimer’s Scotland to help achieve an ‘iteractive approach.’ Prototype evaluation/ testing took place with AD patients and caregivers within different care facilities. Studies were also carried out into the impact AD has on communication; video filming to record the findings. Finally questionnaires were also developed for feedback from relatives and caregivers.

The article concludes by stating that computers are an effective tool in ‘supporting older people with dementia-related cognitive impairment.’ This generation will have had little interaction with computers but a well designed system has proven to be beneficial. It highlights that due to today’s technological lifestyle, the seniors of tomorrow will be adapt to using such devices. Therefore assuming that computers will pay a bigger role in the future.

The key concepts we need to understand in this article are that patients with AD are subject to ‘dehumanization.’ There are types of intervention in place but these can be time consuming, require organisation and collection/storage of items. The reader must understand that this is article relates to one specific group, therefore conclusions made apply to this group only. Further research would have to be conducted to investigate the benefits to other groups.

The reader may question whether the author has considered whether or not the participant’s have given honest answers. If the answers are not true then the results will not be accurate.

If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that dementia sufferers could benefit from the use of computer-based intervention. The author suggests further research into this type of care, so that it will have a positive impact on future generations. However if we fail to take the author’s line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that AD patients will continue to suffer ‘dehumanization’ due to lack of time, resources and staff required to carry out current low tech interventions.

The main points of view presented are that AD can cause patients, care givers and families distress. Current intervention is not always available, therefore this new system could be a beneficial. The use of photographs, video, music and interactive games can all help to increase communication.

Media, Gender and Identity – Representation of Gender in the Past

The main focus of this chapter is to investigate how gender was previously represented in the media. It evaluates the roles that were adopted by men and women in regards to TV, film, magazines and advertising. Therefore the key question being addressed is how has ‘ the representation of gender changed since the middle of the previous century?’

The key points raised in this chapter are that in regards to film and TV men and women were usually portrayed in traditional and sexist roles. Men were usually given assertive roles whilst women were played a more passive character. This stereotypical approach towards gender was also seen throughout magazines and advertising during this time. However a gradual change did occur with the launch of new women’s magazines and the increase in the number of women given central roles on TV.

This book draws on a number of secondary sources with information from numerous authors and critics being quoted. Content is drawn from books and journals, which explore gender representation, portrayal of women and stereotyping. This is in addition to findings gathered from a mixture of case studies and content analysis. During this chapter there was no evidence of information gathered from primary sources, this was due to the author drawing on conclusions made from previous studies, papers and reviews.

The conclusions in this article are ‘that the mass media used to be very stereotyped in its representation of gender.’ Not only were there a greater number of male characters on TV and film, they were shown to be more intelligent and courageous than their female counterparts. Magazine and advertisements of this era tended to use these female stereotypes also. However over the decades the use of the housewife image did begin to decrease. The launch of Cosmopolitan magazine, with its ‘assertive and sexually frank approach’ heralded the changes which we would see develop in more recent media.’

The key concepts needed to understand the author’s line of reasoning are that mass media provides the public with numerous images of men and women. These portrayals may then feed in and challenge our ideas about gender. It must also be noted that this chapter and therefore conclusion is based on a ‘simplified overview of the general trends in representation of gender.’ It is not an in-depth analysis and the conclusion only relates to the information mentioned.

The main assumption underlying the author’s line of thinking is that the studies, which are referred to, are accurate. If the results from these investigations were not accurate the conclusions drawn from them would be invalid.

This chapter looks only at the history of gender representation, it does not give future recommendations. Therefore, if we take the author’s line of reasoning seriously, readers will gain a better knowledge of how gender was previously represented. If we don’t take this line of reasoning seriously we will fail to understand how gender representation has developed into what is seen today.

The main points of view presented are that the media was very stereotyped in its portrayal of gender. The chapter focuses on the female role and how this has evolved over the years. It highlights the external factors that had an impact on this and provides knowledge on what led to the current image of women seen today.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Magdalen Magazine

I have just finished having a read through the latest issue of the magdalen magazine, a magazine made by students for students. I may be a little biased since I know a few of the people who help put it together but I thought it was quite an interesting little read! This issue covered many areas, including music, science and travel. It managed to create a good balance by discussing serious topics such as the cuts alongside lighter stories such as the xfactor. It is also a good resource for finding out what is happening across the university, so I would definitely pick up a copy and have a read.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Christmas Lights

As December approaches Christmas lights are beginning to make an appearance in town centres across the country. However one city has decided to ditch fairy lights, flashing snowmen and glowing reindeer for something rather more exciting. In Derby a new technology is being experimented with, it uses 'banks of computerised lighting controls, streets and buildings can now seemingly be made to move, dance and even disappear.'

I was really impressed with some of the effects that can be created, this new technology uses buildings as artwork. Shape and colour is used to make the buildings come alive.

Take a look at the video http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11755177

Monday, 15 November 2010

Vitamin Packaging

I blogged previously about the Roses project, and how I was yet to decide whether to rebrand vitamins or ink cartridges. I have since decided to redesign vitamin packaging as I think they are often hard to identify and poorly package.

When I went to buy vitamins a few weeks ago, I struggled to find the one I needed as the type on the packaging is so small therefore one of the key areas I am going to focus on is clarity. I want the typography to be bold and clear, making the product easy to identify. This will also be helpful to older generations, whose sight may be impaired.

I would also like to rethink what the outer packaging looks like. I find that it isn't always easy to dispense one single vitamin tablet, and you often have to open a box then unscrew a bottle before you can even think about taking the tablet. So I have been looking into packaging that has a pouring spout, as well as the smint packaging which dispenses a single mint at a time. Perhaps this same concept could be applied to vitamin packaging, making it easier to use.

After speaking to my tutor I have also to start thinking about the promotion of this product. Unfortunately I haven't seen a lot of vitamin promotion in the past so will have to do a little research to see which methods have been used in the past. I think point of sale, magazine inserts or television adverts might be the way to go.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nature Channel

For one of our projects this semester, we have been asked to create an ident for a television channel. We were all split into pairs, so that we each have a partner to work on the project with. I am working with Niki, and we decided that we wanted to design an ident for a nature channel. It was important for us to look into idents that already exist to gain some inspiration for our own project. We found an example of an ident on youtube which uses Adobe Flash. Neither of us have a great deal of knowledge or experience using this application so taking on this kind of work is challenging for both of us. After coming up with storyboards for our idents we got to work. We are working on individual idents so that we can have 2 or hopefully 3 completed for the deadline. The ident I am working on features flowers growing and a butterfly moving across the screen. Sounds simple, but it is proving very difficult! I have so far been able to make my flowers grow and the wings of my butterfly flutter, so progress has been made. I am hoping to animate my logo and apply sound to my ident within the next few weeks so I will keep you updated of my progress.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


As I took my morning stroll through the Mathew building I was presented with a new set of posters put up for the open day. Each poster contains the name of a previous Duncan Of Jordanstone graduate and explains what they are working as now. These students are all success stories and it is quite exciting to read about how successful some of the previous students have been. Many of them are working for award winning agencies or have designed pieces for big names, both in the UK and internationally. I found it quite inspiring and I am sure people coming up for the open day will too!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Supermarket Sweep

Work has started on the Roses Student Creativity Awards Project. 12 agencies have each set a creative brief, students are allowed to choose 1 brief with the hope that their design will win them a work placement at a design agency.

After reading the 12 briefs I decided to choose number 4, a project entitled Supermarket Sweep! I am required to 'walk into any major supermarket. Choose a brand I don't like. Then rebrand, redesign and repackage it.'

So yesterday I went on a little trip to Tesco to try and find a product which I think needs redesigned. After searching up and down every aisle I have been able to narrow down a few possible products. In order to choose a product in the first place I was looking at items which are over packaged, hard to identify and products which are underselling themselves.

At the moment I am interested in redesigning Tesco's range of vitamins as I personally find it difficult to find the kind I am after. All the bottles look similar leaving the customer searching for the one they require. I also found an ink jet cartridge which was probably wrapped in plastic before being packaged in a box, then in protective plastic outer case. Even though these don't sound like the most exciting products I hope to come up with interesting approaches to make their design more effective.


Every morning I walk through the Mathew Building to get to my class. As I was walking through today it was nice to see pieces of furniture on display. These were probably produced by students in either product or interior design, but unfortunately there was no information next to these creations so I am unaware of what the project was. Despite this I think it is always good to see what students in other disciplines are working on.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Banana Carton

I was looking up food packaging online when i found this image. Its a shame that you can't see the entire photograph, but what you can see is pretty cool. Its a japanese carton for a banana flavoured drink, and I think the packaging is doing a very good job at impersonating its contents!

Design Studies - Assignment 3

For Assignment 3 I had to meet with my study group, during reading week, to help each other define an area for our dissertation topics. Each member of the group spoke about what area/s they were interested in researching further. Following this, a mind map was created for each person, drawing on the different knowledge of each team member.

I have personally found it quite difficult to define an area for future research, but have managed to narrow it down to two different topics. I am interested to learn more about the role of the graphic designer and what knowledge they require to work in today's industry.

When asked what area of Graphic Design I would like to go into, my response was a company such as Graven Images, where designers from several disciplines work together on collaborative projects. Therefore this could be an area which I could investigate further; looking at different disciplines, the expectations of clients and the changing needs of the consumers.

However another area that branched of from this central topic was the design theory that graphic designers need to know. For example I am particularly interested to learn about how image and type work together, how colour theory and language barriers effect design (with reference to different countries) and which types of media are most effective in conveying particular messages.

The other area which I was interested in was the topic I looked into during Year 2. During this time I looked at how design can influence/ encourage the public to seek health promoting behaviour. Exploring how different forms of design can change attitudes towards health could be interesting. Even though I think this could be carried through to my personal project in Year 4, my fear is that there might not be enough information on this subject.

After returning from today's dissertation workshop I think I am going to investigate the relationship between health and design further. I was very interested about the topic of alzheimer's disease which was mentioned during the power point presentation and wonder whether this is a route that I could explore further.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Knitting Epidemic

I was reading online that it was national knitting week, a week that will hopefully encourage a new generation of knitters to pick up there needles n make something crafty. Not only was there a piece on the Guardian online which gave you the knitting pattern to make your very own snood, there was an interesting article on the graffiti knitting epidemic.

It reports that there are 'a bunch of 'graffiti knitters' are on the loose in the UK – hellbent on liberating us from the forces of drabness'
The reporter explains the photograph above by mentioning that 'It's a blustery Sunday afternoon on London Bridge and I'm exercising my right – or at least, the right of freemen in 11th-century London – to herd sheep across the Thames. They're not real sheep, thankfully. They're tiny knitted creatures, with spindly legs and multicoloured bodies, and snapping at their heels is a gnarly-looking wolf in sheep's clothing.Confused? Welcome to the world of graffiti knitting, or yarn bombing as it's generally known. If you haven't encountered it before, you might just over the next few days, as knitters across Britain celebrate wool week by "tagging" lamp-posts with knitted doilies, wrapping public statues in scarves and sending knitted animals scurrying about city streets.'

I thought this was a really fun and quirky approach to get the public aware of Nation Knitting Week. Not only does it raise awareness, it makes knitting look fun, I am sure that it will catch the eye of both the young and old. To me, it takes away the misconception that knitting is for grannies, and puts forward the notion that it is young and modern. It suggest to me, that knitting no longer means sitting for hours creating a rather ugly looking woolly jumper, instead you can make little quirky designs, or fashionable pieces such as scarfs, hats n gloves! It genuinely has made me want to buy some wool n make my own scarf for the cold winter months ahead! However since I haven't knitted anything successfully before I should maybe make a start!

Design Studies - Assignment 2

For assignment 2 we had to read all the Wiki entries from our study group and leave a comment on each of them. We were required to state what we learned from the wiki page and what could have been done to make it better. Below is the feedback I gave my group members.

Sarah Finnigan – Education and Design

Prior to reading this entry I was aware of the terms special education and additional support needs. However, I believed these to be systems set up primarily for children with disabilities or learning difficulties such as autism. It was interesting therefore, to discover that additional support extends to social issues such as ethnicity, mental illness and family life.

The background information was helpful to gain an insight into the history of education and how it has evolved over recent years. Key dates and approaches were mentioned which helped to visualise the progress, which has been made over the years.

In relation to design this Wiki page has taught me how creative thinking has been applied to both the educational system, teaching tools and the learning environment. Finding out about sensory rooms and educational facilities designed to teach life skills such as cooking and gardening was something I found particularly interesting, and an area I would like to learn about further.

Therefore if I could suggest a way to improve this Wiki entry it would be to discuss this subject in more depth, in particular, highlighting the role of designers in this process. It may have been beneficial to know what types of designers work with education professionals to develop these unique learning centres, is it mainly product designers or does it incorporate the work of graphic/ textile specialists?

Connie Lou – Fair Trade and Design

Fair Trade is relatively well known and I had a good understanding of why it was set up, the range of products available and where these goods can be purchased prior to reading this entry. However I was unaware of the history of the movement, where it began and the organisations behind its existence.

Reading the history section of this wiki page was very helpful; by highlighting only the key stages of the movement’s development it was both informative and easy to understand. It taught me about the work undertaken prior to the organisations set up, as well as the key bodies involved in its establishment. I was surprised to learn that Fair Trade is made up of four separate groups that work together to achieve one common goal.

Connections were made between Fair Trade and textile design. I particularly liked the mention of fashion companies who both use and produce products ethically. It was also interesting to learn about current moves to get Fair Trade into the High Street in order to get more members of the public aware and on board.

If I had to suggest ways in which this Wiki page could be made better I would ask for more information on the role of the designer in relation to Fair Trade. Perhaps a mention of the problems and issues textile designers face when trying to create a ethically produced design. Could also discuss the relationship between designers and the organisation, explaining how designers get their designs certified as Fair Trade.

Graeme Kennedy - Biosphere and Technosphere

I was reading the vast majority of the information, on this Wiki page, for the first time, therefore this entry has given me a basic understanding of the biosphere and technosphere. The language used was new to me but everything was explained in simple terms making the subject easier to understand.

The background information was useful as it discussed the subjects in more depth and related them to one and other. It was interesting to learn about the role we, as humans, play in the bigger picture of things. This entry has informed me that developments in technology, introduction of mass production and a changing consumer culture has put a strain on our natural resources.

The questions asked towards the end of the entry do make you think about the role that we play as designers. It made me think about the impact we have on the planet, and what changes we can make to prevent further damage.

In order to improve this Wiki page I would suggest mentioning examples of work, that have already been produced, in response to these environmental concerns. It would be useful to highlight the role of the designer in this process, discussing the steps they have to undertake, types of materials they would have to adopt and problems they would challenge. I would have also liked to know whether this is a problem affecting all areas of design. If so, how would graphic designers, textile designers and jewellery designers tackle such issues.

Jennifer King – Interactivity and Design

The term interactivity and design conjured up images of computer software and products created with the latest advancements of technology. However what this wiki entry has taught me is that the term refers to an interactive experience, it encompasses everything a person interacts with. I now know this does not just relate to digital experiences but also includes products, services and environments.

I found the history section very interesting; learning about the types of interactive design that has been created over the years. I am now aware that everything from pre-historic tools right through to the Internet are pieces of interactive design.

Interactivity in relation to design was well explained. Each step of the process, which interactive designers, go through was discussed clearly. Both the initial considerations and latter physical developments/ tests designers have to deal with were mentioned in detail.

I think this wiki page could have been better if it contained a few more illustrations. It would have been good to see examples of the range of interactive design available. Personally, I would have been interested to learn a little more about the relationship between interactive design and environments, as this is an area that was briefly mentioned, and I know little about.

Ruth Hill – Environmental Sustainability and Design

The definition of environmental sustainability was broken down and explained clearly. I was aware of the term previously, but now know that there is an emphasis placed on designing solutions not only for this generation, but also for the needs of future generations.

The history section of this entry was very helpful as it was easy to understand. It informed me of the various forms of environmental degradation that exist, and what led to their existence. I have learned that hygiene, the ‘chemical industry’ and the industrial revolution were all factors in the degradation of the environment. It was also interesting to learn that our consumer culture plays a major part in this problem, therefore if poorer countries were ever to obtain this quality of life then it would have a devastating impact on the environment.

In relation to design, many of the current environmental designs that exist, were described, with recycling, solar panels and wind power being discussed in depth.
Mention was also given to what considerations designers will have to address in order to create sustainable products. It was good to learn about these subjects as it highlighted the need for well-designed products, which will hopefully solve the problems we, as society, have created.

In order to improve this Wiki entry I think more information could have been given about the role of the designer. I would have liked to know whether designers have to work closely with other agencies/ professional bodies and whether or not they have to meet certain guidelines.

I really liked the image of the handbag made from recycled materials, therefore it would also have been good to see/ read about some of the more unusual products that have been developed in relation to this growing concern.

Aisla McCreadie – Greenwash and Design

Greenwash was a term I had heard of, but wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. Reading the summary section of this Wiki entry has helped me to understand the term fully. It also informed me about the methods that companies use to promote themselves as ‘green.’ I now know that the use of certain words, symbols and imagery are used specifically to create a ‘green’ image.

The history section was also helpful in gaining some background knowledge on this subject. It mentioned key dates in the history of green washing which helped me to visualise its development over time.

It was interesting to learn that over half of ‘green’ advertisements have at least one misleading claim. It was also surprising to find out that this is due to the fact that there are few regulations in place to prevent companies making false claims.

However what I also picked up on from reading this entry is that companies are selling their products as ‘green’ in response to the growing concern for the environment amongst the public. Examples of companies and the green washing techniques they adopt were also highlighted.

If I had to suggest a way in which this entry could be improved it would be to mention whether or not this is an issue which effects other types of designers, not just graphic/ packaging designers. The question was asked; whether designers are responsible for green-washing consumers? Therefore it would have been good to learn of any design agencies who refuse to work with certain companies, opt only to work with actual green companies or choose to produce work which highlights these issues.

David Smith – Design Thinking and Design

I was aware of the term design thinking and how it is related to the design process prior to reading this entry. However reading this definition was helpful as it informed me that term refers to more than the development of a creative solution, it deals with physical and emotional aspects as well as business and marketing opportunities.

I did regard design thinking as a modern concept, however the history section, of this entry, has taught me otherwise. It made me aware that design thinking has been around as long as man walked the earth and continues to be applied to designs today. This section also confirmed that design thinking is applied to make things better, not merely for aesthetic value or profit alone.

It was also interesting to learn about the misconception that good designs are developed after an eureka moment, when in fact designers have to undertake a process of development which requires the consideration of many different aspects.

In order to improve this Wiki page I would have had additional images, showing some of the products/ services that have been successfully developed over the years. It would have also been good to learn about what challenges designers face now that there is a need to produce ethical design. What steps do they have to go through to produce designs that show good design thinking? Finally in order to create good designs do designers work alone, or are they encouraged to work collaboratively with other designers, companies and the public?

Monday, 11 October 2010

If You Don't Ask, U Don't Get

I was watching the news on Friday and was pleased to hear about a surprise guest appearance made at a London school. It was reported that Johnny Depp showed up during a school assembly after one of the pupils at the school wrote to him with an invitation,

'Beatrice, nine, sent a letter to the actor asking for piracy lessons to help lead a mutiny against the teachers. He astonished pupils at the school in Greenwich by agreeing to visit them as Pirates of the Caribbean character Captain Jack Sparrow.' (O, how great it would have been to be a pupil at that primary school).

It just goes to show if you don't ask, then you don't get!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Outdoor Learning

Today we received a lecture entitled the Analysis of Childrens Outdoor Activities: Play and Learning for Sustainability. It may sound like a slightly boring subject at first but I found the content very interesting.

The PHD student who was speaking to us originally graduated with a degree in product design but has since been asked to conduct research into outdoor learning. She was looking into what children can learn from nature and how this can be applied.

Scottish Outdoor Education Centres were the focus of the investigation. They are set up to 'provide high quality learning opportunities that teachers and pupils can trust and enjoy at prices you can afford.' The Centres encourage children to take part in a range of outdoor activities which centre on teamwork and confidence building. The activities range from kayaking, team games, flying foxes to tree climbing.

What this investigation was hoping to find out was how these activities can be improved and how they can be incorporated into the Curriculum of Excellence. The research that was conducted consisted of observation, interviews and drawings. Findings show that activities can perhaps be altered so that children learn about nature, how to cook food, build shelters by taking a journey rather than taking part in staged activities. It is these small steps that can lead to big changes.

I found the talk very interesting, and in particular the fact that it is not related directly to product design. I think it is great to see how looking at something from a creative stance can bring about fresh ideas. It has definitely got me thinking about what topic I can look into for my dissertation, I am going to try and branch out and look at problems which can be improved by design.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Design Studies - Assignment 1

Acts of crime affect the whole of society to varying degrees. The socio-economic impact of crime is high in both monetary terms and the personal and psychological impact it has on individual’s lives. Laws exist to prevent crime from happening, however research has highlighted that adjustments to the penal system are having little effect on tackling this growing problem. (Clarke and Mayhew, 1980) Government bodies have researched alternatives methods to reducing crime and are now working closely with designers to produce creative solutions.

Design has now been internationally recognised as an effective solution to reducing and in some cases even preventing crime. ‘Design has a huge role to play in tackling social problems such as alcohol related violence or bullying in schools.’ (Design Council, 2010) It also endeavours to address offences such as theft, fraud and shop lifting.

A multidisciplinary approach sees designers working alongside manufacturers, criminologists, police and technology experts in order to produce creative and effective solutions to deter or prevent crime. Collaboration with these different fields has led creative professionals to developing a range of goods and services, required to meet both the needs of individuals and communities.
Flyer created to alert customers of the Chelsea clips available in bars, with the intention being to reduce bag theft. Available at http://www.designagainstcrime.com/index.php?q=taxonomy/term/4

History of Crime and Design

Previous research into the key role that design can play on reducing crime has centred mainly on environmental factors. Studies have found that, ‘Urban design can reduce the perceived risk and actual incidence of crime through improved lighting systems, building design and security.’ (Press, et al., 2000)

In response to these findings the ‘Secured by Design’ campaign was established in 1989. Having been developed by a team of senior Crime Prevention Officers, its main goal was to ‘encourage the building industry to adopt recommended crime prevention guidelines in home, estate and commercial design.’ (Secured by Design, n.d) One of the main features of this campaign was the bringing together of various companies, authorities, designers and the general public to achieve this one key objective.

The following year a Home Office Circular reported that ‘the most significant advance has been the widespread adoption of the partnership model – the inter-agency approach to crime prevention.’ (Secured by Design, n.d)

This recommendation has led to the establishment of key partnerships between government bodies and design experts who work together to tackle other areas of crime in which design can have a major impact. Whilst work involved with designing out crime from buildings has continued, over recent years there has been greater emphasis placed on the role that product and graphic design can play in reducing crime.

1999 saw the establishment of Design Against Crime; ‘ a practice led design initiative.’ (Design Against Crime Research Centre, 2009) Originally, established at Central Saint Martins, the project was funded by the University of the Arts and supported by the UK Government and Design Council. In 2005, after recognition for its research into crime and design, it was renamed Design Against Crime Research Centre. The centre aims to ‘reduce the incidence and adverse consequences of crime through design of products, services, communications and environments that are ’fit for purpose’ and contextually appropriate in all other aspects.’ (Design Against Crime Research Centre, 2009)

It promotes the benefits of designing out crime to manufacturers, businesses and the government. It helps resource material and the tools needed by designers to create the products that work as real solutions.

Most recently work between the Home Office Design and Technology Alliance Against Crime and the Design Council led to the creation of a new program entitled Design out Crime in 2007. This project aims to continue the development of innovative solutions for environmental issues such as housing, as well as reducing social problems including alcohol related crime and bullying in schools.

Advances in technology have led to certain products being targeted by new types of crime including theft and fraud. Design out Crime focuses on the manufacture and modification of ‘hot products’ to make them more secure for the user and less attractive to the abuser. Emphasis is also being placed on collaboration with businesses in order to reduce the incidence of shoplifting and to make manufactured products more secure.
Barcode coated with photochromatic ink which changes colour when exposed to UV light. This product can be validated with the light from the checkout scanner. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/challenges/Security/Design-out-crime/Business/

Relevance to design and design process

It has been documented that ‘informed design can be used effectively as a tool for reducing crime associated with environments, products and services through designing in crime reduction measures during the initial stages of the design process.’ (Erol, et al., n.d)

However despite these findings many designers are relatively ill informed of the role that design can play in preventing crime. Those that do, may face several challenges, as manufacturers can often be reluctant to alter products if it is not in their best interest. (Clarke and Newman, 2005)

Focusing on the most recent development of crime prevention, through product design, it is apparent that many of the current design features used to prevent crime are considered to be after thoughts. With security features, being added to a product after creation, rather than during the initial stages of development.

This is where the role of the product designer can play a significant part in the design process. It is essential that in order to prevent crime from happening the opportunity for crime to take place is reduced or even erased. Designers can apply their creativity to produce effective solutions to changing crime problems, at the initial stages of development so that crime prevention is built in to the design.

Consideration has to be placed on creating products that do not compromise on function, aesthetics and cost. Therefore, the challenge these designers face is being able ‘to incorporate good quality design against crime, in ways which makes it likely that the products will be appropriately produced, widely purchased and effectively used.’ (Press, et al., 2001) This objective can be implemented by ‘anticipating, or taking into account of prior experience of the susceptibility of the product as a target or a tool for the commission of crime.’ (Press, et al., 2001)

In order to get crime proof products into the public domain it is essential that manufacturers, police, field experts and the community are willing to work alongside designers. Applying shared knowledge and creative thinking will hopefully lead to products being designed that serve in the interests of the user as well as the manufacturer.

Existing work, where designers have effectively collaborated with other professional bodies have led to the production of tamperproof Dulux paint containers, Sears security car batteries, barrel roofed bus shelters and Colourtag clothes tagging devices. (Design Against Crime, 2002) All designed to either deter crime from happening and/ or heighten public safety.

Even though much progress has been made, crime is not given as much consideration as other social issues, such as disability or the ageing population, in relation to design. This may be down to the limited information available on the subject or due to the fact that it is not an area, which receives great attention in design education.

However, calls to establish better design practice has led the UK Design Alliance to develop an initiative to promote the education of design to pupils at both school and university. Many of the organisations, mentioned previously, encourage educating students the importance of designing in security features to their products, buildings and services. The outcome, hopefully, being that crime prevention will become ‘an integral part of the design process.’ (Design Against Crime, 2002) Ultimately, resulting in users feeling safer, with less reward for abusers and the production of designs, which have an edge over their market competitors.

An advertising campaign entitled Ugly Faces, which aims to deter youths from stealing beauty products. Available from http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/challenges/Security/Design-out-crime/Business/


Clarke, RVG. and Mayhew, P., 1980. Designing out Crime. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

Clarke, R. and Newman, G., 2005. Designing Out Crime From Products and Systems. Devon: Willian Publishing Cullompton.

Design Against Crime, 2002. Streetwise [online]
Available at http://extra.shu.ac.uk/dac/stscene.html [Accessed 25 September 2010]

Design Against Crime, 2002. The Issues [online]
Available at http://extra.shu.ac.uk/dac/issues.html [Accessed 25 September 2010]

Design Against Crime Research Centre, 2009. DAC Background and History [online] Available at http://www.designagainstcrime.com/index.php?q=dacbackgroundandhistory [Accessed 25 September 2010]

Design Against Crime Research Centre, 2009. Design Methodology [online] Available at http://www.designagainstcrime.com/index.php?q=designmethodology [Accessed 25 September 2010]

Design Council, 2010. The Alliance [online]
Available at http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/challenges/Security/Design-out-crime/The-Alliance/
[Accessed 28 September 2010]

Erol, R. Press, M. Thomas, M and Cooper, R., (n.d). Design against crime: awareness in design education, Design Against Crime [online]
Available at http://extra.shu.ac.uk/dac/respub.html
[Accessed 29 September 2010].

Press, M. Cooper, R and Erol, R., 2001. Design as a tool for social policy: The case of ‘Design against crime’, Design Against Crime, [online]
Available at http://extra.shu.ac.uk/dac/respub.html
[Accessed 29 September 2010].

Press, M. Erol, R. Cooper, R. and Thomas, M., 2000. Design against crime: defining new design knowledge requirements, Design Against Crime, [online]
Available at: http://extra.shu.ac.uk/dac/respub.html
[Accessed 29 September 2010].

Secured by Design., (n.d). Secured by Design.

Monday, 4 October 2010


Our second project of the semester is entitled Environmental type. It requires us to go out into the city and take lots of photographs. We were asked to experiment with our photography and I have done so by trying to take a combination of angle shots and close ups (Just hope we don't get graded too much on the photographs!) After going on the hunt for typography on a few occasions it is still surprising how much of it is about! Whether it is packaging, door numbers, tourist information, road signs or posters on billboards, the list of places where you can find type is endless.

I have also began to look into editorial and magazine design to get an idea of how typographers use the space on the page. I was introduced to a magazine called baseline and was really impressed with the work it contained. Every detail has been considered from the headers right through to the footnotes on every page. Therefore I have started to pay closer attention to detail, in particular column sizes, headers, sub headings and type sizes.

I am looking forward to starting work on page layouts, working with the grid in In Design in order to gain valuable typographic skills which I will be able to carry through into all the briefs I undertake.

The top image is one of the photographs I took.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Dissertation Surverys

At today's lecture we were given a brief talk about our dissertations. Even though they don't have to be handed for another a year, the idea that I am going to have to start thinking about one is pretty scary!

So when I discovered 2 emails from students regarding help on their dissertations I decided to do what I could! Both emails had surveys attached, (I have to be honest most of the time I don't stop to fill these things in, but it won't be long until I need the same input from other students) so I took a look at the questionnaires.

One was regarding film credits, which I found really interesting. I had to watch 7 different title sequences then answer a serious of questions relating to how they made me feel, if I took in any information, whether or not they made me want to watch the film.

The second survey was in regards to online services and what they offer in relationship to physical stores. This is a subject which I have had to investigate for a current project so I had a little knowledge on the subject which made the questions easier to answer.

Answering these questionnaires also gave me the chance to see what kind of topics people are choosing to research for their dissertation, hopefully they will give me inspiration when I come to choose mine!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Design Studies

This year Design Studies have decided to mix things up by putting us all in different teams for our assignments. Last year we had seminar groups which consisted of people from the same discipline as yourself. This year, however, it is a team made up of 8 members all studying different areas of design; graphics, textiles, environmental, etc. I think this is a very good idea, having met with my group on a couple of occasions, it has been beneficial to get a wide range of opinions and learn a little more about each area of design.

As part of Assignment 1 we were required to meet up and decid
e, for each one of us, a topic from a list to investigate. When we met everyone had already decided which area they were interested in and thankfully there was no duplicates, therefore no fighting over who gets a certain topic! I decided to research crime and design as I find this topic very interesting, and after having several lectures on crime last year it was an area I wanted to look into further.

We decided to give ourselves a week to researching our chosen topics and to meet the following Thursday to discuss what we had found out and explain our mind maps to the
group. I found this second meeting very interesting as we all took turns to explain what our topics were and also highlight any information which we had found specifically relevant.

During the last two weeks I have managed to source books and websites on my chosen topic. I am also going to use the university website to search for journal articles which could als
o help me write my wiki entry. My group meet again on Thursday, so by then I hope to be able to discuss the history of crime and design and how it relates to the design process and designers.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

One Week Down

So week one has been and gone already, which means that I only have two weeks left to work on my first design brief . Our first assignment requires us to 'reinvigorate the High Street by choosing a product or service to brand.'

The class has been split into teams of three so that we all get to experience what it would be like to work on a live project. I think this is a really good idea as teamwork is a prominent feature of the design industry. I have been put in a team with Nick and Kyle, two people that I have never worked on a project with before, so it will be interesting to see how we interact with one and other.

Over the course of the week we have had several meetings and brain storming sessions where we have seen our initial ideas develop into a final solution. In response to the brief we have decided to create a innovative new eating experience on the high street - youdo.

We were all aware that the general public are becoming more concerned with healthy eating and active lifestyles. There are ongoing campaigns by the government and health organizations to eat healthy, exercise more, etc. However with today's busy lifestyle how easy is it to eat healthy on the go? And with all the tempting fast food available what would draw the public into a healthy eating restaurant?

Youdo wants the public to participate in a unique hands on experience, where they not only choose what food they want, they help prepare it!

During the next week we have to decide on a logo for the company as well as starting to develop the extended look and feel of our product and have an idea for the launch programs.

I sense a busy week ahead!

A Fresh Start

September has finally arrived and with it brings the start of Uni! I may regret saying it (lets be honest, I am pretty sure I will regret saying it) but I am so pleased to be back. Even though I have enjoyed being off for just over three months (who wouldn’t!) I am looking forward to getting started on my new projects and assignments.

This year I am in a new flat, with new flatmates, as well as working in a new studio so I thought I would take the opportunity to restyle my blog. At the moment I am keeping my current blog but want to look into CSS so that I can design the layout the way I want it (this may take a while as I have know idea how to do it!). However, for the moment I have tried to simplify the onscreen layout as well as opting for a new colour scheme, so that I can make a fresh start!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

When Is A Skirt More Than A Skirt?

'Question: When is a skirt more than a skirt?

Answer: If it’s short enough - or sheer enough - or shiny enough – a skirt can also be a signal and incitement to rape, according to a significant minority of people in this country. In the context of sexual violence, aspects of women’s appearance are frequently cited as indications that they were “asking for it”.'

A few days ago a new advert was aired on Scottish television to help change certain people's attitudes towards rape. Figures from surveys show that some people believe that some woman can be to blame for being raped; whether this is for wearing a revealing outfit, being flirty or being too drunk. I think the majority of the public would agree that these opinions are ridiculous, and that's where this new advert comes in.

The advert opens with a guy chatting to a girl in a club, he checks out her outfit before turning to his friend and saying 'she's asking for it.' The ad then flips back to earlier that day when the girl in question is in a shop looking for a skirt. She asks the shop assistant have some advice on which one to choose; 'I'm going out tonight and want to get raped, I want a skirt that will encourage a guy to have sex with me against my will.' After the sales assistant suggests what skirt would be more 'suiting' the advert ends with the girl saying 'as if!'

I have to be honest the advert had quite an impact on me and I haven't really watched an advert before that is so direct and hard hitting. I really hope that it has the positive impact it is hoping to achieve as I think its remarkable that people can have such prejudice opinions towards rape victims.

I was unable to download the video but you can watch it at http://www.notever.co.uk/

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

'Play Me I'm Yours'

"It doesn't matter if you're a world-class virtuoso like Beethoven or a guy who took one year of lessons like Bloomberg, just sit down and let your fingers do the talking," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement about "Play Me, I'm Yours" art project, in which 60 pianos have been placed throughout NY city for people to play for free. "

I was watching the news yesterday when I saw this interesting piece on an art project taking place in New York. Pianos were dotted around the city including public parks, streets and plazas. Major locations included the Lincoln Centre, Brooklyn Bridge and Staten island Ferry Terminal. The idea being the project was to get the public engaging with one and other again.

"Every Saturday morning Luke Jerram would see the same people washing their underwear but no one would talk to one another.He realised there must be invisible communities right across cities where people share the same space but do not engage. So, he had the idea of putting pianos on the streets to act as a catalyst to get people communicating. Now, beyond the horns and the traffic of the streets of New York, his project seems to be working - the air is filled with the sound of music."

I think this is a very unusual approach to get people communicating, most people would think the best way to get people talking is through a club or meeting. However I love this fun, interactive approach which is more likely to get random members of the public talking to one and other. Even if people only take a few minutes out their day to play/ listen to music I can see how it could bring people closer. In such a busy city, where people are always on the move it would be interesting to find out how successful a project such as this is.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A Year Gone By ...

Last night I went back to the college that I attended for 3 years, to see their end of year exhibition. It was odd to think that only a year ago it was me that was running around trying to get everything finished and presented on time. Therefore it was a nice change to be able to walk around the room, and take time to look at the work that had been produced over the course of the year. It was also really interesting to see the different outcomes created in response to briefs I had been given whilst at college. It made me think that it isn't really that long until it will be me running around like a headless chicken again! My degree show may be two years away, but how time flies. I was lucky enough to have been given the chance to see a sneak preview of the Graphics work, prior to the Degree Show opening. It was very inspiring to see the work that has been created, some of which was both conceptually brilliant but also beautiful to look at. What did you think of this years show?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Can't Live Without It

I read in today's paper that the iPhone was voted the 8th most important invention, losing out to the wheel, the aeroplane, the light bulb and the worldwide web.

I don't have an iPhone so I can't comment on whether it deserves this ranking, but in today's fast paced world I don't know what I would do without my phone. I take it everywhere I go; whether that be to work, on a walk, the cinema or even to the bathroom (perhaps a little weird, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one!). Not only can you receive phone calls and texts; but with advances in technology you can take high quality photographs, download music and access the internet. Mobile phones have become something a lot of people can't live without and if someone has left theirs in the house they often say they feel lost without it!

So even though I agree that it doesn't deserve the highest ranking I do think mobile phones have become a must have item, with both young children and pensioners enjoying the services that they offer!

What do you think is the best invention?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Future Work

I am currently working in a small Farm Shop/ Tearoom back home to earn some extra money during the summer holidays. When I was in the other day I noticed a lady with a portfolio sitting at a table, waiting on a client to arrive. Once he did I couldn't help but have a little peak, every time I walked past, at the work she was showing him! I noticed that she was discussing a corporate identity with the client, and how this would be applied across a range of products. It got me quite excited about the future and how one day I might be the woman sitting in a tearoom discussing a new project rather than the girl serving the tea!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Many of you have probably heard of Postsecret, but for those of you that haven't here is the background story:

'Postsecret is an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. Select secrets are then posted on the PostSecret website, or used for PostSecret's books or museum exhibits.

The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams. The secrets are meant to be both empowering to the author and to those who read it. The postcards are inspirational to those who read them, have healing powers for those who write them, give hope to people who identify with a stranger's secret, and create an anonymous community of acceptance.'

I go on this website regularly as it is updated weekly with new postcards. Each one is like its own little piece of artwork. Some are very eye catching, on others it is the 'secret' which gets you thinking. What really stood out for me whilst visiting this website is that these postcards are a form of expression, often for something that is a real problem in someone's life. Many people have written in saying that postsecret has saved them whether it is from a relationship, an eating disorder or even suicide.

I think it is great that such a simple concept has had such a huge impact. Take a little look online at: http://postsecret.blogspot.com/ if you want to find out more.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Assignment 5A and B

Assignment 5A

Advertising in Britain has become an important means of communicating information to the general public. Both Government and charitable organisations spend large sums of money on advertising campaigns every year in order to raise public awareness on a wide range of health related issues. Last semester, I posed the question, ‘Does this type of advertising work?’ I was particularly interested to find out whether money is being spent effectively and if these campaigns can actually have a positive impact on health seeking behaviour.

In order to investigate the success of recent health initiatives and ascertain the most effective means of targeting a specific group, two journal articles relating to this subject were sourced:

‘Can a public health intervention improve awareness and health seeking behaviour of glaucoma’ (Baker & Murdoch, 2008) and ‘Impact of a media campaign for disaster mental health counselling in post-September 11 New York.’ (Frank, et al, 2006)

The findings obtained from the analysis of these two journals suggested that media campaigns can have a positive effect and can indeed help raise awareness of particular health issues.

Achieving health-seeking behaviour was a top priority in both research projects, and this proved to be a success in each case. However even though the evidence suggested that the campaigns were effective, both journal articles concluded that further study would have to be carried out before adopting a similar approach to future campaigns. One journal also highlighted the importance of knowing the target audience prior to carrying out a health awareness campaign. Hence, having background information could prove to be fundamental in successfully reaching a specific group of individuals.

I therefore reasoned that in order to investigate the effectiveness of health advertising further I would require the use of several primary research techniques in order to collate as much information as possible about the target group.

Carrying out an observational study could help provide valuable insight into the public’s reactions and feelings towards health advertising. This type of study could either take place in a doctor’s surgery or a hospital waiting room. The patients and members of the public waiting there would be observed in regards to their behaviour and response towards the health advertisements found in these areas. Particular attention would be paid to their reactions to various advertising mediums. For example, which posters did they look at and for how long? Did they pick up leaflets to take away or did they quickly scan them on the premises? Did they look at magazine articles? This would hopefully provide data on which types of advertising are the most effective (posters/literature) and whether or not people take the time to view health awareness posters or choose to dismiss them.

Carrying out this particular type of research is particularly useful as no attempt would be made to directly influence the outcome. However, the main problem prior to carrying out this kind of study would be to gain permission from the general public. One way to tackle this issue, would be to have a notice at the entrance of the waiting room explaining that a study was taking place but without giving specific details. This would inform the patients whilst hopefully reducing the risk of influencing their natural behaviour.

After previously partaking in an observational experiment, I found that this particular research method was a valuable means of eliciting true findings as the participants appeared to act naturally and the researchers were able to experience the atmosphere of the surroundings .If I were to carry out the above proposed observations then I would have to record my findings through notes or sketches. Confidentiality is an important issue, some members of the public will object to photographs being taken or names given, therefore records would have to remain anonymous.

Carrying out interviews could also provide useful information. Conducting interviews would gain more in depth knowledge on the public’s reactions to health advertising than would be achievable through observation alone. Key questions would be asked in a semi-structured interview however, deviation from the plan maybe necessary to follow up interesting comments in more detail.

In order for this research to be successful a cross section of the public or a specific target group would have to be identified, depending on the subject matter, to ensure reliable results. Problems may arise as some people may not want to discuss health related issues, others may not be totally honest with their answers and say what they think you want to hear. To try to prevent this from happening a pilot interview would have to be conducted to ensure the questions were suitable and that the interviewer was not leading the person (influencing answers). Personal experience has shown that an interviewer can inadvertently prompt certain answers or push for information rather than have it given freely.

Finally one method, which I haven’t looked at so far, but believe could provide helpful results, would be to conduct a focus group. This research method would encourage an invited group of participants to share their thoughts and opinions on a certain subject. I would perhaps sit participants in a room with health magazines or alternatively a television programme could be viewed and during the break a health advert shown and the viewers reactions noted. For example, did they remember what the advert was about? Did it Influence them or get them thinking? The main problems likely to arise from this form of research are that some members of the group may be more vocal than others. Some participants may agree with the majority or others might be too embarrassed to give an honest opinion.

All of the above research methods would differ in regards to the data collected. The observational study would aim to provide true insight into natural behaviour whilst interviews would aim to provide deeper, more personal information on thoughts and feelings. The focus group would be particularly useful in discovering whether television ads/ magazines are effective as well as providing participants personal views on the subject matter. Combining the information from the types of research discussed would enable substantial data to be analysed so that the advertising campaign implemented would successfully reach and positively influence the specific target audience.

Assignment 5B

These various research methods could be applied across a whole range of projects, including studio briefs. One of my projects, in which these research methods could have been particularly useful, was titled The Origin of Food, which I received earlier this semester. The purpose of the brief was to take your allocated plant, in my case the raspberry, as a starting point for research. We were encouraged to investigate work being conducted at Scottish Crop Research institute (SCRI), sustainability and the plant itself. The research gathered was then to be presented in the form of a broadsheet. Meeting the main aims of this studio brief required the undertaking of appropriate research, analysis of findings and the selection of a potential direction for further development.

If I were given the chance to do this assignment again, I would choose to use the university library as my initial starting point. The library catalogue would provide a list of relevant books, online newspapers, journals, electronic resources as well as image and sound resources relating to my particular research subject.

The library’s Cross Search available on the university’s website is a ‘ service for searching bibliographic databases.’ (Library and Learning Centre) I would utilise this database to identify useful resources covering my topic of investigation. The cross search allows users to search through different Quick Sets including subjects such as Accounting, Finance and Economics right through to Art, Design and Media. Having this option means that I would be able to research raspberries in relation to a number of different subjects/areas. The journal articles available through this service contain information written by researchers and go through checks in order to ensure they are accurate. This would ensure that the research information I gathered would be completely authentic which is not always the case when information is sourced from magazines or certain websites.

If an opportunity had arisen I would have interviewed employees of SCRI. Even though the SCRI website has a good search engine, research papers and publications it would have been a good chance to gain more specific information through conducting face to face interviews.

I would have also carried out interviews with members of the general public to find out what they knew in regards to the subject under investigation. I was required to research sustainability, society and the environment and present my findings in an interesting manner. Since the broadsheet was to be displayed at a public exhibition it would have been useful to learn what the public already knew in relation to these topics and which topics they would like to investigate further. If I had engaged in semi- structured interviews with a small number of people I would have collated enough information to determine which relevant subject matter related specifically to my broadsheet.

After collecting all this information I would produce a mind map on raspberries. To do this I would apply the skills and knowledge I learnt from reading and carrying out the activities in Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping book in semester one. I find that it can often be difficult to sift through pages and pages of information so a mind map can be a great way to summarise large amounts of data. Not only would it help establish the main points/areas it would have helped me to produce the information for the broadsheet.

It was essential that raspberries were researched from all angles in order to select the focus for the broadsheet. Deciding which topic would form the main focus was difficult and it was the subject of much discussion amongst the class members. If I could do this project again I would suggest a quick brainstorming session. Small groups of people could get together to take part in this quick creative thinking exercise. Working with other people would generate a larger quantity of ideas than what we could have achieved individually. Some of these ideas would then have been developed further until I came up with my final concept. Had I carried out all these research methods it would have been interesting to see what impact it would have had on my end product.

If I were employed in this Industry, research such as this would be common practise, in order to produce the most effective pieces of design. Companies allocate money to researching target audiences/ carrying out focus groups, as it is extremely important to collect the correct data in order to achieve the desired outcome. Therefore I can see how all these research skills play an important role in the design process. I will now be able to apply them to my studio briefs and future projects.

Level 3 will bring with it more complex projects and the participation in live briefs. If I apply my knowledge of these research skills to next year’s projects it will hopefully prepare me for my future career in graphic design. My interviewing and observational skills can only improve through practise therefore by utilising these techniques from now on will enable me to refine them over time.

At the moment, I do feel as though I am still a student at Dundee art school, however I am acutely aware of the importance of global issues and how they could be tackled through design. The knowledge and skills I am learning at university will provide me with the confidence and ability to address such issues when I enter the wider world.


Baker, H. (2008) ‘Can a public health intervention improve awareness and health-seeking behaviour for glaucoma?’ British Journal of Ophthalmology, 92 (12), pp. 1670 – 1675

Frank, R. (2006) ‘Impact of a media campaign for disaster mental health counselling in post-September 11 New York.’ Psychiatric Services, 57 (9), pp. 1304 -1308.

Library and Learning Centre. (2010) CrossSearch [Online]
Available from: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/library/search/