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:

Monday, 29 March 2010

"High Heel Vote"

I have to be honest I don't know a lot about politics, I vote but I probably couldn't outline any of the political parties policies. But I don't think that is rare, the majority of people I know don't know that much on the subject and some of my closest friends aren't even registered to vote. So I was surprised to see that not in 1 but 2 of the girlie magazines I bought this month contained articles on the next election.

Had these articles been in the newspaper, then I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have read them, so why did I when they were appeared in Cosmopolitan? It could be the way it was laid out, or the fact that it was readers that were interviewing the top politicians or perhaps it was just the fact that the aim was to 'find out what they can actually offer a girl like you.'

This article engaged the reader, it probably didn't cover the most important topics on the agenda but questions that a regular 2o something girl would want to know the answer to were put forward. Could having features such as this in magazines be the key to informing a younger audience about politics? Is it enough to get people to vote? To get people to take a bigger interest in the subject? What do you think, would you have read the article or flicked to the next page?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Funky Earphones

I was looking on the dieline website earlier today and came across this quirky little deign for earphone packaging. I think this is a really good website if you are interested in packaging as they are constantly updating the site with new innovative designs.

'Audiovox found that customers choose their earbuds like a fashion accessory and packaging is key to their choice. JDA developed the earBudeez series as personalities with the earbuds as eyes in different positions to convey attitudes and emotions. These fun, eye-catching packages appeal to customers of all ages who want to express themselves with a unique product.'

Radisson Hotel

When I was in Edinburgh last night I took a short cut from the car park to the main street, through a hotel reception. As I was walking through the lounge area I was really impressed with the decor, it was only when I entered the reception that I realised I was in the Radisson. This is the hotel that Emma spoke to us about during her lecture. It was really good to see the building, take a closer look at the interior and get a feel for the place (the toilets were pretty nice too!). It was great to see the work Graven Images had completed through photographs but it was even better to see in person!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Assignement 4C

Assignment 4C required a lot of discussion. A group of us decided to meet in the studio to discuss both the interview process and the results we obtained. 3 other people had decided to investigate the same topic as myself, which I found quite helpful as we were able to compare each others findings. We also discussed our own experiences in regards to this topic.

What I found interesting about 3 of my subjects was how their choice of magazine related to the latest item they had purchased:
  • NME: Interest in music/ reads about when albums are released/ last purchase was a CD
  • Reveal: Interest in real life stories/ health/ beauty/ bought a dress
  • Nuts: Interest in Gadgets and cars/ laptop was latest purchase
All the girls said they use social networking sites, had other people buy them clothes and often relied on advice from friends or family whilst shopping. At the discussion we mentioned that a magazine has teamed up with River Island. When in store or online their is often a label attached to certain items which are the magazines favourites or must have items. I wonder whether more of these items are purchased? I think that girls sometimes need a second opinion/ reassurance whether it be through a friends advice or an image they see in a magazine. I think these little tags probably influence quite a few decisions.

During the discussion I mentioned that when I was younger I bought a certain magazine religiously. The first day it came out I had to have it. When you are younger I think magazines can have a greater impact, I would want to buy the products seen in the magazine, or do my hair the way they showed. I think today, magazines will probably have an even bigger impact on younger girls, who are becoming more interested in fashion and beauty than ever before.

We also mentioned how some men buy health magazines, and can become obsessed with health/ fitness and the ideal body. Women are also heavily influenced by the media in regards to eating habits and weight issues. There is now more emphasis on how we should look than ever before.

Health awareness was mentioned by the girls. However articles they had read may have made them more aware but not changed their lifestyle. However during the talk it was suggested that if the person is health aware then these articles would have a greater impact.

The other girls investigating this topic found that some people buy magazines because they feel they have to or for work. A few students told them they buy Vogue for course work rather than it being their own preference. In this case these magazines probably influence the students work!

Overall I think that magazines influence all individuals in regards to taste or opinion. However I think in order to do this the person reading the mag must have an interest in that subject in order to be influenced. Someone interested in fashion will take note of must have items or the latest look. Whilst someone interested in music may be influenced to buy/ not to buy a particular CD. Other people rely on friends for fashion/ beauty advice, but I do wonder where they gain their knowledge/ inspiration from?

Assignment 4B

The assignment required us to interview people who we didn't know in order to gain honest results, therefore I decided to visit a flat within my halls of residence, and ask a member of staff at my work who I hadn't worked with before. This resulted in 3 girls and 1 boy being interviewed.
The Results:

  • Products they had bought recently had all been purchased in store. They all said that they hadn't seen the items advertised previously and that the decision had been made on the day.
  • All the girls said that other people buy clothes for them, and that they often rely on either friends or family whilst out shopping. The boy said no to both questions as he prefers to make his own purchases.
  • The 4 participants all watch soaps or series such as Hollyoaks/ Shameless. They girls all mentioned they used facebook, whilst the boy said he regularly visits Ebay.
  • When asked what magazines they buy I received a different answer from each person: reveal/ NME/ Dont (relies on mags from friends)/ Nuts and Zoo (the boy!)
  • Knowledge about fashion trends comes from magazines for 2 of the girls. However the girls said they wouldn't buy an item in a mag whilst the boy said he would if he could afford it (relating to gadgets more then clothes).
  • All the girls said they had become more aware of health issues through magazines. 1 member also commented that magazines can have a negative effect on body image.
  • Finally I asked how often do you purchase magazines? 2 participants said they didn't and only read friend's copies. Whilst the other 2 said they bought them every couple of weeks, but not religiously.

Assignment 4A

For assignment 4 I decided to look into 'How do magazines influence people's ideas of taste and design?' The handbook suggested a brainstorming session or to produce a mind map relating to your chosen topic. I found that this did help and probably gave me more questions than I would have managed to come up with had I just written a list.

From the brainstorming session I came up with around 20 questions which I would ask my willing participants. I was aware that depending on some answers I would be able to ask more questions and gain more information on the subject. Below is the list of questions I asked:

  • Could you describe an item you bought recently?
  • Partner bought recently?
  • Partner bought you?
  • Does anyone buy clothes for you?
  • Does anyone advise you when out shopping?
  • Are you planning any major purchases soon?
  • What TV programs do you watch?
  • What magazines/ newspapers do you read?
  • Why do you purchase these?
  • What are the main topics that interest you?
  • What are your favourite websites?
  • where do you learn what is the latest fashion trend?
  • Where do you find out about the latest music/films?
  • Where/ How do you learn about skin care/ beauty products/ hair care?
  • Where did your influence for home decor come from?
  • Do you think people are influenced by the media?
  • What ways are people effected?Have you ever seen/read health awareness stories that have changed your thinking in regards to this topic?
  • How often do you purchase magazines?

More Nuts!

As I was walking past the vending machine the other (whilst trying not to give into my chocolate craving) I noticed bars of Snickers which had a new name: More Nuts. You could tell straight away that it was Snickers even though the packaging contained a different name as the company chose to retain the current font and colours of the original packaging.

I decided to look this new name up and found out that 'Following the success of the ‘Get Some Nuts' campaign in 2009 Snickers® is launching a ‘More Nuts' limited edition variant in 2010. From February 2010 Snickers bars will contain 10% more nuts for a limited time period. For the duration of the promotion, Snickers will temporarily change their traditional brand flag on pack to read ‘More Nuts.' The change will apply to both single, duo and multipack variants.MARS has committed £1 million in media spend to an integrated PR and marketing campaign to promote the ‘More Nuts' bars, including in-store POS, print, online support and a new TV advert featuring Mr. T.'

What I think is quite interesting about this is that the Snickers brand must be strong enough that after changing the name people still know what the product is. I definately don't think this would apply to some products, therefore I wonder why it works in this case? I haven't seen any of the adverts promoting this therefore it must be the branding of the packaging which is effective. Are the fonts and colours instantly recognisable? Or has Snickers been around so long that you would know its packaging regardless what was written across it?

Monday, 15 March 2010

Can you rotate that design?

The follow up work to Friday's lecture ask us to consider the skills you need to deal effectively with clients and also to consider the relationship between the designer and the client.

Emma told us that clients expect value for money, evidence based research, innovation and creativity to name a few. Therefore I think one of the most important skills you have to have as a designer is good communication. You have to be able to understand in full what the client wants and produce a concept which meets all their requirements. Management of time and money is essential, clients will expect a lot of work to be produce in short time scales. Designers must be able to budget the costs of a project and also allocate enough time to complete it successfully.

I have only dealt with 2 real life clients during my time as a graphic design student but both experiences have taught me that the client is boss. You may have a really good idea or have produced a design which you are proud of but if the client wants you to change elements of it (often for the worse) you have to do it.

This is very different to the relationship a student has with their tutor. I have had several projects this year and have worked with four different tutors all of whom have their own opinions and ideas. Knowing what advice to take can be difficult but it is only advice. Unlike a designer/ client relationship where you have to take on board what they say and make changes, tutors are there to encourage development of ideas. They provide advice on techniques and approaches that you can take, and can help take your idea in an interesting new direction.

Having regular discussions with our tutors is a good way of preparing us for the discussions we will one day have with our clients!

Hopefully I won't be asked to make similar changes to those written on
My favourite quote was: For a round DVD Disk Label: “Can you rotate the design by 1/8th of a circle, we like that angle better.”

Designers and Clients

On Friday we had a guest speaker; Emma Murphy from the Glasgow-based design consultancy Graven Images. Her lecture was split into two parts, the first of which really interested me. Emma spoke about her job at Graven Images as well as giving us a detailed insight into the work they have completed. Graven Images works for a range of clients, big and small, and it is clear that they are capable of producing excellent results.

Emma's slides contained a lot of photographs which I thought was really helpful as it gave us the opportunity to see the end results of several projects. Many of the examples we were shown were office or hotel design, in these cases we were shown before and after photos to see how much had been achieved.

Emma also spoke about a collaborative project where all departments at Graven Images came together to work on the design identity of 'Ketchup.' They were required to produce a logotype, signage, menu, packaging and the interior design throughout. It was interesting to hear how graphic designers would work together with interior designers to help develop the overall design. Working together and being able to communicate effectively was essential so that all elements of the design worked together and flowed.

I think I would really like the opportunity to work on projects such as this. I like the idea of being involved in the overall concept rather than only getting to work on one section. Bringing together different areas of expertise, I think, could result in some innovative design.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Asking Why?

At this weeks seminar we were asked to consider why things are designed a certain way and why people choose to use them. One member of my group sat in a coffee shop and observed the customers that came to it. To her surprise the majority of people visiting the shop weren't in a rush but came to meet someone or to sit down and take some time to themselves. Jonathan asked us what these customers were paying for, was it coffee? or an experience?

People could easily grab a cup of coffee from a machine or a fast food outlet but these customers decided to choose a shop, somewhere they could sit down on big comfy chairs and relax. It creates a different atmosphere, whether its to take a break from some intense shopping or to meet someone for a chat, coffee shops provide a comforting environment. So not only does the customer get an 'experience' if they stay long enough the company may get some more money out of them when they buy their second cup of the day!

Jonathan also spoke to us briefly about fast food outlets and how their furniture is hard and slightly uncomfortable. In this case they don't want it to be relaxing, the company needs the customer to purchase food and eat it quickly so the next lot of customers can grab a quick seat. I was aware that the seats in Mcdonalds or KFC weren't the best but I had never considered this was an intentional decision to keep the customers moving.

I will definitely look at things in a slightly different light. For instance someone doesn't go to the bingo in order to win, they go for the experience and social interaction it offers. I think asking this simple question, why?, could be very beneficial and could help solve many of my briefs in the future!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The logics of everyday judgements of taste

The follow up work for Friday's lecture required the class to read the journal article entitled: The logics of everyday judgements of taste, which examines taste in Australia.

The research group were asked to indicate in a few words what good and bad taste entail. From their responses the researchers created 77 different categories, 43 of which related to good taste and the remaining 34 related to bad taste. The data was then analysed and it revealed that 'people possess an assortment of conceptual schemes which they invoke to classify objects, behaviours, attitudes, or aspects of self-presentation into broad categories of tasteful or tasteless.'

These schemes are organised into three 'prominent analytic spheres: quantity, composition and quality.'


Many of the respondents referred to quantity when describing good or bad taste. Results suggest that the public have a perception of the 'correct' amount of something or an acceptable quantity. This was applied to many everyday situations: knowing what too much/ or too little clothing is, there were too few/ many words in a social situation, too much make up or too much product in his hair. The one that stood out to me was that if a woman wears heels that are 1cm to high that could tip her in to the bad taste category, and its true. I think we all apply this idea of quantity when judging whether something is good or bad taste. Its worth knowing when 'enough is enough.'


One respondent described taste as when 'things go well together.' Words used to describe good taste in this sense were harmony, balance, flow. Whilst clashing, mismatched, garish were all used to describe bad taste. The question that researchers asked was how do we know when 'things go together' and the results suggest that, ' respondents suggest that they rely on subtle cues to help them gauge the taste expertise demonstrated in the verbal or physical presentation of others.


For something to be in good taste the paper suggests that it must have a certain nonfunctional qualities. 2 examples 'used to describe good taste by two men: the first, a tertiary educated professional in the 36–45 age bracket says good taste is ‘‘enduring, timeless, understated, dignified, elegant, e.g. Jaguar cars, Italian woolen trousers and shoes’’, the other, a labourer with a trades certificate in the 26–35 age bracket, says ‘‘relaxing on a 38 foot boat a rod in one hand and a beer in the other’’. This shows that people have very different opinions on what good taste is, and this can be seen when looking into age, sex and level of education

The paper also highlights a topic covered in Friday's lecture whereby a male and female contestant were asked to play Mr & Mrs. They were both asked the same questions but they responded differently. Women tend to be more open with their answers, going into more depth and description or 'talk animatedly' whilst men give shorter answers often referring to 'practical issues.'

During the game of Mr & Mrs both contestants were also asked to describe good taste, the male couldn't come up with an answer whilst the girl struggled to come up with good manners. The journal notes that people find it much easier to say what they don't like compared to what they do. Many of the respondents found it hard to define good taste.

I personally find it hard to define what good taste is and have to admit that I can relate to many of the respondents thoughts on the subject. After reading the journal I think that a good definition of what people regard taste as is 'what is acceptable in the right time and place.'

Can soaps help people seek medical advice?

During Semester 1 I looked into health advertising and how effective it is. I was interested in what form of advertising was most influential but also whether or not celebrities could promote healthy living/ and or awareness.

I was listening to the radio a little while back and remember hearing on the news section that the number of people contacting helplines in regards to bipolar queries had risen in recent months. It was thought the reason for such an increase was down to the Eastenders story line in which one of the characters were suffering from this condition.

The character, Stacey, is a young girl in her twenties who is quite loud and outgoing so having this illness was very scary and confusing. Even though the public are aware this is only a soap many people were probably able to relate to Stacey. Their heightened knowledge on the subject, through watching the story unfold, perhaps gave them the information and courage they needed to seek help for themselves.

Soaps tend to touch on various medical problems whether it is an eating disorders or addiction to alcohol. And whilst for some this is merely a story line for others it may be the information they need to deal with their own problems. There are usually helpline numbers given after the program finishes, which means the public know they are contacting a reliable organisation where they can get advice.

Why do you think people have gained help after watching a soap? Is it because they identify with the character? Or is it that they were perhaps unaware of this illness before watching the program? Could it be that they didn't know who to go to for help, until they saw the advertised helplines? Or is it just a coincidence?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Assignment 3A and 3B

For Activity 3A I had to choose one of the activities listed in the Module Handbook and observe how people behave whilst carrying out this activity. The list had many locations including a shopping centre, public library and coffee shop, but I decided to opt for the Bingo! I have never been to a Bingo Hall before so this was a new experience for me, but what a good experience it turned out to be!

On entering the Bingo Hall I didn't feel nervous as it was clear that you had to make your way to the main desk, where I presumed you would have to sign up in order to become a member. Even though the staff working behind the desk were friendly I felt that I got dismissed as they continued swiping in members before dealing with my registration. It was obvious during the short time spent filling out my form that the vast majority of the members go to the bingo regularly and are on first name terms with the staff.

So membership card and dabber pen in hand I proceeded to the next desk where I was more than a little confused on which game to purchase. After the girl behind the desk suggested that we started off with the 80p early game we all bought our books. We then went through the doors to the Bingo Hall.

On entering the hall we were a little uncertain where to sit. I was curious if sitting in a different section meant that you would be playing a different game. However after a quick scan around the hall we found a table (picking it on size rather then location).
As soon as I sat down I was wondering whether the game had already started? How would I know when to play? Do they give us warning or do they play one game after another? And how to get the lid of the dabber pen!

Then the lights went up and we were greeted with a friendly 'Hello' to which the majority of the hall replied. I felt it got people in the mood and made me feel welcome. The caller briefly mention which game was going to take place and that we would be playing for a line, then 2 lines, then a full house. If we got any of these we were to clearly shout 'house!'

At first I felt both nervous and excited, and had to focus my intention on listening to what numbers were being called. Even though I never missed any numbers, it was very hard to keep up as the caller shouts them at a fair speed. Once I started getting numbers I became a little nervous that I might actually win, and that I would have to shout out 'House' in front of all the other people who were there.

After we had completed the early game we went back to the desk to purchase another book for the later games. Again there was some confusion over what we were wanting to purchase but the staff helped us with that. These books contained more games, and as they progressed the prizes got bigger. We were made aware of this by the bingo caller as well as a large screen which was placed above the stage.

Everyone playing had a desire to win, and we all let out loud sighs when someone else got there first. 2 of the group members even shouted 'House' thinking they had won a small fortune but soon discovered that they had misunderstood the rules (either didn't know you needed 2 lines in the same game or that once someone has won a line you can't). I think it is quite easy to be confused during bingo, especially since the rules weren't explained prior to starting.

So after playing about 10 games I hadn't won a thing, but my luck changed with just 3 games to go. I got a line in one game, and 2 lines in the next. My previous fear that I wouldn't manage to shout 'House' was unnecessary as I screamed it loudly. The rest of the group screamed and clapped, and very kindly some of the regulars did too! As the lady came across to check my ticket the caller commented that 'we have a very excitable winner.' After witnessing other people winning I did notice that my reaction was a little different, the regulars seem to take it in their stride, and stay relatively calm when they win. Maybe I will be like that one day!

So overall my experience of the Bingo was a good one, after some initial nervousness I became a little more relaxed and enjoyed my night. I think we may all be making a return visit soon!

Activity 3B Today we all got together to discuss our observations and experiences. Here are our findings:
  • Most of the people taking part were dressed in casual clothes including jeans, sports tops and knitted jumpers. I decided to wear jeans and a plain top, and I didn't feel at all out of place. I think had people been dressed up they may have felt too over dressed for the occasion.
  • The staff all wore a uniform which made them easy to identify.
  • There was nearly an even number of men and women participating, with their being slightly more women. This surprised me as I associated Bingo as a game for older ladies. There was also a range of age groups; ranging from students to the retired. I think this shows that the steroetype of who plays Bingo is far from the truth.
  • We also felt that the majority of people were middle/ working class. There was no snobbery associated with the game. It had a very relaxed atmosphere where we all fitted in comfortably.
  • People seemed to come in pairs whether it be friends, mother and daughter or husband and wife. These couples would sit together at the same table, whilst people who came on their own sat at their own table. We were the largest group of people sitting together.
  • People also sat fairly spaced out from one and other. Choosing to leave a table free in between them and the next table of people playing. We were uncertain whether this was because it was a mid week game, and therefore not as busy. Or whether people want their own space.
  • From this finding we also concluded that even though Bingo could be classed as a 'social' game we didn't witness any interaction between the different groups of people. Therefore even though players are in a social environment I don't know how easy it would be to make friends through going there. Perhaps if members go regularly they may say hello to each other but there is little time for conversation.
  • I didn't think the rules were well explained and therefore the game may be confusing to first time players. The large screen advertised that new players could ask for the rules to be explained by staff. I think this shows that most people know how to play the game, and that could be why the rules aren't mentioned.
  • The decor was bright and cheery. The group felt it reminded them of being on a Haven holiday.
  • Uncertainty amongst the group of what game was taking place, where to sit, when the game would start, where you go to collect winnings and why some people held money up in the air.
  • Easy to sign up, and find table. Therefore the service and layout is effective.
  • People were already seated when we entered the hall.
  • The other players were understanding when false calls were made, and even joined in our celebration. Did they perhaps know we were new to the game?
  • Staff worked well as a team. They all seemed to know their individual role.
  • The position of the slot machine is clever. They are located in between the reception and the Bingo Hall. Therefore people must walk through on entering and leaving the Hall, maximising the chance people will spend more money.
  • Several breaks during the game, so people can have a toilet break, get food or drink, chat and celebrate their win!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Student Spotlight

I regularly have a look on the dieline website as I love to see all the unique packaging that is being designed. When I went on today I had a look at the Student Spotlight section, and found what I think is a really interesting piece of packaging:

"Wondaree Macadamias is a family owned and run macadamia farm in North Queensland.

This project was done to recreate their product’s image in order to demonstrate their organic and personalised ethos whilst embodying an idiosyncratic aesthetic that was accessible to the blind.

This was achieved by using design features such as brail embossed wooden pegs – a stalwart of Queensland culture – and bold block coloured packaging, strident and recognizable."

What I really liked about this design is that it doesn't try to hide the brail instead it makes it one of the key features of the overall look. I have never really seen packaging with brail on it before, apart from prescription boxes, so it made me wonder if there is specially designed food packaging for the blind. From looking on the internet I don't think there are many companies which take this into consideration. Therefore I think this packaging could be a step in the right direction. What are your opinions? Do you think this could have a positive impact?