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.