Today has been a long day, that I don’t have much to show for, but it has been really productive in terms of what I want my project to be about and how this underlying design theory will continue all through my other projects.
As it states within my brief, my aim this year (to situate my practice) is to prove than information design good when using content to help generate the design of it. Once I understood this I was encouraged to pick anything that I like to use to prove this theory. First of all cats came up… but then that is quite a large-scale project as I would have to find all of the content (probably). So next was jam, I make jam on quite regular basis. Conveniently enough when making jam you have to follow a recipe – and these predetermined recipes will be my content that I have to create meaningful design from. Below is my rewritten brief. No more rewrites!
Brief – Final Draft
In this years projects I aim: To prove that information design is about using content to create meaningful design. This self-directed project will look at using recipes for making jam as a platform to prove my theory.
I like making jam, however sometimes the recipes are hard to follow. Recipes as well as the books they sit in are dense with information. Ingredients, measurements, time lengths, tools, methods etc. Due to this it is really important that the design of the information pays attention to the process and what the content is trying tell you to do.
To use 3 different recipes for making jam as a platform to explore how information design can support and enhance the meaning of the content. (Meaningful design created from the content.)
Why / Why is it relevant:
Within information design content is the key element. Without content there is nothing to design, as well as nothing to inform the design process and decision-making.
Who’s it for/What will it mean for the user:
Anyone who likes to cook as well as people who find normal recipes hard to follow. A better experience and understanding when cooking.
How will you go about it:
I will be researching and looking at existing recipe books and systems used to display recipe information. I will analysis these to help me understand what doesn’t work and how I can make the design better. I will also be looking at existing systems used to bring hierarchy to information design.
Problems that could occur:
Short amount of time, technical abilities, not being able to prove my point.
Thu 10th Jan – Briefing Sign Off
Fri 11th Jan – Research / Ideas – concepts
Sat 12th Jan – Ideas – Visualising
Sun 13th Jan – Experiment / Analysis
Mon 14th Jan – Experiment – Mock ups for presentation (10-12)
Tue 15th Jan – Interim Crit / Feedback
Wed 16th Jan – Work on feedback
Thu 17th Jan – Experiment / Analysis
Fri 18th Jan – Experiment – Mock ups – Tests – Analysis
Sat 19th Jan – Designing piece
Sun 20th Jan – Designing / Finalising piece
Mon 21st Jan – Manufacture / Production
Tue 22nd Jan – Final Crit / Feedback session
After get my brief sorted I started doing a mind map of things about recipes and the design of. This worked well to a certain extent but then I became stuck. I was then introduced to Edward de Bono’s process of idea generation.
Bono’s process begins with a similar thing I was doing with the mind mapping. You literally start by writing down everything you know already about the subject. I created headings to try to get a broader range of things. I started with what do recipes do, what are they used for, what do they look like and where do you find them. This process helped a lot as I wrote down things that I had not previously thought of.
I then selected some points that I found interesting and then created what Bono calls a “Dominate Idea”. Whenever you start a project you always get that initial idea and you think – “YES THATS THE ONE!” and usually that’s the worst idea, probably as it’s too obvious. So this plan is for you to get your main idea and challenge it with the points below.
When it comes to ideas I am the most realistic person and I really struggle to have “out there” ideas, but this format really did help me, of course my ideas weren’t totally nuts but it did help me have some more creative ideas. The part that I struggled with was that the Reverse and Exaggerate felt like the same thing to me. Also wishful thinking, for me its hard to think of things that don’t already exist. So below are my ideas so far using this system.
Starting Point – Dominant Idea
Idea 1 –
Using information design to create 3 visuals that are inspired by the recipe ( Ingredients )
Reverse: All the pages are designed the same regardless of content.
A digital page that the content dissolves seamlessly into each other.
The layout is inspired by the process not the ingredients.
Exaggerate: Different typefaces. Colours. Different papers. Printing processes. Written in another
language. Everything is different. No page is the same.
The text is literally written in the content. The ingredients.
Each time an ingredient is used then. e.g mixing egg and flour – use that to write.
All food and tools but no words used. Have to let content speak for itself.
Distort: All pictures no words at all.
The steps are there, says what ingredients to use but no instructions.
Only numbers – 1. 500ml & 300g – use them to figure out process.
Picture of the end product and the user fills in the process of making.
Wishful Thinking: A digital timeline and the next step of the recipe appears only when you complete a
That there is no words only smells and sounds to guide you through.
A book that could sense when you hovered over a section too long and shouted out
helpful tips for you.
Idea 2 –
Using information design to create 3 visuals that express the process of making different jams.
Reverse: All process are laid on one page, so the difference is showed by overlapping text. colour etc.
Didn’t show the process but just the three outcomes.
The layout is inspired by the outcome and not the actual process.
Exaggerate: The design would only be as big as the batch of content. Size related.
The typeface used to show time scale and complexity.
Literally having a video of each process of making each jam and comparing differences.
Distort: Just using times or timeline to simulate process and user has to work out steps.
Using images of tools & ingredients in an equation format.
Picture of the end product and minimal instructions and they have to figure the rest out
Wishful Thinking: The layout would use the individual process before making so then they could have a tailored recipe to themselves. The layout would change depending on their kitchen layout or the tools that they had to hand.
This was a really important exercise for me to do. I will definitely try this in future on projects, I will probably do this again when I start sketching out ideas for my project. As this was sort of a starting point, to get my brain thinking I am next going to find my content / recipes. I am also going to look at various books that using expressive type and layout design to create meaning, as well as general recipe books.