Situation Briefs

So some how I have managed do 3 projects officially and another two some where along the line. As a group we were told 3 maximum, but I tagged along to other group projects if there was space.

This week I was meant to do Paulus’ situation brief, which I did, but before that I did Kira’s brief which was to redesign the telephone and save icons/symbols as they are now effectively outdated. A telephone doesn’t look like the handle and cord like it represents and when saving files, who saves them to a floppy disk?

This project wasn’t about just getting stuck in and drawing (well it was later on) but about dissecting what a symbol and icon actually mean, what was their purpose.

Once we had come to some kind of group agreement of what these words meant, we attempted to try and create a smell, texture and sound for both the telephone and saving process. This was really hard as you can imagine, what does a saving smell like?
There was some great responses and it was fun to try and think out the box and look at the project at another angle.

Finally we could begin drawing. We had all come to the decision that it a telephone should not be an image of an actual device as this would because the same problem again. If we had a symbol of an iphone, in 10 years it wont work… plus not everyone has an iphone therefore they wont know what it means. The same with saving, I might save to a USB stick, where someone else may use a external hard-drive.
We decided that we should represent the process of doing these actions, the action of using a telephone, the action of saving something, this was the icon could have longevity.

The telephone, and the interaction of conversation is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to represent, we worked in groups, but even still we got rather stumped very quickly!
I finally came up with something super quick and silly, that speak bubbles look like too faces from the side, sort of like two faces perhaps talking.

Next we started on the save icon, this was much easier as we were now in the process of thinking visually and more conceptually. It is quite hard to try create something new when the process of saving is something that you have done many times and with the same symbol.

We came up with a system that would be on programmes that you were using. There were 3 stages that showed a document in progress, that is being edited without saved changes, the second was the saving, and finally there was an icon for final save. As a design student I seem to end up with files called, FINAL… FINAL FOR PRINT… FINAL FINAL FINAL! And we hoped this last icon, a kind of a locked file would stop this odd renaming which didn’t really mean anything.

Thursday was Paulus’ talk, it was all to do with paper and production. It was good to hear this kind of information but the processes he was talking about was far to advanced for us. Talking about B size pages so that we could fit 16pgs on to one sheet etc I’m it was helpful information but I have to create 3 bespoke books next week, one of each, so this system was not helping me, but he did other help for the layouts that I had so far for my dissertation so that was great. More dissertation work next week!


I didn’t feel like there was anything to post about last week as I handed my work in and pretty much slacked off and didn’t do much concerning my dissertation or visualising it.
So this week now I have my feedback (which mostly spoke of careful editing, but all my case studies are good!) for my dissertation I can make edits to the text and try to fully engage with the visual aspect.

Today I took part in another situation brief that aimed to get the group to mix up the key parts of their dissertation and see how they linked together and what was it about that connection that made you think it was interesting.

I took the words Technological advancement, Mobility, Standardisation, Typography, Society, as I felt that these words focused on the main points and themes I brought up within my writing.
We put all our words together and were then split into groups of 3, no

w with all the words we had to create an A2 poster that had all 72 words and showed a connection/interest.

Within my group we naturally tried to categories the words into sub groups and then we looked at how they connected to each other. From this we wanted to look more so at the trends within the map, and what did it suggest.


We decided that the Anthropology & Language sort of went hand in hand, as well as Time & Technology, finally this left us with Print & Art – art being the bigger title and print being a subsection. This kind of grouping suggested that there was a process that all the dissertations looked at. Firstly it was to do with the individual/person/experience/ideas, then it went on to a process for example time/space/technology/movement, which resulted into an output/expression/art/message.


Funnily enough after this, another group had been working on the same idea, in that the words we had  resembled some kind of a process.

We also spoke about our own projects and how the visual piece might look. It was made clear to us that our visual does not have to summarise our whole dissertation, it can merely take the most interesting point or information from it. This explanation was a big help as many of us felt that a book or something was expected (well it seems the typical dissertation format)

So far I have decided that there are a few points that I want to rise, but they are all a bit different and talk about different aspects of my dissertation so I really need to pin point one of them as that would be easier than trying to convey many.

My main points of interest at this time are;

– the process of mapping and how this standardises a space (Navigation / control / mobility / freedom)
– Underlying systems whether mapping or social / typographical (sort of the same as above)
– How typography can affect someones behaviour…

Really these ideas link so I need to just create a concise statement but ultimately I am interested in the ideas of what is freedom… a map/ road signs/ timetable is a system used for mobility to enable freedom but they way in which they are created forces a kind of restraint ( whether in their design – such as grids/ or literally)

Tomorrow I’ll be editing my written work, sending it off for approval as well as working on a mind map of ideas and visuals for my final piece… tomorrow will be 3 weeks till hand in. O H  M Y  G O D

This week seems to of flown by, I literally can’t believe its the end of the 3rd week of uni already.
I’ve seemed to got ahead of schedule for the first dissertation hand in so i’ve been able to spend some time with my friends as well as have think about the visual element of my dissertation (more on that next week)

At the moment there isn’t really proper studio projects just weekly situation briefs. This weeks situation was more dissertation based and we had to look at our work so far, on a deeper level. Not editing and spell checking, but really looking at what we needed to add, what pieces of information was missing to make sure our writing made sense as well as covered all bases and loose ends.

We was meant to take along our whole dissertation which I didn’t realise to begin with so it took me around and hour to get the bloody thing printed. Either there was no printers, no paper and then finally I had no money on my card! But eventually got it printed.
First of all we looked at a simplification of our writing and how we could turn it into a question. From then on we looked at what our aims & objects were and from this we had to look through our writing as see if we did what we had set out to do.

^ This is a process of using different pens to mark out a found information, a quote to prove it, and then an opinion on the above.
There was a lot of stressing though, may of us had conflicting ideas about what was expected of us or formats that the work was meant to be in.

We also had to draw our dissertation, what it looks like at the moment, this way we could also see if there was any loose connections and how to fit all the information together. A lot of the group had pretty abstract drawings. However mine was pretty straight forward, quite logical. I think I may of came across like I didn’t want to do the task or was just being “safe” in my work, but the thing is I started this project in August, therefore I’ve spent a lot of time on it and i’ve had time to think of the structure of all the work. Perhaps this situation would have been more helpful to me two or so months ago when I was unsure of what I wanted to write about, as currently i’m pretty sure of what i’m doing and what needs to be done.

On wednesday we had a lecture by Joel Gethin Lewis who spoke about open source. The lecture was titled “What happens if we give everything away” Which is a great question, as design students we are all super conscious of people stealing our work or ideas. This lecture looked at ideas and projects in a different perspective. By allowing people to use, change, edit even copy work, you’re allowing the possibility of it becoming better.

He spoke of open source as not just coding or comptuery things but as a concept in general. Many of the questions from students at the end were surround the ideas of stealing or copying work. But he was pretty confident that them issues did not matter at all.

This lecture was definitely an eye opener. For example I run the risk of my dissertation being copied as I publish it online, but I think that its helpful to others as well as showing people what I am up to. People can read my work, talk to me about it, it can help them in writing their own dissertation, it can help them understand theories I have explored from another perspective… If I had not read so much information online perhaps I wouldn’t be able to produce the writing that I have. I agree with Joel that sharing work is important.

I’m looking forward to next weeks lecture, not sure what it is mind… but I would say that the lecture from Joel was one of the funniest as well as interesting I heard in a long long long time!

The second week of university has been far mire productive than the first. I’ve received feedback for my dissertation and i’ve been working on that (brand new case study and editing sections) and I also went to a lecture by Phil Baines about books, what they are, their purpose, and other pieces.

This week I also learnt to make and bind a small book, I’m pretty sure I wont remember the stitching though.

Finally I took part in my first of 3 situation briefs. This first brief was with Marc Wood a visiting lecturer and we had to use a statement that we felt represented our thoughts, feelings, beliefs in design.
Well… I thought I was ready for this, I had my statement ready which was,

Design is about communicating in the clearest possible way with the medium being a conscious design choice, that is used to enhance the purpose/meaning/message rather than be seen as an outcome of a logical design process

As you could imagine I thought that sounded pretty intelligent. I had it all planned of how I was going to used a bold typeface as I felt that this statement was confident and bold… etc

However this was the worst statement possible. Literally I couldn’t make anything that was “Fun” as this workshop was meant to be. To throw it out there when it comes to design I don’t know how to have “fun” I like to create something with purpose and meaning not something that is good looking for the sake of it.

So after 5 hours of me considering a career path change I decided that functional isn’t fun. That I don’t know how to do that. AND DING! the light bulb moment came. This is probably a truer statement for me. That I can’t seem to find the “FUN” in functional. I decided that this is what I was going to do, I show this through a generic modernist typeface.

After this Marc came over saying how it was so clever what I had done, and kept mentioning how I had made a new word… and he was also saying about the “C” I was totally confused by this, then everyone else clocked on that I spelt function wrong, not intentionally at all, I thought it was spelt funtion. Either way I still think it works, even more so with the correct spelling.

I want to take this a bit further and try and look at it in a positive way rather than a negative, and so I will trying to find the “fun” in functional. I will have play around with typefaces and colours and see where I get to. But I do feel like if I do it well enough it could be my first ever truly person piece of design work for my portfolio.

Next week it’s solid work on dissertation with more lectures and another situation brief which is actually connected to my dissertation.