AYSC – Reflection

I was apprehensive about starting the AYSC challenge over the 5 weeks as I had never done product design before, however I was excited to start. In the first week I was introduced to subjects such as ergonomics and anthropometrics, I found these to be quite difficult as I have never created work in 3D before. We were given partners, from different subject areas, with whom we would be creating the chair.. We were introduced to our client, the Ceramics lecturer,  Matt Thompson, who we interviewed to get a better idea of his interests. The main interests we discovered were that he enjoys cycling and other outdoor activities, his favourite colour is  blue and we found  that his children are very important to him. Using this information we started designing our chair.

I  have definitely learnt various new skills from this project. Within Graphic Design I am used to designing work in 2D so starting to think in 3D was a challenge. However after having help from some product design students I started to become more confident in the subject. I enjoyed putting the chair together however at some points I did feel slightly helpless when it came to creating the parts. However I was confident in my partner and he was very helpful explaining how everything worked.

Overall we were very happy with the chair when It was completed. We were able to test it to discover that it was more comfortable than it looked! I am very happy with how the tubes work to hold your weight, whilst also giving a slight element of surprise as you sit on it. I am happy with the chair’s unique appearance and it looks exactly like we had imagined. On the other hand if we were able to re-create the chair we would have made it slightly bigger, as it was cut slightly smaller than we had hoped. As well a this we could have experimented with pulling the inner tubes so that they were tighter and more consistent, so that it’s slightly more comfortable on your lower back.

Within my subject area I am used to working with others to create my work, so I was happy working collaboratively. It was interesting to see how others work in their subject, for example how their work is more hands-on whereas my work as a Graphic Designer is slightly more computerised.  Personally I thought that my partner and myself worked together really well as we had plenty of ideas to share and got things done fairly quickly. At first I found it difficult to incorporate my graphic design skills into the work, however I was able to come up with some ideas that would help the appearance of the chair. James, being the product designer definitely took on the role of making sure everything worked as it should.

I have learnt many new skills over the past five weeks, such as woodwork, using tools, developed my communication skills, working under pressure and time management. I will be able to use these skills in my future projects.

 

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AYSC – The chair

We started by creating a model  ‘cut out’ of the chair using the laser cutter. We were happy with the outcome and it gave us a better idea of what we could use as our secondary material. After getting the chair printed in Cardiff ‘FabLab’, we put it together to make sure everything fitted in place. As well as this we tested the chair to check for comfort, we decided that we needed a strong material to place over the top of each panel.

It was important that we used a material that related to the client’s work and other interests. The first idea was to stitch bubble wrap that would cover the panels and make it comfortable, We would create it so that it was removable. However this idea brought  a lot of problems, the bubble wrap might not take the weight if someone sat on it and it would be really risky to sit on. So we continued to experiment. We decided to visit a second-hand bike shop near the university, where they gave us plenty of bike materials/ parts to experiment with.

We decided to use the bike inner- tubes to cover the top of each panel. The tubes would be stretched so that they would take the weight and make it comfortable to sit on. We discovered that securing the tubes was going to be quite tricky. We needed to re-print the top struts with an extra slit in the side, so that we could wedge the tubes. After experimenting with this idea several times we decided to try something new. My partner came up with the idea of using elastic bands because the friction density would keep the tubes from slipping out.

Once we were happy with the system, we decided to find blue elastic bands ( our clients favourite colour) to put around the ends. For the surprise element for our client,  turning the chair upright reveals panels for storage/ shelves. The purpose of this is so that he can use it too keep any things he may create, being a ceramics lecturer, or perhaps something to keep hold of his children’s toys.

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After completing the chair, we took it to the photography room. We were able to get several pictures of our client sitting on the chair, to use for our A3 posters, the two pictures below are the ones we chose to use.

Are you sitting comfortably?

I was excited, yet apprehensive to start this field project. I have never done product design before and I wasn’t sure if it was something I would enjoy. In our first session we were given a brief introduction to what we would be doing over the next five weeks and then given a partner who we would be working with. Before starting on our chairs, we were introduced to multiple techniques which we would use to design the chairs from different angles, as well as discussing Ergonomics.

The brief 

The brief was to create a ‘bespoke chair/stool or seat’,  responding to a specific project brief based on the results from a staff/client interview. We will be provided with a 16 square foot, 4’x4’x12mm, or 1200x1200x12mm sheet of birch to create the chair, as well as using our own secondary material.

Before designing each chair, each group was allocated a lecturer, whose personality we would use to base the chair design around. Myself and my partner were allocated the ceramics lecturer, Matt Thompson. We were also given a sheet of interview questions to ask the client as well as adding our own questions. The main points we discovered from the interview was, that he enjoys cycling ( preferably mountain biking) and outdoor adventure, his favourite artist is David Hockney, his children (aged 6 and 4) are very important to him and his favourite colour is blue.  For inspiration we each had to create a mood board showing the lecturer’s interests and some potential chair ideas.

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As well as learning new skills to incorporate within our designs we were also given example of chairs, created by previous students. It was interesting to see how they used the materials and they inspired me to experiment with what types of materials would work successfully with our chair.

We started to gather some potential ideas for the chair, taking our interviewee’s answers as inspiration.  His interest in cycling and outdoor adventure appeared to be two important aspects of his life. We came up with an idea to use second-hand bike materials, such as  the bike tyres, handle bars or the material from the inner tubes. The first idea I came up with was a chair that would rock as you sit on it, the panels going across the chair would be made from tyre parts, as they are made of a strong material. Another factor that highlighted in the interview results was his unconditional love for his children. We wanted to make sure this was incorporated within the chair design. As his children were aged 4 and 6 we wanted to make sure that there was enough room for them to sit with him on the chair, and for them to be able to use it too.

The second idea was designed by my partner. The chair would be designed so that his bike’s front tyre could slot into the back of the chair. The chair would have a larger piece at the back with a slit for the tyre, a material hammock type seat and then two other pieces so that it opened like a deck chair. However, we didn’t think that this idea was experimental enough and it didn’t incorporate the needs of his children either, so we continued to develop our ideas.

I liked the idea of having a round, cocoon shaped chair, where our client would be able to sit back on it and could be joined by his children, making the chair socially inclusive.  The chair would be designed with five wooden panels and would rest on a round base. This was our preferred option and we decided to develop this idea.

As well as having it resting on the base, we came up with the idea of using similar mechanics to a bike to make the chair move in all directions. We would also use bike inner tubing as our secondary material for extra support. For the surprise element we also discussed possibly having a bike light, to use as a reading light at the top of the chair.

After discussing with the lecturer on the plan for this chair, we realised that we didn’t have enough material to make it possible, so we had to think of other ways to reduce the amount of materials used. We developed our idea so that the chair would be designed from half wood and half canvas material. Using the same shape and concept from the original cocoon idea, we wanted to create half the chair in the same way, however covering the top half of the chair using the canvas material. The material would then hang from a piece of wood that would be designed as the spine of the chair, using fabric ties.

For the inside of the chair, we discussed using foam, covered with recycled fabric from charity shops. We discussed using blue fabric as he said that blue was his favourite colour. This idea was then developed so that we would decorate the inside with cushions, again using recycled fabric for the cushion covers.

 

My peer started to design the model of our chair using a 3D software. Here we were able to see how our chair would sit and decide on any changes that needed to happen so that it would be stable. The first thing we noticed is that we needed the chair to be balanced. We came up with the idea of adding a stop in the wood so that it wouldn’t roll over. However, the chair plan still wasn’t completely stable, so we decided to experiment with using two wooden panels on the back of our chair. As I have never had experience of product design I was very apprehensive about the design of the chair.

 

We realised that our idea might be too ambitious for the time we had to create the chair, so we decided to change the idea completely so that the concept was slightly simpler. Our new idea used less material  which made it simpler to design and we found it easier to incorporate our recycled materials. My peer came up with the idea of potentially using stabilizers on the chair, this way you would be able to move the chair around. Another idea we considered was to use bubble wrap as our secondary material, as padding on the top of our chair. Again I thought it would be interesting to experiment with making the material removable by using fabric ties.

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PDP

My constellation was ‘The Meshwork of Objects’ with Jacqui Knight. I was apprehensive but also curious to start. In the first session we briefly discussed what we were going to be learning over the following weeks. We had an induction to ‘The meshwork of objects’,  Transdisciplinarity perspective and our relationship with objects, subjects and ‘Thingness’.

In the second session we discussed, “What is Structural Materialist Film?”. In the session our main focus was ‘exploding the black box of cinema’ where we  looked at examples of structural materialist films that point to film as material and create handmade films to understand the ‘thinglyness’ of film, it’s ontology and also how the apparatus works together with the film material to provide an interpretation of the objects. As well as this we experimented with how the apparatus changes our perceptions of objects and what it means for scientific experiments or objective knowledge.

Before this session I had no understanding or knowledge of materialist/ structural film’s. I learnt that the films are usually short, experimental and Non- illusionist. They don’t usually document a narrative or follow a set of actions and usually show relations between segments, from what the camera is aimed at and the way that ‘image’ is presented. As well as this I learnt that you also get a sense of the camera person, where the camera becomes an extension of the body, as if you’re watching from the camera man’s perspective.

Similar to my ‘New Materialism’ constellation sessions with Dr Martin Woodward, it was interesting to see how objects within film also become extensions of your body. It reminded me of the extract from Pallasmaa’s ‘The Working Hand’ which explains that, a painter paints by the means of the mind rather than the brush as a physical object. Throughout the session, my knowledge and understanding of how the object becomes a part of our body, and shapes our creative practice.

I also learnt how you can identify a materialist film by looking at examples of work such as ‘Berlin Horse, by Malcolm Le Grice, 1970‘ where you see a film of horses becoming more and more distorted throughout the clip. I believe that the films make you feel rather confused, similar to ‘Fluxus’, short films with moving images with distorted and annoying sound effects. It was interesting to see how you can identify structural films by the imperfections, usually the creator’s aren’t interested in removing scratches because it shows the process of the film going through a projector. They’re also not interested in taking out grain, dust and hair that get stuck in the emulsion.

I enjoyed this session as I learnt about a topic I had never come across before. With Graphic Design I usually focus on topics surrounding my subject so it was interesting to learn something about a subject outside my course. I’m not usually drawn to film, as I have never had the chance to experiment with the equipment or materials so It was exciting to be able to try something new. I definitely felt as if I learnt a new set of skills from this session which I am excited to bring into my work as a graphic designer, such as experimenting with using handmade films in some of my future projects.

Another session that inspired me was based in Cardiff Museum, where we were put into groups and told to wander around the museum and find an object/ artwork that stood out to us and inspired us. We were told to discuss how the object had been presented and what inspired us to choose it. I enjoyed this session as I believe it related to graphic communication, understanding how to place objects so that they provide an experience for the viewer, similar to how as a graphic designer you must design your work so that it suits your client.

It was interesting to see how you as an individual can develop an emotional attachment to a particular object, where others might not have, for example, the background and previous experiences, leading the individual to develop their own personal interest. As we discovered the space I became aware that my fellow peers had different opinions on the objects/ artworks which reflected their practice.

The two sessions inspired me to think about how objects are presented within exhibition spaces and the relationship between the creator and the viewer, which I will discuss in my formative essay.  I will be discussing how objects are presented and curated so that they provide an experience for the viewers. As well as this I will be discussing examples of exhibition spaces and objects that have been presented in creative and interesting ways, the physiology behind exhibition spaces/ colour and commercial/ online spaces.

This constellation has not only been useful, but it’s inspired me to consider other subjects outside my course. It has helped me within my practice to think about the way I create and to widen my research topics. The sessions have definitely inspired me to think ‘outside the box’ when starting on projects and how my piece of work affects others. I will definitely be applying this to my work in the future. I will explore the many ways I could include film within my practice and consider how the objects we use become an extension of the body.  I am now considering how others go about presenting their work and how I could use inspiration from others so that my work can be presented in a better way.

Animation

FIRST ANIMATION

My idea behind the animation was to experiment with shadows moving across a concrete building, however I didn’t want to give anything away. I decided to film various shadows of a figure walking past a brutalist building, so that you could see the bodily shape and the movement of her clothing. Similar to my typographic system I wanted to keep the video minimal and brutalist, which I think I have succeeded to do.

Personally I feel as if there is an element of mystery to the animation, which makes you want to look further into the work. I have also placed the logo in the middle of the animation, because I believe that the logo is an image in itself. As well as this I placed the date and location of the exhibition, which pops up at the end of the animation. Throughout the video the brutalist hashtag is visible, so that anyone who would be passing would be able to access the media site. Overall I do believe that I needed to make some improvements to the animation so that it was nice, eye-catching and consistent with the ephemera.

FINAL ANIMATION 

Once I had updated my ephemera I decided to move on to changing my animation. Similar I changed the typeface and added colour, I also decided that the date and location of the exhibition was much more important that the social media hashtag, so I created it so that it pops up at the end. I believe that this is visually stronger as it follow’s a more structured system.

Even though I am happy with the animation I am disappointed with how dark the shadows are, and if I had more time I would definitely want to experiment with creating stronger shadows using bigger lights. I would also experiment with having different elements of clothing, movements and photography.

At first I had considered displaying the animation on bus stops or digital billboards around London however I didn’t feel like they celebrated it enough. I then experimented with projecting the video on brutalist buildings around the city, for example The South Bank Building shown below. This way people can not only see the video being played but they’re given some added information into what the exhibition’s all about!

Way-finding

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Following my original ideas, I wanted to keep the way-finding minimal so that they are consistent with the other ephemera. To create the signs I decided to use the pen tool around my logo, knowing that the longer part would work as an arrow. There would be three types of signs available around the museum ( right/left/up),  all of them would include the name of the exhibition and date. I’m happy with the logos because they look modern and they differently give you a sense of the shape of brutalist buildings. The signage definitely stands out in the space as they’re bold and striking. However after some consideration I decided that I could experiment with a more delicate signage full of movement, similar to my logo. This would then work better for the purpose of my exhibition which is to show people how designers have created elegant fashion from concrete buildings.

To show movement in my signage, I decided to cut the top part of my logo and use it as the arrow. I then placed the exhibition name and date beside the sign. I am very happy with the outcomes, I believe they’re visually striking as well as being easy to read. The signage also gives a sense of movement, similar to my logo which I think is important because it fits perfectly with the purpose of my exhibition. After placing my signage into the space, I am positive that it is visually stronger than my original idea. The signage looks more elegant on the walls and definitely suggests that it’s a fashion exhibition.

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Another part of my way finding was to create a sign that gives a back story to the exhibition and the content, It will be placed outside the entrance. I have decided to use pink as my main colour, because personally I think it’s one of the main colours you wouldn’t put with brutalist architecture. I have kept the sign similar to the posters to show consistency.  Below is the first example, I decided to use multiple logos, all with different opacity to give depth and detail. However, after placing it into the exhibition space I decided that they were too busy and that my layout needed to be more balanced.

I decided to change the layout so that there was more negative space. I moved the block of text the left, leaving plenty of room to place my logo. I wanted use only half of my logo so that it doesn’t look too busy, as well as this I changed the opacity on one of the logos to create depth. I definitely believe that the changes have made the work much more visually balanced.

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Typographic System

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For the main part of my typographic systems I have created a set of posters, decorated with he logo, date of the exhibition, where the exhibition is placed and the brutalist hashtag. Whilst creating my posters I wanted to keep my logo as the main image and keep the colours minimal/ brutalist. At first I decided to use only black and white, as I wanted to celebrate the buildings without taking away all of their features for example their ‘raw’ exterior. I wanted to place the images as if they were moving on the page, again keeping with the purpose of the exhibition. Overall, I think that the posters looked  visually brutalist, however I believed that they needed to be even more eye-catching!

I decided to place the posters into various platforms to get a feel of what they would look like around the city of London. The outcomes justified that I needed to experiment with a more contemporary design.

After my tutorial I was told to experiment with colour, as it will help to portray a celebration of the architecture. Instead of changing the colour of my logo, I decided to experiment with  placing coloured text “Dress the industry” on top of the image. I was inspired by Ervell’s idea of creating clothes that dressed the industry, I felt like this line was very fitting to the exhibition as well as giving a brief insight into the content. I also experimented with changing the style of typeface to Baskerville and using a different colour on each poster. Personally I believed that the type and colour worked but the visual layout of the poster wasn’t strong enough.

I then created another set of posters, concentrating on hierarchy. I decided to move the basic information to the top and added the V&A museums logo, so that it’s easier to recognise. Creating the posters in this layout has definitely made it easier to read due to the stronger use of hierarchy. I wanted to keep the hashtag ‘#BRUTALISTfashion’ in a san serif font, to suggest the use of social media. To make the posters stand out even more, I have decided to use bright colours that I believe are eye-catching and changed the opacity on some of the logos to create depth.

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I decided to experiment with how the posters would look around London. My first idea was to have banners placed all over London instead of posters stuck up on wall’s. I also thought it was important to place the posters in the tube stations around the city, as they are busy at all times.

TUBE

Tote Bag’s 

As part of my typographic system I decided to use tote bags, which are decorated with the logo. I decided to create one white/black bag with the logo placed in the middle of the fabric and then another set with the logo randomly placed over the bag. I have also decided to place the hashtag ‘#BRUTALISTfashion’ on the bottom left corner of each bag, so that people are encouraged to share their opinions.  I believe that handing the bags out after the exhibition will guarantee that people will remember the exhibition and be able to visit the social media sites such as ‘Twitter’.

DIGITAL

For my digital ephemera I decided to create a website so that people are able to find key information such as, what the exhibition’s about, the content, who are the designers and get an overall feel of the work. At first, I wanted to keep the website very minimal so that they were consistent with he posters. Straight away I could see that the website wasn’t contemporary or exciting, which is something I wanted to include in my brand identity.

Similar to the  posters I decided to use colour on the website, instantly this made a big difference. When you visit the website I wanted to make sure that the design was straight forward and that it felt friendly and creative. Different to the first set of designs I decided to change the font so that all the ephemera is consistent, visually I think it’s worked really well!

Throughout my typographic systems I have used the hashtag “#BRUTALISTfashion” so that people are able to have easy access to media surrounding the exhibition. The hashtag can be used on social media sites such as ‘Twitter’ ( examples below) or ‘Instagram’. Information surrounding the exhibition will be uploaded on the site, keeping people updated about the inspirations within. Visitors to the exhibition will also have a big influence after sharing their opinions on the display and works within.