Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Assignment 5B

Relating back to semester one furniture project!

In this task i was asked to write a bit about how i would change a recent studio project by adding skills from semesters one and two if had the chance to it again.As this year we have mainly focused on group briefs i was unsure which to write about but i think i shall go with the furniture project of semester one.
For this project we were put into groups of three and asked to design a piece of furniture. After awhile we came up with a concept for creating a chair. we researched different kind of chair designs and loved designs by droog so decided to incorporate the idea of mobility with a seat. Our main idea was based around the idea of sitting next to someone. We designed 3 stools which can be connected together or become totally isolated. this was our main idea behind it. The idea was that if you wanted to sit next to a friend you could connect to them. if you didn't want to sit next to someone you could take the stool away and connect to someone else. We were also asked to incorporate colour and show what that colour represented and what mood we were trying to portray.
Observation skills were used a lot during this process so i would be lying if i said that we should observe people to see if the sit next to strangers willingly... On a bus for example people try to find a seat by themselves, they don't want to be sat next to.
Using the pictures could work from assignment two as we could ask people what emotions different chairs bring or different colours make you feel... there could be a series of photos and we could ask them to write their own imaginative story based around them.
Maybe we could have done more research into how people sit and want to sit for example we designed our stools to be based in a shopping center, ideally they would be tagged and let loose almost to see where in say the overgate they would end up. We found this really interesting how people can move their seats in public. its a fun game. As they are on wheels its very simple to move them.
We might have been a lot more aware about the design of the product for the public through what we have learnt from design studies. Perhaps we could have thought more about the durability of the product, oak is a good, strong material to use but is very expensive also, would this be possible in a cheaper form? will it still look good? do the job its made to do? We might have designed different sizes, different styles, different personalities for our chairs i think. I personally would have liked to see a "family" of them. Taller stools, shorter stools, thinner stools, longer stools... the possibilities are endless.
I think the main thing Design Studies has shown me, (without sucking up too much!) is that blogging is what we need to do today to get ourselves seen and heard by the world. The world is too huge and without blogging how will anyone hear of your work? blogs are brilliant! i have found different blogs i am really interested and am loving! For example Ric O'barry's 'save japan dolphins' blog is really inspiring and i really look up to his conservation efforts. I think the blogging process makes you more laid back about writing also. Its not as formal as an essay, its almost like your notepad its somewhere for you to connect with your friends in the world of design/ the world! Get yourself heard!!

Assignment 5A


Successful product branding is dependant on lots of things. If you can clearly show the message and get to know clients needs and wants you will ultimately be onto a success. I want to investigate how some brands are defeating other brands, what makes some brands more successful than others? how can we change our perceptions of perfection? i want to find out the meaning behind the advertising, the production of the products and how much toxic chemicals are released into the atmosphere each year. facts like that will shock the public and change our idea of a perfect lifestyle.

The American marketing association (AMA) identifies a brand as a ‘name, term, sign, symbol, design’, or a combination of them. Therefore good branding is achieved by understanding your target market and providing answers to their problems. You must not only deliver the message well but connect and motivate the client in a way in which they want to use your work again, you need to prove your loyalty to the project. You must also take the time to research and produce the message behind your brand. Why? Who is it aimed at? You must ask yourself these questions while in the process of creating a brand image.

Brand image sells your product. The product sells your brand. Good quality and aesthetics lead to your brand becoming a success. Word of mouth is spread from person to person like an air born infection if a new product comes out which is about to revolutionise how we live our lives on a daily basis. Ground breaking technology seems to come forward, gradually out-doing its competition. It’s crazy; we live in a throw-away society. The “stuff” we buy turns into junk within a matter of months. New “stuff” comes out, promising to be better, do more “stuff” and make you look good, feel good. Landfills are piling high full of our so called revolutionary technology.
Recently I saw the film ‘valentine’s day’ and it made me think of the pressure we are subconsciously put through. The amount of brand power involved in the film industry is immense. Everything and anything is advertised through the film industry and celebrities. In this film there happened to be a tone of celebs, they all seem flawless. You buy into this persona, they are acting. People see on these films how good the actors/ celebrities look and buy into it, they want to create this perfection for themselves. It’s a lot of pressure to be under, especially for young teens. Magazines are a prime example, flicking through any magazine but especially things like vogue you can see a tone of adverts calling out to you. They are crammed full of pressure brought forward by the branding and advertising to make you want to buy their products. I like to call it the “coolness factor”.

As i am focusing on brands it would be an obvious start to pick a couple of brands that that popular and work well, appealing to different categories of people and contrasting them with brands that have failed. These failed/ failing brands may have been regenerated, like Marks & spencers. They may have gone out of business. But that is what i would start of by doing. Researching different brands and where they stand in the current market. I would look at profits and comprise a series of line graphs to show the increase of sales/ decreases over a certain time period. From there i would then decide if that brand is a successful one or a negative one based on the facts on paper. This would be a good starting point because after all my research is conducted i can compare the “facts on paper” with the more “psychological experiments.”

Why are some brands more successful than others? To answer this I need to really think outside the box. I will need to use lots of different social experiments to help me come up with the answer. I don’t want to focus on one type of product i want to focus on many different ones. Clothes, technology, kitchens! You name it. One of the brands i really like just now is innocent smoothies! I particularly even like smoothies. Its the simplistic packaging and easy message that has gained the respect from the consumer. Products like this deserve to succeed, that use simple messages and that are good honest products.

Through thinking of branding in a supermarket i would randomly select a few different well known products from well known companies and then also purchase the same cheaper supermarket equivalent. I will then go and ask a random selection of people to choose which product they would go for if they would go into a shop. Then using a quick set of questions I would then ask about the packaging, design, ease of use, also ask things like which one looks simpler to cook and which looks nicer. Why did people choose that? What kind of people were they? Using observation skills, what wear their physical appearance? Were they healthy looking? Did they have children? After the interviewing process did I notice a visible difference in results? Did I expect the results to be that way?

Relating to the short video we watched in Design Studies based on young teens who were obsessed with labels and brands. I also decided to focus on clothing. Using different styles and focusing on the latest trends i would do the same experiment as the supermarket food but instead buy clothes from high end retail store and low end retail store. I would then see if different age groups act differently to branding. Would children care more than their parents? I found this quite interesting after watching that cringe worthy programme! Was I as bad when I was growing up? Yes i was obsessed with ‘Tammy Girl’ and ‘Claire’s accessories’ but i don’t think it was as bad for me growing up as it is now. Kids get physically and mentally bullied by not having the latest trends or by wearing old trainers. I decided i would test this in my proposal. I want to find out why, and if we can convince people to change their opinions on branding.

As i have decided to repeat the test again i can then compare the results i gained. This will make the results more accurate and if it all goes wrong i have a plan B. If the results fail completely i would then re-do my experiment and use banners and observe how many people went u and viewed the banners. I would have one for say a high end retailer such as topshop and a less desirable one such as Primark. I would have information on the posters about the hottest new trends in store so if it was topshop it might be the ‘new’ boyfriend blazer trend, and in Primark it could be simple printed cotton tops? I would want to make it a fair test by having the same amount of information on each. After doing this, I would place them in certain locations, around Dundee/ Scotland? I would then choose a safe distance and tally the amount of people that stopped and viewed each poster. I would observe the type of people, are they fashionable? What body image do they portray? After doing this i would count the results and see if i could count as people with bags from the two shops and almost observe how many people would choose topshop over Primark and vice versa.

In conclusion i propose to to answer the questions relating to brand power. I plan to observe, interview, test and research my line of thought in an attempt to change public perception of branding itself. i hope that as a human beings we can look past packaging and see what is beneath the exterior of the purchase. Are the two contrasting companies products made in exactly the same companies? with exactly the same materials? what makes something more expensive. why is topshop 10x more expensive than shops such as primark? these are the things i would like i look into further. I want to test the public and show them what is under the sexy branding surface. I want to dig deeper and uncover the truth of the products.
Lake Laura, American marketing association (AMA)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Wanna see my sketch book cover?! no? ok... ill show you anyway!
I usually just buy a sketchbook from DoJ but recently in class we have been attending a book binding class at the DCA! its all to do with our project and lets us have one-on-one time with Emma Fraser our client. Its good fun... and at home while i was ill and bored i decided to have an attempt of making a cover for my sketches... i used paper mache! simple stuff then tore out different colours and textures from magazines and newspapers and made a wee collage!

Assignment 4- Interviews

I chose to interview people about how celebrity culture effects branding of products!

I started thinking how these interviews could help me in the proposal writing process so decided to focus on a sub-topic of the branding culture.

I started off asking people who their idols were. who they looked up to... almost like a pre-interview attempt... i found that this varied depending on the gender and age.

The experiment

The question

I asked 3 people who their celebrity idol was. I also asked why and if they would buy a product endorsed by that particular person. Who wouldn't they buy a product back by...

An eleven year old female was asked the question, she responded Miley Cyrus because she is pretty, young and successful. She also started out singing when she was around the subjects age and looks up to her. She said she wouldn't want anything advertised by a man as it wouldn't be girly enough especially not a sportsman, such as david beckham.

20 year old male, was asked the same questions, he responded obviously different than subject one. he said he looks up to "the usual people" so when i asked who they were he struggled to come up with a name which i found quite strange. Maybe because he was on the spot i don't know but he struggled! eventually he said he looks up to music bands especially pop/ punk bands such as muse. When i asked why he said he wasn't sure just because of the way they dress and likes their music. He said he wouldn't buy products endorsed by younger singers such as Justin beiber...

19 year old female, was asked the same thing, responded quite interesting actually... she said she would buy a product from a man and a woman. i found this interesting as my other subjects had a clear dislike to a certain person or image. She didnt seem to mind. what she said was interesting as she said if a girl was selling you a product like cheryl cole she would buy it because if she thought a successful woman would buy it and use it then she should! She also said if a hunky man was telling her to buy a certain perfume or something she probably would because he would like the smell and she would appeal to him more... this got me thinking a lot...

There are some things that cant be done! Say if Gerard Butler was to advertise tampons?! Would women run out and buy them?! probably not... they wouldn't because he doesn't understand what a woman needs and wants. but if he was to advertise say a t-shirt then they would probably buy it! As subject 3 said she would buy something to get the attention of the celebrity. He obviously liked it enough to advertise it so people respect this and want to buy it because they want him.

I then asked them what they thought about interior design in general... i asked them to sum up my discipline in 3 words. what i got back was pretty expected... "pillows, throws, wallpaper" not "ground breaking brilliance!" i asked myself why?! why do people not understand what interiors is about?! i realised i had to admit ok... it is a tiny proportion to do with wallpaper and cushions and throws... but it is more to do with emotion and expression! Peoples needs and wants. Architecture, historic features, design for hotels... Design is about people, my discipline is no different, Laurence Llewelyn Bowen is the reason people believe interiors is a about decoration. flamboyant patterns and faux fur galore! Its not... Even when i tell people on the street what i do they say to me ... "oh i need my living room decorated ill give u a shout!"... Its quite annoying how stereotypes are fueled by hundreds of TV programmes. don't get me wrong i loved watching changing rooms when i was younger but it has totally destroyed peoples opinions on interiors in my opinion.

Pre-essay posting!

= ) (some of my notes and workings)

Just as i was writing my essay proposal i noticed that my previous post really is almost the same thing im saying in my proposal... on the same topic anyway!

I am actually enjoying writting my proposal, i never thought i would... (sorry Jonathan!) but as i started writing my introduction and also thinking what to include in my plan i realised it's a dead intresting topic and relates to design a lot... even interiors!

By reading articles and bits and bobs online i was really inspired and ready to rock and roll!

With radio 1 playing in the background and 3 cans of diet coke later i found myself sucked in and ready to put myself in a brandy markety mode!

Monday, March 29, 2010

bigger is better?!

So recently i got a digital SLR a huge camera which cost a fortune! ha ha! It got me th-th-thinking about products we buy and relating back to what Jonathan said in the final lecture about the business of design i thought id think about it further...
Personally i am a bit of an innovator and an early adaptor! (if i do say so myself!)... Usually the things i buy which make me an innovator do not usually become a big trend! But occasionally they do... for instance i was one of the first idiots to buy a mini-disk player! so hard to use, it didnt take off... The ipod nano though! the first one... the first credit card sized ipod out there at the time, i bought which caught on. (Don't know if that's because i bought it or not!... only kidding!)
Ipods became huge because of branding and advertising. they were made to look cool! and by people buying them they revolutionized music, and turned it into something easy, download-able tunes! So if i was to advertise a smelly old sock? and have advertising with everyone who is anyone wearing it on their head as a hat... everyone would do it? maybe... Lady gaga might be seen with one soon! I wouldn't be surprised!

but anyway back to my mighty nikon camera! I recently saw David Beckham on an advert with a huge camera up to his face, he then gave a cheeky wee grin! i was just wondering if maybe i am an innovator/early adopter for the slr revolution! ... i know what you are thinking, SLR's have been around for a long time... but digital SLR's are quite new things to have especially for teens... is this because of the price? maybe because they aren't seen as, for being cool?!

I predict that big is becoming better! people are starting to prefer having chunky good quality things! for example a cheap table from ikea and a gorgeous solid oak table... people would usually prefer the oak chunky, more expensive yes... but something that will last forever and not break and fail instantly! fashion's change and new things become popular and come back into style all the time! recently chunky jewelry has come in... and looking back to one of our lectures at the start of the year where Jonathan pointed out that everyone is wearing stripes! stripes are so in right now you are a no-body without stripes! that's what this advertising has done to us! we think we are being independent and new! but in fact these decisions have been made for us!

What a world! I just hope i can be proven right! and if lady gaga has a sock on her head next week! ill be sure to post about it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Task 3 - "Design safari"

For this task i decided to observe somewhere i am quiet familiar with, the bus stop! As i get the bus into uni through the week and work at the weekend i am pretty familiar with the process in which my 45 minute - 1 hour journey takes! So usually what happens is i leave my house in Carnoustie at around 8 each morning which then gets me into Dundee at about 9...
Today i am the first person at the bus stop i have approximately a 5 minute wait for the bus. As i wait it becomes clear that the bus is late... 5 minutes pass to 10 minutes and eventually it comes. What i noticed though is that when people walked towards the bus stop they stood around the corner behind a building... It was a very windy day and at this particular stop there was no shelter... So one by one they crossed over the busy main road and gradually popped their heads out from the corner, to see if the bus was coming...
I found this quite clever as the were almost creating a new bus shelter that i hadn't been aware of. As i stood and waited in the open being blown about and sand blowing in my face i felt quite silly that i hadn't thought of that before! for me i am a regular super bus-goer! and these pensioners out-smarted me!
So eventually the bus came and the pensioners raced to hop on the bus but what i noticed was i was almost the decoy! because i was standing there the bus had to stop and let me on... but if i wasn't there would they have waited that couple of meters away?! Quite a crucial distance for their zimmer frames!! ... So i decided to test this..
.The next day at the same time... I decided to do what they did the previous day, so i left my house that little bit later and lesuirely walked out to get the bus. There was no one on the corner so i thought to myself... "mmm that interesting!" as i walked around the corner i saw that there were 3 old ladies at the bus stop (2 of which were their the day before)... so i decided to wait on teh corner untill teh bus came... i wanted to see if the bus driver would treat me any differently than they would treat a pensioner! (obviously it would be a different driver and maybe it wasnt that much of a windy day... but in general i did wee experiment) so as i saw the bus appearing in the distance i gradually started to walk towards the bus stop when the bus passed me, the pensioners got on and the doors shut! I had to run and flag down the bus before it drove off without me...
As i got on the double decker bus i noticed there was a teenage boy sitting at the front of the bus on the lower floor. I decided to sit at the back of the bus and observe how people reacted as they got on the bus... (note: the boy had a cast on his foot/leg? so he must have not been able to get up the stairs) I found this interesting because as the oldies got on the bus they glared at the boy as if he should move but in fact he deserves the seat as much as they did, if not more... i found it really funny as well because he was wearing adidas track suit bottoms with the stripes down the sides and a grey hoody... so maybe this posed as a threat to the oldies! no one sat next to him until they had to and even then they turned their backs and talked to their friends. he struggled to get off the bus and no one helped him. I have witnessed hundreds of times people helping frail elderly people up but what made him so different? was it his clothes? if he was wearing something else would he have gotten a help? Maybe his body language showed he didnt want to be helped? Everyone completely ignored him even the bus conductor...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Update on 12 week interiors project...

Just a quick update on my line of thought for this project...

Although half way through i cant seem to get very motivated(probably because its such a long project i tend to think... oh i have plenty of time!) . So i think if i update on my blog every so often just so i can see and show my process almost like a written sketchbook!
Just a little background on the project first of all...

We need to re-model and develop a Victorian house for a book conservationist, Emma Fraser. She requires a work space and a studio within the large house, this needs to be 40m2 and somewhere within the house. There are all sorts of restrictions as books need to be kept in a constant low temperature, somewhere without direct sunlight and so on.

As well as a studio we have been asked to design living quarters for her! especially somewhere to relax and entertain her friends!

Emma has spent a lot of time travelling, throughout Europe, China and South Africa where she studied and lived... As different cultures are oobviously quite interesting to her i decided to adopt the feeling of different traditions, and almost merge them together subtly... i started off looking at African design and styles (quite stereotypical objects and prints)... I found that a lot of dark ebony wood is used to create bowls and structures. I came across a lot of stereotypical thing as well such as bone, shells and rich colours.

different prints + textiles...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Activity 2E- Adding text

I felt i didnt need to add text to my photos as my subjects were quite clear on the story...

I dicovered that people can tell a lot through photographs that dont belong to them! At first people look at you and say "oh god i dunno!" but when you tell them to look at anything in the image they can start to reveal little stories and try to uncover what is actually going on in the photo! its amazing how personal photos are to yourself but probably could be understood by an on-looker!

Activity 2D: The fourth image

I decided to add a fourth image to see if doing so would give the same kind of response if asking a different person!
I decided to go with Subject 1's story as i found an image of a couple watching the fireworks!

I then asked the same questions to a different group of people.. the reponce was quite a positive one!

Subject 5-
Im on holiday in Australia with what appears to be my wife/ girlfriend. we are cuddling as we watch the fireworks. It looks like we are older and perhaps on our honeymoon?
- Male, 19, art student

Subject 6-
On holiday perhaps with my parents? We are in Sydney and and standing watching the fireworks.
- Female, 18, art student

Subject 7-
Obviously with someone i care about in australia watching the fireworks display? maybe on new years?
- Male, 20, geography student

I found it amazing by adding just one extra picture i managed to give slightly more visual information to people which led to them almost discovering the same outcome! (romance, watching fireworks, holidays?!)

Activity 2C: Talk to people

After selecting my random pictures i then asked a few people to create a story based around them. I let them choose their own order and jotted down their response...

Subject 1-
I was traveling with my boyfriend, somewhere abroad. It was a cold autumn night, clouds formed above us. We looked up to see fireworks shooting through the sky above us! It was very romantic.

- Female, 16, high school

Subject 2-
While visiting friends in Sydney, we sat and sheltered under bushy trees and waiting for the firework display!

- Male, 21, law student

Subject 3-
I had just immigrated to Australia. I arrived in March, coming from our winter to their autumn. I had moved into a lovely suburban neighbourhood surrounded with trees. My first night in Australia, I visited the Sydney Opera House where i watched the firework displays. Almost as if Sydney was welcoming my arrival with a big bang!

- Female, 19, psychology student

Subject 4-
After a long day on the way to watch the fireworks in the city we stopped the car and stood under beautiful apple trees where we rested in the shade looking up at the blue sky through the branches.
- Female, 20, art student

Activity 2B: Select random images

Three random pictures from