Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Design Research Methods: Critical Reflection On Design Project A

My journey through out developing the “What Do We Throw Away” campaign started with learning about RSA projects and reading the briefs carefully. Despite the fact that I find all the briefs quiet interesting and original, I decided to work on “Make Something Disappear”. It is because environmental issues and over consuming are significant problems concerning the entire world. Therefore, I started planning my project with collecting my reading list via RSA resources and module proforma’s. As much as I read about recycling and sustainability I find out that the current solutions certainly are not enough for covering the damage we cause on earth. In my case designing a new object would not be the answer, therefore I started to think about re-using existing objects and how to change people’s behaviour patterns about their wasting habits.
Originally, my idea was to make our useless objects multifunctional so people would not throw them away and use them for different purposes. After gathering enough information to reach outcomes, I feel the need to clear my ideas and at that point the mapping technique was a perfect solution for me. Therefore, I wrote down all my starting points (Past options, wasters/habits, future options) in the middle and developed my map around them. Thus, this process makes me release the importance of the motivation and communication among social campaigns and their audience. So I decided to expand my concept with a webpage (Which will function as a social network, so users may create their personal accounts and participate even more.) and a smart phone application to capture a wider amount of audience and build a strong communicational network. In the light of this evidence, my very fist map was my mentor during developing the campaign.
My second challenge was to develop the right design concept for my campaign. Therefore, using recyclable materials was necessary in order to serve the spirit of the project. After an accurate research, I have managed to find a sustainable printing centre, which also informed me about the process. Thereby, the employee at the printing centre advised me to use cardboard for the cover of my booklet, recycling paper for the pages and silver-ink for press. When I feel absolute about the materials, I started to work on the cover of my booklet, which also shaped the whole design concept. By using cardboard, my options were already limited about colours, so I decided to focus on the visual language and pictograms. I simply started with drawing basic objects (Plastic bottles, paper cups, compact discs etc…), which are known to be as top wasters. At that point I was clear about the name of my campaign, “What Do We Throw Away” so it made perfect sense to put those waste icons into human shapes. In my estimation, this solution explains the title of my project successfully with its narrative function.
While I was working on my concept mapping, I had determined my target audience as all people who cares about the environment. However, I needed to test and discuss my solutions with the audience. So, met with people between different age groups and ask them some questions to understand how they feel about re-using their wasters. Therefore, I discover that most people do not want to spend too much time by manufacturing the ideas, but they were eager to learn about innovative solutions on recycling and sustainability. This evidence had changed the direction of my process. Thus I decided to create a booklet, which will inspire people about how they can assess their wasters, instead of creating strict lines on how to manufacture the ideas. At that point, I released that my angel about the whole situation was very similar with the organization called “We Are What We Do”. So, I contacted with them and after a couple of weeks I managed to meet with the Communication Director of the organization, Lucia Komljen. Therefore, Miss Komljen was very constructive and open-minded while she was analyzing my project. Furthermore, she inspired me about displaying my project as a pack, which includes all the instruments serves my solution. In the light of this evidence, I agree with Miss Komljen that my work would be more presentable and marketable with a package. So, I developed a box, made by cardboard to place my sketchbook, maps, and booklet in it.
It was surprising for me to release how hard is to create a motivation for the audience. Before I started my degree on Design for Communication, I have always worked on the design part of the projects instead of thinking how the solutions are going to work on real people. However, this semester make me think about the importance of the notion behind my solutions and the connection between the tools that I can use to create a difference. In contrast to that discovery, I was quiet accurate and absolute about the printing process. It is because I have studied Graphic Design subject for my undergraduate degree I believe I have enough experience on packaging design and printing prototypes. Consequently, it was not a hard thing for me to arrange the pages of the booklet and manufacture the box.
Taking everything into consideration, I am happy and satisfied about the final results of the RSA project and my educational improvement during this semester. On the other hand, I would pay particular attention on the observation and interaction process if I were to do a similar design project again. It is because as far as I studied this brief, I have noticed that everything we do as graphic designers is for people to benefit. In this manner, spending more time on how to create a valid solution is more important than designing a nice layout. I believe this aspect will bring my work a humanistic touch and functionality among my design and audience. All in all, this semester had taught me a golden rule, which is putting people over design.

Reference List 
The list of the references inspired me during the evolution of my research and concept development.
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Gluckman, J., Focus On Sustainability, PRODESIGN, April-May, 2006, no. 82, PP.38-40
Harvey, J., Lightbulbs And Nappies: Sustainable Development And Consumer Perceptions, International Journal of Sustainable Design, 2008, vol. 1, no.1, pp. 13-28
Jones, P., Bottling Up, New Design, 2009, no. 68, pp. 58-59
Lehrer, J., Is Going Green As Hard As It Seems? , Print Magazine, F + W Publications, October 2009, vol. 63, no. 5, pp.28-29
Lehrer, J. and Hunter, M., Project Renewal, Print Magazine, F + W Publications, August 2010,vol. 64, no. 4, pp.30-31

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Stuart, T., 2009, Waste: Uncovering The Global Food Scandal UK: Penguin
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We Are What We Do, 2004, Change The World for a Fiver UK: Short Books Ltd
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Web Sites
Apple Recycling Program,,
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Earth 911, Environmental Services Company,,
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Recycle Now, Informational Organization,,
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Recycle Zone, Education Resources,,
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