GDE740 - Week 2

Week 2 – Research

My initial reaction to listening to this week’s lecture is that no two design processes can be the same – your processes and research will absolutely be dictated by the desired outcome of the product. Miller put this really clearly in stating that through discussion and initial sketches and research you find the direction you want to go in, it’s impossible to control and it’ll never be the same. It’s really important to consider the many directions this self-initiated project can go in, as creatives our ideas ebb and flow with the research we do and the inspiration we find along the way and I love that!

Offshore’s Migrant Journals really are a perfect example of how a self initiated project can just be taken further and further dependent on the subject. I find this amazing because although they started with just one idea, they recognised that the sheer volume and visual difference of these subjects require multiple journals. And, although similar in theme and appearance, each one is so different. It’s also fascinating hearing him talk about how he and Isabel bounce ideas off each other, she sketches whilst he writes ideas. The two combine and work together and, as he referenced, the “third mind” is evolving. This combination of two separate minds and ideas coming together to create one beautiful project. I also find it really valuable understanding that he doesn’t like sketching, as designers we are made to feel quite inferior if we can’t accurately sketch or draw – I’m not bad and I quite enjoy sketching to help clarify whats in my mind. But it’s refreshing to hear that he prefers writing!

As above, Veronica also combines sketches and lists with computer generated work. Again, as a team they bounce ideas off one another and work together to select the routes they want to progress down. Bompas hit the nail on the head looking at utilising a “shit tonne” of research and getting into the nittygritty of what their project is about. Without this research your project or outcome will be only surface deep. He definitley utilises a lot more digital idea generation that the others, photography, online programmes etc are used within his team.

Overall, it’s evident that each designer uses different tools, methods and processes to develop an idea. It’s about getting what’s in your head down on paper in a way that you understand, then picking it apart to really clarify and sharpen the idea. Use other designers as a reference point and collate the references carefully, eliminating the unnecessary, to refine the starting point.

Jamie posted a fab resource on the Ideas Wall which I’d also found with a list of 20 tips for creating a mood board. This is something I’m not good at if I don’t have a clear idea in mind. I’ll be focussing a lot of developing my planning skills, as quite often I’m super keen to get to the final product (and then it’s not as good as it could have been because of my lack of preparation).

“To solve a problem first requires that the problem is clearly defined”

Watson, T. (page56)

Topic-Focussed Secondary Research

I decided I needed to look further into theory behind self-identity and social media – there are currently so many books looking into Social Media and the ability to promote your businesses online, but not so many focussing on the negativity that encompasses social media and the issues that stem from this.

I firstly read Gauntlett’s book regarding Identity within Creativity – I’ve come across this before in the previous modules and found his writing iluminating regarding self-identity. He questions self-identity not within social media but as a construct – a socially constructed identity that everyone wants and creates for themselves. He recognises that everybody wants an identity and individuality. It’s therefore eyeopening that few people recognise that using social media actually strips us of these identities and indiiduality because of what the platforms recognise us as. Does Social Media now strip away the concept of identity, hiding behind an apparent platform to be whoever you want to be and say whatever you want to say?

This was also touched on with Reiman – fundamentally, social media now is used to portray an image or a sense of individuality within our worlds and social constructs.

“Privacy is something we cherish more so in the physical domain than in an electronic one…”

Reiman, C. Page 16

Our traits, likes, dislikes, interests are all stored only for the benefit of marketers and businesses – not only are they stored, they are categorised. Reiman really succinctly delved into how our worlds suddenly are represented by a small list of “things”, our identities are now, simply, parts of an algorithm. The use of these lists are now subject to extreme “commerical exploitation” (Reiman, C. pg 16) which can be more dangerous than a beach of privacy in the physical world. Our lack of understanding of the electronic use of our data and storage is shocking. Reiman’s chapter on Default Metaphysics helped shape the projection of my processes during this change in my project – it’s illuminating and useful information to shape the survey I sent to family and friends.

I also read Al-Deen&Hendricks work which predominantely focussed on the forms of communication using online channels and how human communication changes over time. However, this was written one year after the start of Instagram so it’s not as useful for shaping my project – on the other hand, it was really quite valuable in order to recognise the sheer changes that have taken shape over the past 10 years. Their work supports the above research into the accessibility of our personal information and how changing communication methods and channels are shaping our beliefs and values.

Project-Specific Primary Research

I set up a survey to open discussions with close friends and family about their awareness of the information social media sites use on them and the results were quite eye opening.

Have you blocked ads in the past, if “yes”, why?

  • If “yes”, why?
  • I’d already bought the product
  • Not relevant to me
  • Not relevant or interesting
  • Not at all relevant to the things I like or buy
  • Didn’t want to see it
  • Nothing that i wanted to buy was on there and also I get annoyed by the same adverts

I put in the last question to see if I could get a lot of information from my friends and I would be able to use this in my work. It’d also be hugely eye opening to everyone about what information the websites collect on us and how they track and monitor our activity.


Reiman, C (ed.) 2012, Public Interest and Private Rights in Social Media, Elsevier Science & Technology, Witney. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [15 October 2020].

Noor, AHS, & Hendricks, JA 2011, Social Media : Usage and Impact, Lexington Books, Lanham, MD. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [15 October 2020].

Gauntlett, D. 2007, Creative explorations; New approaches to identities and audiences, Routledge. Available from: VLEReader. [15th October 2020]

Ambrose, G (2014) ‘Design Genius. The Ways and Workings of Creative Thinkers’, London, Bloomsbury.

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