GDE740 - Week 3

Week 3 – Research

Ok so this week I’ve been quite behind, but I first listened to the lecture podcast very early into Week 3 and felt on top of things. It was only when I took the advice of the professionals and dug a litle deeper into my project, did things change as you can see from my Week 2 work – so in a way I’m glad I was running behind and had the opportunity to really alter the direction of my work.

I decided to listen again to the lecture at the end of Week 3 to really listen to what they were saying – this aspect of the process is so vital and important to really nail down the direction of the project.

What is your development and reflection process?

I completely understood everything Miller was talking about – he likes getting his hands dirty, doing research, digging through countless articles, talking to people and looking through archives. I am such a research lover – I end up with thousands of tabs open digging through archives online, I love rumaging through libraries trying to look for other references. I also love the little rabbit hole you find yourself down when one link leads to another link which keeps going. However, this is where I excel, the next step not so much – because of all my research I end up with a thousand new ideas which can cause me so many issues. Miller rightly states it’s vital to get your ideas out quickly and develop these as you go through the research because you already have the direction there. I love to experiment on a rough level like Miller so this week, as my own direction was changing, I was writing mind maps, drawing out examples of ideas and talking them through with my fiance.

As Miller also stated, it’s so important to take a step back, get out of your own head and take a break – before I changed my project direction I did this. I had a day off work and studying and just got out into the fresh air all day – it was really refreshing and I don’t think I would have developed my idea so much if I hadn’t have done this. We don’t have the time for this project to take a long time out, but sometimes all you need is a day. I also love Miller’s attitude to forcing intense amounts of energy into a Self initiated project for a short period and then stepping back. I think this is such a great way to really get some fantastic ideas and not go too far initially. Because when you step away that’s when the lightbulb moment happens!

Fuerte kind of picked up on this too – getting to the root of the problem, finding this root and then going from there. It’s like you need to really understand what you’re getting at and go so far into the research of the idea to navigate the project.

In all honesty I didn’t recognise Frost’s perspective on all this, but perhaps because he’s working on SUCH a huge scale, he has massive budgets, huge ideas and even bigger projects. So his isn’t small scale niggly ideas that he’s finding a solution to, this is something WAY bigger. So he spends a LOT of time reflecting, tweaking, changing and developing. Something which is in direct contrast to Bompas!!! He followed from Frost saying he rarely reflects – they work so quickly and as such a big team they don’t take time to reflect on the project as it’s going on. Granted they are made up of a lot of people so each person in the different stages and areas work in their own ways. Interestingly, Stringer’s process focussed on reflection too but after the project – everything he touched on here is going to be super valuable for next week. Also, Soverign work quickly and as a team, there’s no gift of time here as there is for Miller or Fuerte so they don’t have the ability to step back and reflect etc.

How has production, risk, failure and your own personal ambition affected the outcome?

Again, I really connected with what Miller was talking about – they try out so much, they get so hands on with the amount of time given that they have the beauty of picking the best idea that’s taken weeks to get to. They also want to learn from the projects they set themselves – personallly that’s why I’ve loved this change this week because I am learning something new. I LOVE learning and I think that’s vital to really excelling in a new project because you have the beauty of experimenting in a whole new light and a whole new way of working. It’s almost more chance to experiment and try something out.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail

— Samuel Beckett

Frost touched on Self Doubt – something I deal with every day in this course, but it was lovely to hear that even the major professionals still have that to deal with. Personally, I thin self doubt is quite an important part to a self initiated project, in all honesty it’s how I queston my own beliefs and thoughts as something is progressing and it gets me to the root of my problems – This can also sometimes (more often than not) be my downfall and something I need to work on. But it also shows that you care. If you care about something, you’ve come up with a self initiated project around that idea and it’s obviously something you want to do… why?

McCoy’s interview in Design without Boundaries really helped me understand exactly why we need to utilise and reference theory within our practice – at the foundations of our work, theory helps stabilise our design practice and, in turn, our work. It’s a matter of taking theory and utilising it to develop or learn something new, to translate this way of thinking or this idea into something new. I feel this way about my new learning of coding and algorithms, I’m lucky enough to have someone to help me undertsand this whole new world and language but without it, my work would be only surface deep and not at all with the depth needed to send a message. It’s also important to keep on top of changes in this world, things are developing and changing so rapidly, without new theory or learning, our work would no longer be relevant or reflective of the cultural world around us.

“We have a responsibility to produce culturally current work”

McCoy, K. (Page 49)

Dumbar absolutely backs this up but also encourages us to use our work as an emotional reaction to something – for my current project, this is frustration, anger and sadness at how we so freely give up our personal information and so happily accept censored information without querying it, without questioning why we accept it. This piece was an emotional reaction to the current state of our electonically-cultural lives, which I think is reflected in the major shift in projection that happened in Week 2. I was too involved and didn’t take a step back to realise the supposed final outcome I was intending was as confused, angry and aggressive as my personal thoughts. So yes, self-initiated design is an emotional reaction to something, but its also curating and developing that reaction so that it is legible and understood by others.


Poyner, R (2002) Design Without Boundaries: Visual Communication in Transition. London, Booth-Clibborn Editions

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