After our discussion on Friday we thought it might be good to look at the process of getting here. I was going to make it part of the presentation but reading Ian’s email again I don’t think we need the background. However I’ll put it here so we can keep track of things.


What is Design?

we started with objects – filling our love/hate list with examples. After our presentation pointed out to us that a list of things could be endless we revised the list, making it more visually accessible and starting to organize our collection of objects and examples under more general themes and ideas of design.

The movable circular chart we made showed objects in relation to a central point, us, where they orbit along a general theme and shift into hate or love depending on our changing and differing opinions.

It’s possible this could have brought forward just as many themes and keywords as examples! So we formulated the Cubes. These were started as a research tool for our group, each cube represented a different value in design e.g. ‘Sustainable’ or ‘Commercial’. Each member of the group then selected and arranged the blocks into a small construction that represented their personal design manifesto or beliefs.

Although this exercise was limited, the criticism was raised that separating and making individual cubes out of different design principles overly simplified these principles and didn’t give a complete picture of the design process. However the exercise was very helpful in visualizing our own approaches and understanding the different views in the group – it also identified our interest in the interactive or tactile.

From that point we tried to identify one aspect of design to discuss in our exhibition piece. This was the most difficult part of the task thus far! We each had very different ideas of what was interesting and how to best represent that. Discussion threw up a range of different ideas including -

- an active design project where we could reflect on our process and beliefs whilst actively using them.

- an interactive display of  3 domes or small rooms which contain details of Problems, Process and Solutions. Visitors would be asked to step inside these and engage with the themes one – on – one.

- The Machine – a machine which dispenses “answers” to the question ‘What is Design?’. These ‘answers’ would be made up of a varied collection of our sketches, project ideas, quotes, advice and snippets from our own process. The idea being The Machine emphasises how personal and differing the design process can be and shifts the focus to, ‘Who is Asking? and Why?’

From each of these, and many other ideas we saw that we did share a vision of design as moving, not necessarily in a straight line, from many problems and questions to a single solution. (That is not to say there is a single solution for everything – rather that in our process we find one solution at a time) This helped us decide on the ‘cone’ shape, the ropes we decided to use as they helped us visualize following an idea that might twist, tie with another, tangle and then loop back round to start again.


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  1. Thank you for the background Millie!

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