This course has pushed me to places mentally and physically than any other class. This is not a bad thing. In fact when I look back on the work I have done this quarter I feel really good about it. There was a lack in fulfillment on my job as a designer. I have been there 4 years and design a lot of the same stuff every year (in-house position).I am happy to be an employed designer but as I learned from Stefan Sagmeister it is not always about making money. Sometimes we need to step back and design something that holds deeper meaning. In my case I have enjoyed design geared toward education in the sense of encouraging those interested in design to seek higher education opportunities as well as using design to promote general education reform from grade school to college.
As a designer I have come to understand that my job is not just to “make things look pretty” based on a brief hand to me. I have the ability to see and evaluate problems and an even greater responsibility to address those problems using the resources and knowledge gained. It is somewhat difficult being responsible for more aspects of a project, but this gives me more insight to what is really needed. I think more about each component placed in my composition. I know I can’t solve everything but I can connect and collaborate with others to work toward the best solution. I look forward to approaching things in new ways and finding more fulfillment in my current job, but especially look forward to the next phase of my design education and career.
I can’t say before this unit I was consciously working toward creating a moment of performance or noble pursuit. Over the course of the past weeks I have analyzed and review my create process several times and each time I make changes. The process I have used in the past have gotten the job done in that i was able to deliver a solution suitable for the needs of the individual or group I was working for. Taking a deeper look at my process I was able to see areas I could improve upon, but I feel I am getting to a point where I need to solidify and test my current process before making more adjustments. I am willing to be flexible as I work with different groups, but overall think I have a solid process and have learned a great deal from it.
In past units we discussed the idea of disruptive wonder or providing new ways to communicate. Kelli Anderson does this using materials around her and presenting them in new ways. In Project B I am attempting to do the same by using common items found in homemade survival kits to communicate tips and advice to students preparing for the professional world. Instead of spending time trying to think of a completely new approach and wonder if the audience will be able to understand and receive it – I can apply a new use to something familiar. Doing this offers a new view and hopefully a disruptive wonder for my audience.
Over the past 2 weeks I have been collected resources for my argumentative paper. My topic is expanding on the area of collaboration and it’s role in teaching the creative process. The majority of sources I found speak highly of this approach and want to see more of it implemented in the design curriculum. But onearticle does not see collaboration or teamwork as the best approach. The title alone – Top Dog: Unselfish Teamwork is Overrated – made we want to disagree. As I read it I started to understand what is was trying to say. The over emphasis placed on teamwork and working well with others is causing the top candidates to overlook job opportunities. Many professionals want a job were they know they will have a chance to shine and standout amongst their colleagues. This is not being selfish, it is actually quite understandable. How would anyone expect to advance in their career if it is always about the group. While developing well rounded solutions is very important, people still want to know the work they are putting in will take them further. The article does have a more corporate idea and not so much in the perspective of a creative mind. This is not to say designers and other creatives don’t want to advance their careers.
I do agree that more competitive professionals set on primarily seeking to advance their careers are less likely to pursue a job that emphasizes teamwork. I do not believe it is impossible for an individual to shine or emerge as a leader – it is even possible for several to emerge as leaders. When you add up the various experiences from your collaboration and teamwork projects I believe that highlights character and skills and can take you just as far as the “top-dog” mentality.
Before starting this course and even grad school I was not aware of the benefits of a process book. Working in freelance or as the sole in house designer does not present a lot of opportunity to do so. I have learned that the benefits are very valuable. Looking at the 4 process books presented in Unit 8 I was not only impressed by the issue the projects address, but the amount of background information presented. Each book does a great job provided plenty of information to detail how they came to their final design solution and how the project would be applied to various situations. One particular part I found helpful was how April’s process detailed personal accounts to show her connection to the project, yet she included and implemented comments and feedback from her peers using the discussion board. I think these are 2 aspects I should start to using when documenting my work and process. I think presenting some personal connection using a story or narrative format keeps the audience/other designer more interested and including the ideas and feedback of others keeps the project from be one-sided or too focused on a specific idea in the early stages. As I read through each, I could imaging the project coming together as if I was the person designing it. In the beginning I have an ideas about the issue that will be address – from dog leash laws to how to communicate to teens about design – but I may not know exactly how I will communicate a solution. As I continued reading and looking at the sketches and ideation phase ideas start to form, as I am sure they did for the designers completing these projects. As I got closer to the end of April’s book I saw she including a literal break, including a page dedicated to taking time to get away from the project. This is not only beneficial to her, but it gives me as the reader time to take in all I have read and also shows that a break is a healthy and sometimes necessary part of the design process. There are very few things I would change about their process books, but their are some things I may not include in my own. While I liked the idea of incorporating a personal view of the project, some seemed too provide too much – it started to get a little too emotional. I would provided just enough to paint a picture. Overall they all provided a great account of the process and would be a great tool if the designer could not physically present their project to an audience without details being lost.
In this unit I reflected on how my values impact my design process and ideas. In the past I have turned to my values as a reference point and a source of creative fuel when I am stuck. If I could not connect with a certain project, I would look to my values to see how it relates to the project topic. I understand applying personal values is not realistic for all projects – after all being flexible is one aspect of a good designer. The value may be so embedded that only the designer sees it and hopes that someone else will, but as long as a message is received I think it will be successful. One thing I must be careful of when using my personal values in a project is to not let my value drown out the message. Doing this excludes the audience and I become the target audience. That is not my intention. In everything I do I want to bring people into the message not isolate them. Even when I do personal projects that rely on my values as a source of inspiration I work to keep the imagery and language inclusive. If may not be familiar to every single person that sees it, but hopefully they at least stop to look at it and take it in before feeling the message is not for them. I think this approach could create a lot of opportunity for cross cultural and value learning.
It is a little late in the quarter, but I have had a few breakthroughs over the past few weeks. When I first started this quarter I really did not have a process when it came to the assignments nor was I really aware of topics related to design outside the day to day tasks of a designer. While I researching and working on the Literature review and the outline of my argumentative paper I have come across so many topics and issues in the field. Having this understanding not only helps me approach design in a new way, it helps me think about the solutions I am developing in a more well rounded approach. I have also become more open to outside suggestion for my work and the ideas on collaboration. This has been due to a combination of projects and articles read for my lit review. Collaboration is a great way to get ideas but it also helps with coordination, flexibility and communication. As the way we practice design shifts to a more global outlook having these skills is crucial to successfully approaching multi-layered and global design challenges. I am still adjusting to these ideas but I like the direction it is taking me. Things are becoming much more clear as a move forward and I actually look forward to the discussion post and feedback as I know something I may have missed that could improve my work will be revealed to me.
“How Do You Design” provides some great models on the design process and really made me step back and analyze my process. After going through some of them I came across the following model.
What I found intriguing is the process starts with briefing. As I am beginning to freelance more and interact more with my clients directly than I do as an in-house designer. According to the developers of the model:
“clients often seem to ﬁnd it easier to communicate their wishes by reacting to and criticizing a proposed design, than by trying to draw up an abstract comprehensive performance speciﬁ cation.”
I think in my process I could include the clients more in the development and sketch process. I think in time this would not only help me work with the clients, but I could think more about and anticipate the needs of my audience. I think including a briefing would also help the client or group better understand and think about what they are looking for. In the past I have encountered people who don’t know what they want until it is in front of them and on occasion what is put in front of them is not what they need. Going over a brief could help them identify the problem.