GRDS 701: UNIT 8, BLOG 2 – Collaboration in a “Top Dog” World

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.


GRDS 701: Unit 8, Blog 1 – Process Analysis

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.

GRDS 701: Unit 7, Blog 2: Breakthrough

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.

GRDS 701: Unit 7, Blog 1: How Do You Design?

“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.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 10.01.43 PM

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.

GRDS 701: Unit 6, Entry 2 – Flow

The description for “Flow” as described by Steven Johnson makes design sound like a dream. I had not heard of the term used in this way prior to this course, but maybe that is good thing. I did not know something like this could exist. I can say I have experienced a few of the building blocks Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described but never in the same project and rarely more that 1 or 2 at a time. This is not really a problem for me. If thing flowed too well I am afraid my idea is not as developed – like it has been done before. I do recognize the benefits of flow and I believe I could do more in my process to increase flow. In our course readings it talkes about building our arsenal of creative resources. When i start a project I tend to drift into other projects as I research the current project. From this I do pull new resources but I also get off track. I can also research more in the sense of reading articles and blogs on creative thinking and idea development. The text we read in class has helped me think beyond the visual and more about how the design will impact the audience. Merely looking at other designs is not enough if I really want to understand the issue on the table. of the readings we use in class I have enjoyed Tim Brown’s Change By Design the most. Like ne says in the book multiply options create choices. Having choices in not only the look but the approach will keep ideas fresh and hopefully create more “flow” in my process

GRDS 701: Unit 6, Entry 1 – Creative Process



Above is the process I have used for the past 4 or 5 years since completing undergrad. I know it is not perfect but I have used it so long now it has become my default. It is a “4D” process: Discover, Develop, Design, Deploy. Overall I think this process, or any design process really helps me as a designer think through the problem so I can make sure there is more to the solution than something that looks good. I can not always relay on the client or audience for insight as they may not be able to look at things the way I do. They may not realize that a pretty design does not fix everything, but a message is what is really needed.

  • Discover: at this stage I work to learn all I can about the problem presented from multiple angles and perspectives – the who, what, why and how. I turn to my design books and blogs for inspiration and the client or audience to understand what is need (or not needed). This phase is very research heavy and one of my favorite parts of the process because no matter the outcome I always walk away with something new – be it an idea or knowledge about the subject.
  • Develop: I take all my finding and put them down on paper. In some cases the Develop stage is done at the same time as  Discover. I try to keep my sketchbook handy just in case a spark of an idea comes along. This phase really helps me see the flaws of ideas in my head as they my sound good, but may not come together on paper/visually.
  • Design: This is my second favorite part of the process. Here I get to take the ideas that work and begin to apply the aesthetic elements to them – color, type, building images and graphics, etc. Once I get the sketches in the computer I tend to continue the Development phase – I usually see something new as I build the sketches another idea is sparked. I try not to let any idea slip away even if I feel I have enough; it could always be used later. I show my work for feedback and suggestions and go back to make improvements – sort of a testing sub-step. Sometimes this involves going back to the Develop or even the Define stage.
  • Deploy: After a strong design has been critiqued and refined it is time to apply it to the  problem I research in the beginning. I also take this time to look at ways the design can be applied to other things – i.e. if it is a logo I may mock it up on shirts, cards and other things to show other applications for the client or audience.

I think I have a nice range of skills to work with, but I am always looking to improve and learn new things. There are 2 areas I am working on: web and writing. I am not trying to build and code from scratch, in fact I have tried coding and I really do not enjoy it. I have worked on trying to understand the language and process so when designing for web the programmer will be able to build my designs. Copy is the other area I have struggled with. Since starting school I have improved, but no where near the level of someone in advertising. These are the areas I would love to collaborate with others on and I have. I would love to work on a team that involved multiple people coming together from different backgrounds and disciplines to work on a project or problem around developing a brand. There is the experience that has to be created, products to develop, communicating to the audience and of course the identity.

GRDS 701: Unit 5, Blog Entry 2: Project A Self-Assessment

For Project A overall I was pleased about the feedback from my initial post and its layout content. After making the suggested edits I had to face one of my biggest fears – vocal presentation. I think I did better that I usually do since I did not have to present in person, but I  really need to work on voice control and the authority of my voice, especially if I want to teach one day. I used the my outline from part 1 to form the structure of the video – that really helped my make sure I touched on the areas that are important to the topic. When it came to time the video I was certain I would not be able to fulfill the 5-7minutes, but once I mapped out my script I actually had to go back and remove some information. This helped me really narrow down what was key to the subjects and ideas. Overall this was an positive learning experience and great way to present and share what I am working on in my research.