Tutorial with Ray

We talk mainly about The Big Idea, as it’s going to be the core show peice, but we also had a brief chat about my business card design.

Serendipity: A Designers Guide

I had printed out the publication spreads today so I could look at them as a physical object, rather than on-screen, because the printed version obviously will be slightly different. I’m pretty happy with how it’s sized, Text and images, but there is still loads to adjust as this is just a first draft. Ray wasn’t too displeased, and suggested I try to bring more elements of Serendipity, or happenstance as he tends to call it, into the publication, and ‘word association’ was repeated.

I told him about my idea of presenting the book for the show, and the workspace I wanted to create around ‘Design For Chaos’. He was unsure of this and told me I need to focus more on the book, for this reason I’m trying to get a second opinion on it, and will hopefully get a quick tutorial with David before this week ends.

An interesting thing came up when discussing the book with Ray, which was, how he was working on a publication and the pages had no order, as of yet. Thinking about this, what if my publication had no order and it was down to the user. So I was thinking about the book being done in ring binders, so you can take out and move pages, while being a pack that comes in a box that you have to put together yourself. Of course you’d receive some kind of instructions and the box will be suited to the book, plus a nice way to present the project.


  • I’m going to highlight any mistakes I made on the first print, and any alterations I need to make.
  • Research word association and word perception
  • Design the cover and box design
  • Update and develop collage pages
  • Explore ring bindings and boxes, price

I apologies for the lack of pictures, I lost my phone on the weekend….it’s been a hard few days, but I’ll be okay.


Leon A. Heppel

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  • Leon A. Heppel
  • 1912-2010, died age 97(impressive)
  • Granger, Utah USA
  • Former National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientist
  • Pioneered the study of enzymes that modify RNA
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences


Leon Heppel, a researcher at the U.S. National Institute of Health who was the owner of what might be described as the ultimate messy and chaotic desk.

Heppel’s desk used to get so messy that he occasionally would lay a sheet of brown paper over the top of all the mess so that he could continue working.

One day, as he was rifling through some papers on the upper and lower levels of his desk, he came across letters from two totally unconnected researchers.

Seeing a potential connection, Heppel put the two in touch with each other, an outcome that eventually led to a Nobel Prize.




Design for Chaos

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This way by for the most interesting article I read when research creative serendipity: DESIGNING FOR CHAOS, SERENDIPITY, AND A NOBEL PRIZE?

Not only did it influence the development of the publication but how I present it in our final show, and not to mention my personal practice.


  • Many of us the idea of designing specifically for chaos and serendipity makes us uneasy.
  • Workplaces continue to evolve, where the place is seen as a backdrop to new ways of working and new ways of thinking.
  • Might lead to not just greater collaboration and innovation.
  • Serendipity or chance encounters that lead to something are more likely in environments where things are not completely planned, where informal conversations are encouraged, and where the workspace design enables chance encounters.
  • “We need to be designing spaces that are not predictable and where there are unexpected, interesting things going on.” Professor Philip Follent, head of the Soheil Abedian School of Architecture at Bond.
  • Studies have shown that professionals get 80 percent of their ideas from casual interactions.

I’m thinking of doing this as a two page spread. First titles Design For Chaos/Chaos in workspace, then the second about Leon Heppel’s story.



Thinking about what else I do for The Big Idea, aside from the printed book and work-space, I thought I could do an e-book that you can download at the show. I don’t think it would be too hard and a nice addition, might even get my some followers. What I can do is get email address at the show, and send them a PDF to download after.

Now it’s time to work on the content of the book, which is something I’ve been avoiding, as writing isn’t my strong point.

Pages I need to write

  • Introduction: Why is serendipity important in creativity?
  • How to be more serendipitous: 3 types/pages – trying new things, talking to new people, and travel differently
  • How does Google embrace serendipity?:
  • Chaos in the workspace

Degree Show

I’ve been thinking this week about the projects I want include in the degree show. I’ve decided I’m definitely going to include The Big Idea project, and this is what I’m going to do for it:


I want to display the publication on a desk, not a table, because I want to create an environment around a work-space, as ‘chaos in a work-space’ was something I researched and is an amplitude for helping designers and arts being more serendipitous creatively and innovative.

Chaos in work-space

I would like to invite the show participants to sit in the desk and read the book, or maybe draw something, while being overwhelmed and inspired by random objects, colours, words and even sounds.

What was also quite nice about today, was I got to speak to our lecture Neil Angove, who has been absent from university for all of this year. We discussed the idea behind ‘Serendipity: A Designers Guide’, and how I want to create a workspace environment for the degree show inviting people to interact with the book and space.

The first picture above has a few ideas of the different elements I could bring into the show space:

  • random items: toys, stationary, cd’s, etc..
  • materials: tablecloth, carpet, samples, etc..
  • symbols: languages, words, signs, etc..
  • food & drink: bottles, food packaging, maybe actual food, etc..
  • lights: desk light, fairy lights, etc..
  • playful stuff: play-dough, colouring pencils, etc..
  • photos: art, building, pets, family holidays, etc..
  • music: whale noises(aha), talking, real life environment sounds, etc..
  • smell: candles(if we’re allowed), potpourri, a herb plant, etc..

I don’t want to go overboard with this, but it think it could be a stand thing in the show, providing it’s done well. I may even consider changing the space every day or two to see how it effects other. This is really turning into a experiment, almost a live piece of art…around the concept of the book.

Serendipity Cover

As important as the content of the book is, the cover comes first and is what people initially see. Like the Print Handbook I was given last year, which I was studying over Easter, I was interesting by the gatefold cover it had and would like to do it for this publication, partly due to the potential it has.

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An example of gatefold

I also want to experiment with hidden messages and the way the reader interacts with the book, serendipity is to do with discovery so an element of discover is maybe needed in the book.

obviously I’ve got to work on the content. I’m thinking of using quotes, inspiring sentences or even song lyrics. I also think it would be good to temporary seal the gatefold and see if people discover that it opens..? again just trying to make it interactive and a puzzle.

I think it would also be interesting if text on different pages lined up and contradicted itself, or went from being negative to being positive, but subtle.


I think I want the cover to be on white, or a shade of it, in a colourful collage style, spelling out serendipity in newspaper cut out, like ransom notes:

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With possible, unless it becomes too distracting or chaotic, random text and images.

Plenty to get on with, but I’m happy and enjoying the creative freedom and experimenting with mediums and in this case, a books potential.

TBI: Serendipity

I decided today that I’m going to put a few hour into my publication ‘Serendipity: A Designers Guide’.Reason being, I want to use it in my portfolio and for our final show, which are things we’re working on this FINAL semester. I’m actually enjoying this project a lot more than I expected, especially when I started because I thought I chose a dificult word. What I’ve enjoyed is creating this playful and creative publication, I’ve been able to be extremely experiment, and it’s been great.

Since we finished the project, my designs have developed a fair bit.


I had kept it simple, maybe too much, and well, I thought it was messy and tasteless. The original set of spreads had no colour scheme and I had stuck with quite generic fonts.

Tip spread 2

Google spread

First Re-visit

When I decided to re-visit this just before we broke up for Easter, I had decided on continuing with the publication, but starting from scratch.I had done the neccessary research, but, due to our dissertation overlapped this project, The final design outcomes had been rushed. I had discussed bring different styles and design methods into this experimental publication, because that what Serendipity is all about, and if I wanted to teach people of it in my guide, then I wanted the book to have qualities of inspiration.

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Today, when I went back to the collage spreads, I was inspired by bauhaus design and wanted to incorporate it into my publication. I also decided to mix up the colour scheme, retro colour combo. I’ve also reconsidered what fonts I’ve used, and have axed Pier San for the more versatile Avenir Next, using both the medium and heavy.

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The plan

To be experimental with the pages I have, and those I’m yet to create, and to decide how I want the cover to look.