The Big Idea

I decided to put the SSP project behind me for the meanwhile, and revisit ‘The Big Idea’. So today I went into uni, working at home had become very difficult for some reason, and instead of going on my mac I spent the first hour + sketching out my plans for the publication.

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I’d come to realised that my original spread designs for the publication weren’t very tasteful and messy, so I wanted to work on that, and after doing the SSP event guide I felt like I had a greater understand on uniforming a book.

I wanted to work on:

  • Style
  • Colour scheme
  • Typefaces
  • Necessary pages and info
  • Imagery

I was also considering the need for the digital platform. I think there could be, maybe, a digital side, even if it’s just a twitter account that could have all the necessary info, without having to design anything.


Dissertation PDP

I’ve reflected over the last 5 months the journey this dissertation has taken me on. Heres the summery of my difficulties, findings and an overall reflection for the process.

The reason I chose to explore the design responsibility, specifically in connection to Global Warming, was because of a field project I participated last January. ‘Agents For Change’ was a project focused around harvesting an understand of sustainability and applying to design. Working with a really client ‘Eco Camping Wales’ in groups we had to come up with sustainable solutions to improving their campsite. Before this I hadn’t heard of the word Sustainability, and it took a good part of a week to grasp the meaning. The project was lead by Wendy Keay-Bright and Neil Angove, both specialising in sustainable and green design, and throughout the 5 weeks they couldn’t express enough the importance of sustainable design in the future. Neil also preached that designers have greater responsibility than they realise. Saying something along the lines of “unless we as designers embrace sustainable design, we will be left behind”, hearing this really hit me hard, and after the 5 week project I felt the direction I wanted to take my study was clear.

When it came to producing a proposal last year, I was adamant on focusing around sustainability, the responsibility of a designer, and effects of Global warming. What I struggled with was concentrating my question, and the feedback I kept receiving was that it was to vague. Thats been the biggest struggle through this process. If it wasn’t for being able to reflect my concerns in my blog and discuss it with my tutor then I would be in trouble. The concern I had was the less subjects I had to discuss in my dissertation the less research and words I could use.

Also I don’t consider myself a strong writer, partly due to being dyslexic, which effects my ability and my confidence. None the less I was passionate and intrigued about the subject, so when it came to researching and reading, it did feel strenuous.

Although, I did get extremely OCD when using a highlighter.

Another struggle I encountered was not being able to ignore the word count. I felt intimated by it, especially having never completed an essay of this magnitude before. I had always struggled with short essays, usually down to time management, but I liked to think I’ve grown as an individual since joining CSAD. The approach I instantly took was to reach the world count as quickly as possible, so I could improve it later. Despite only having written 2,000+ words before we broke up for the end of term, I had made sure I spent the whole summer reading and highlighting, so during the christmas holidays I was able to spend a full week on it, and things came together pretty quickly from there. A frustrating part of the Dissertation was reviewing sections of a paragraph that I’d written, towards the start process, over summer. The constant need to shuffle and adjust things was tricky and I could of spent a whole day just re-writing a signal section.

After producing a whole chapter on Global warming I became quite concerned that it may not be necessary, that I was going off subject , but the idea of including a sizeable part of this thesis on Global Warming was to educate myself, the readers and to set the scene. Global Warming isn’t new but I can guaranty a large majority of the world know little about it, I am guilty of this. So I though it was important to include such an in-depth study into the subject. It also occurred to me that some of the changes brought on by the ever altering climate may effect my future descendants, like my children and grandchildren, which is worrying, but sparks a personal emotion that invites action on my part.

Coming back to my practice, I have always be sceptical of essays and the benefits, because I believed creatives shouldn’t have to do academic study. This preconception was wrong, I have learn’t so much about my subject, and the world around me. I have discovered artists, scientists, theorists, publications, authors, companies and many more interesting sources, that will contribute to the kind of professional I will graduate as. Currently for a ‘The Big Idea’, a subject project, I am studying the word ‘Serendipity’, and have to produce an outcome based on this word. Being influenced by the findings from my essay, I feel like my outcome should be a functioning, sustainable, and have a purpose, instead of being a piece of art that may only be used in this particular project. I am now conscious of what I do as a designer, and an individual, so I do feel like this thesis has made me re-evaluate my career path. If you had asked me 4 years ago why I wanted to be a designer, I would of said because I want to make ‘sick’ skateboard art. If you had asked me before ‘Agents Of Change’, I would of said I want to do some branding or posters. Influenced by the dissertation and Agents of Change, I now want to produce work that is sustainable, meaningful and that benefits society.

To conclude, prier to starting this dissertation my attitude was very pessimistic and I didn’t see the benefits nor understand the why we had to write a essay, especially considering our field is creative and visual. I starting reading in the summer, the more I read the more engrossed I got in the subject, and this surprised me. In fact I got so interested in the subject I believe it’s altered my perception and made me re-think my career path. If I could what would I of changed? I would of started writing sooner, I made sure I read over summer and gathered a good amount of information, but I didn’t really start writing until January. I could of read few more up-to-date and contemporary books. I think I could of refined my topic/question and found something more to argue/debate about, saying that, this dissertation was a self educating thing, and I think I’ve gained a lot from it. It’s been a long and exhausting process, that I have enjoyed and found very useful. my attitude has matured and I see the big picture of academic studies.

More than just a beautiful bottle

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Wendy had me thinking, like she did during Agents of Change and Real World, about the sustainability of the bottle. Even thou the brief is to design four unique bottles that can be recognised as being in a set, it doesn’t say I can’t explore the sustainability of the bottle after it is finished. What is the journey and purpose of Fever-Tree’s Limited Edition collection working with Malaria No More? What can it be once the drink is finished? Possibilities –


Was going to jot down a list but visuals are so much better. I guess it depends on what I can do with the shape of Fever-Trees bottle. I particularly like the idea of using it as a light afterwards, very hipster and a massive trend at the moment, especially liking the idea of hanging the bottle from the chandelier. Unlike the idea of using it for flowers it’ll involve less maintenance in the long run, although regularly interacting with the flowers would keep you reminded of the cause of the bottle and bring life apposed to electricity.

Hidden messages or images

I think, well I know, it would be to straight forward and predictable to design just a beautiful aesthetically pleasing bottle, Like I noted from the D&AD: A strong idea will always beat something that looks nice. Originally I was going to subtly place mosquitos in and around the bottle, but I’ve come to think about more complex ways of discussing imagery and messages. When doing the Penguin book cover design project, I researched print finishes and I got a few idea from that.

The first involves Glow in the dark ink, for example, on the inside-back of the bottle, could be a swam of mosquitos that only appear in the dark? or a message could show? maybe Malaria No More could glow through the bottle?

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The Second I was thinking of how I could us thermochromic heat sensitive ink to revel something, but this seem a lot more complex because it involves being extremely well planned and researching into how the consumer would interact with the bottle. Unless the person is told to warm up a certain area to revel something, then I don’t think it would happen.

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another concern I have is that a bottle of Tonic Water will be bought and disposed of within days of buying it, so hidden messages or imagery may be wasted on a lot of people.

Interacting with the bottle

Wendy told me to consider the physical side of the bottle and how the consumer might interact with it. for Christmas Coke Cola have ingeniously designed their label so that it can be transformed into a decorative bow. Simple things like that do a lot for a product.

What if for the Fever-Tree bottle it had a infographic, or something that told you about Malaria, that opens from the back of the bottle?

Again I have a lot to think about before Friday. I’m not too worried because I know we’ve got a few months to develop and finish our work before submitted for the competitions, YCN in my case. As long I clearly state my intentions to continue the project and experiment with touch points, animation and finishes, I should be more than alright to finish were I am Friday, That is if they read my blog…fingers crossed.

Materials – Cradle to cradle


products/materials that make something lesser and not of the same standard as it was.

Built in obsolescence – cradle to grave

design with Built in obsolescence so to only last a certain amount of time

Technical Metabolism

A technical nutrient is a material or product that is designed to go back into the technical cycle, into industrial metabolism for which is came.

Biological Metabolism

A biological nutrient is a material or product that is designed to return to the biological cycle – it is literally consumed by microorganisms in the soil and other animals.

 Respect diversity 

Respecting diversity in design means considering not only how the product is made but how it is to be used , and by whom.

Great quote “Imagine a building like a tree, a city like a forest” P139

Using local material

Avoiding the problem of bio-invasion, when transfer of materials from one region to another inadvertently introduce invasion of nonnative species to fragile ecosystems. Will also benefit local economy.

how can we enrich local species, and invite them into our “cultivated” landscape instead of destroying or chasing them away?

How can we gain profit and pleasure from a diversity of natural energy flow?

How can we engage with an abundance of diverse materials, option, and responses, of creative and elegant solution

Dissertation Chapter 1

I still don’t quite understand what exactly I hope to achieve by my dissertation. It’s starting to get really frustrating, and I can’t write until I know what I need to research or write. So far I’ve written about global warming/climate change, but need to tie it in with design. I want to talk about

  • Social responsibility and our role as designers
  • Ethical and transparent design
  • Promising design solutions for Global Warming
  • Human behaviour

But where does this fit in to my dissertation? how do I connect this to global warming? I know that they are related, I just haven’t figured out how to structure it.

At the moment I’ve done a chapter on Global Warming, but do I start with it? Originally I was going to start by talking about design, it’s history, whats good and whats bad. Thinking about it now I’m not sure if it’s necessary that I talk about such a broad topic. Every time I re-structured my dissertation, the feedback I keep getting is that it’s still too vague.

I need to specifically talk about stuff that I believe is related to global warming, like “designers responsibility” and how it’s a down to them to shift the force that is climate change, or how visual communication “graphic design” can influence “human behaviour“and habit, as well as companies  being ethical and transparent.

I want to challenge peoples perception of what good design is, and that it goes way beyond aesthetic values. For example – the roundabout in Africa that pumps water, while entertaining children playing on it. “Good design is a strategic, sustainable, ethical response to a business problem.” (Berman D. 2009,  P. 125), David Berman and Alex Steffen discuss good design.

Ethical practice and transparence. AIGA is the largest professional membership organization for design, and a great website for resources.

Over-consumerism is something that is contributing to global warming that a designer can influence, both graphic and product. Both Berman, cradle to cradle and Steffen’s over about this. To much waste and the miss use of materials.

Human behaviour is again important in tackling Global Warming, which visual communication can greatly impacted. I’ve been speaking to CSAD lecturer Neil Angove about the subject, being an area he specialises in. He believes changing human behaviour is how we’re going to tackle global warming.

Dissertations structure

Intromay need to be re-written now

Chapter 1 – all about global warming

Chapter 2 – what has design got to do with this? Thinks a designer can                                 influence – human behaviour & social responsibility & ethical                         design & material use & over consumerism. may not all of                                 these

Chapter 3 – Finish, on a high, with promising design solutions –                                             Architectural & Campaigns & Product & Graphical


I think this is all doable. It definitely makes more sense than what I was originally going to do. I have tutorial with Ashely on Tuesday 8th to discuss what I handed in about 3/4 weeks ago. Her feedback was that my idea I again to vague, but I think I’ve sorted that out and will discuss during the tutorial, I’ve also done a lot more for chapter one, that’ll I will show her. In the meanwhile I think I should source out reading material for chapter 2, and probably finish the first chapter.


The References from Lynsey

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Vegware is a manufacturer and visionary brand, and the only completely compostable packaging company operating globally. An award winning catering disposables are low carbon, made from renewable or recycled materials, and all can be recycled along with food waste.

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Down to earth project

Down to Earth Project is an award winning not-for-profit education organisation specialising in working with ‘hard to reach’ and ‘disadvantaged’ groups through the outdoors… with personal development at the very centre, we support individuals and groups through practical, hands-on sustainability…

mushroom packaging

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Ecovative design

Ecovative’s core mission is to envision, develop, produce, and market Earth friendly materials, which, unlike conventional synthetics, can have a positive impact on our planet’s ecosystem.

They are committed to working with industry and consumers to rid the world of toxic, unsustainable materials. Ecovative believe in creating products that enable companies and individuals to achieve their sustainability goals, without having to sacrifice on cost or performance.

In an article from The Guardian

What’s noteworthy about Ecovative is that the company is trying to redesign products, not merely to manufacture them more efficiently. “Our product is not just less bad,” Bayer says. “It’s better.” That said, Ecovative’s environmental claims have yet to be independently verified. The company says it looks forward to producing a peer-reviewed life cycle assessment “in the future”.

Great Ted talk by product designer Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic. Eben Bayer is co-inventor of MycoBond, an organic (really — it’s based on mycelium, a living, growing organism) adhesive that turns agriwaste into a foam-like material for packaging and insulation.

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Lovely as a tree

Lovely as a Tree aims to enable and inspire graphic designers to make more environmentally friendly choices in their work.

They give you the low down on how your choices of design, paper and print impact upon the environment.

Then list the steps you can take to reduce your design footprint, we take you through the process of choosing a recycled or more sustainably sourced paper, and we show you what to look for when choosing a greener printer.

On they’re website you’ll also find lists of the UK’s most environmentally friendly papers and printers, web links to help make your office green, and case studies to inspire you.

Post Presentation Feedback

Post Presentation Feedback

After our short presentation we had invited Lynsey over to our space to discuss our ideas in more detail. This was a more casual affair, we sat on the comfy seats on our floor and elaborated our concepts. Lynsey seem really happy with the progress we had made since we meet up with her last Friday. She gave us individual feedback for each of our ideas

The legacy board

  • She like the idea of it being something that could be shown at year awards, something timeless
  • physical sculpture vs a flat boards. she was draw towards the idea of a physical tree.
  • Whether you write a message on it or sign it. Lynsey suggested the idea of it being the way the particapts sign in at the door when entering the awards.
  • She was concerned of how it will be managed during the awards, she gave and example of how children had put these leaves on something at a past awards, and as a result there was leaves everywhere.

The badges

  • How many would we be giving out? Just the winners?
  • What materials
  • How much would it cost? for different types of badges
  • Digital

Recognition cards

  • When during the event should it happen?
  • How? paper ballads? online?
  • Graphics and information
  • Incentive

Campaign + photo frame

  • The imagery on the frame. needs to be inviting to the guests.
  • How it would try into social networks

Summery of Client feedback

Lynsey gave us plenty to think about and to work on this coming week. She also gave us plenty of material references, which was great. What she’d like us to do now is look at the financial expenses of our ideas, to research what materials and to source out companies that can produce them. It’s also important that these are Welsh company and that our ideas are executed in a sustainable way.