Sunday, 30 May 2010

OUGD203 Evaluation

Here is my ridiculously long evaluation for OUGD203.

For the first part of the Design Practice 2 module I chose to work with Carl Holderness on the YCN Fedrigoni brief. We chose to tweak the brief a little bit, working out what the problem really was and trying to see how we could fix it. We worked out that the basic problem was that not enough people were using the Fedrigoni London Showroom, and that we had to get more designers to visit and use the space.

It wasn't mentioned anywhere on the brief that we were given, and it took emailing Fedrigoni ourselves to get some additional information, but we finally found out that only Fedrigoni customers are allowed to use the space, and that it is free for them to use. This would have been a really useful piece of information to put on the original brief as it was an important part of how we moved forward. We decided pretty early on, through designs and mock ups that we wanted to create a piece of direct mail sent out to Fedrigoni's existing customers, and that we wanted it to have an element of interactivity, and so went about trying to make a model of the room and something that would pop up into a little model of the room.

We also had an interest in working with information graphics, using all the information that we had about the room and the additional information that we had gotten from Fedrigoni, so the little paper mock up of the room was designated as a business card for the London Showroom.

We essentially rebranded the Fedrigoni London Showroom as 72m(squared - I can't find the glyph on here), which was the area of the showroom itself, and this was what sparked off our interest in information graphics.

Another decision that we made pretty early on was to use only two colours plus stock, the spot colour blue of the Fedrigoni logo that we were sent and black, on white A2 paper, the first idea was to create a poster representing all of the information that would be sent out to Fedrigoni customers, though during a crit we were told that it wasn't high impact enough, so we turned it into a series of 4 A2 posters that were very high impact and a random one would be sent out with paper orders to the existing customers.

When we requested paper from Fedrigoni, (it was very hard to get anything out of them) they arrived in a nice sleeve with a selection of paper inside, we decided that the poster needed to be sent with the sample packs as well to appeal to potential customers as well as existing ones.

The boards and the posters were printed out downstairs as well as the Business cards, although they kept printing out the wrong shade of blue until we changed printers and they came out just fine. I was really impressed with what Carl and I produced between us and I feel that we shared the work out evenly. We had no disagreements or fights and so I think that it was the perfect collaborative project.

This was the first time we had to do design boards that were being sent out, so we had to get them absolutely spot on and I learnt a lot about what needed to go on the boards when designing them.

I also kept on top of my blog throughout this project, with images and writing about them throughout and I think that this was a really good idea and I intend to keep on top of my blogs in the future.

What I would do differently:

- Make sure my files are saved int he right format when going to print.
- Spell check first, and not have my computer set to American English

For the second part of Design Practice 2 module I chose to write my own brief to repackaging Homebase's 'Grow Your Own' product range. I chose to work on this brief because I am greatly interested in Design for Print and packaging and so wanted to do some more work in this area and create a nice portfolio piece.

I started by doing research into the previous entries to this finished D&AD brief and by going to my local Homebase to have a look at the existing product range and see what needed to be done. I also conducted a small interview with a Sales Manager to find out which products were the best sellers and which ones didn't sell so well, and what seemed to be the problem. The answer came to light that the problem was that the range looked too much like all of Homebase's other products and so didn't stand out from the rest. The audience of the Grow Your Own range is novice gardeners, and another problem was that they weren't sure what other equipment they needed to go about growing their own fruit and veg, so from this I decided that I needed to create kits that included everything the customer would need to make it easier. This was a decision that I made very early on in the project.

The best selling products ended up being strawberries, tomatoes, carrots and peas, so I decided that I was going to make a starter kit for each of these products.

I really got into the idea of sustainability during this project and started to explore it and see what I could do with the packaging and how I could make it as sustainable as possible. I went through several ideas of how I could do this, including instructions for how to make your own little plant pots out of newspaper and making the actual box itself something that could be planted in the garden as a plant pot. I started to make mock ups as I couldn't really get my head around how it would work when just working on paper, I had to start working in 3D. I had several ideas of how I could do this and started to discard them once I had mocked them up and realized that it wouldn't work, or it wasn't the right size and such. It was a case of trial and error.

I finally settled on the idea of making the box out of cardboard, which is biodegradable and helpful when growing plants as it generates heat, and having the box as something that will be planted in the garden. I decided that I had to have the size and shape of the box before I began designing something to go on it.

I went through a long process of designing the graphics to go on the box. I decided that I wanted to focus on a mixture of type and image for this, trying to adapt a typeface to the shape of a seed/a leaf to link it to the subject matter. I also wanted to keep with the sustainability side of things and try to print using only one colour, using one colour per product. This turned out not to work so well so I had to revert to using two colours plus stock, which was cardboard.

The original idea was to include a bag of compost inside the kit so that the customers would not have to go and buy an additional grow bag, I wanted to try and put everything needed inside the box, though it eas proving to be difficult to package this without the use of plastic. I finally managed to create a seamless box net with no holes in the corners or at the folds.

When I finally got around to mocking the box up properly for the show and tell session, I found that I really didn't like it when it was all put together, it just wasn't aesthetically pleasing to me in the slightest and I wanted to change my design. I had to scrap the limited colour plus stock idea, and I started to experiment with photographs of the product, making shapes with them and experimenting with the colours. I changed the stock from cardboard to recycled card, which was white, and a much better stock to work on, as cardboard woulc have had to have been screen printed in the college because it wouldn't go through any of the printers here.

I put it together so that the sides of the box could be turned into different parts of the product, therefore re-using the box and keeping the sustainability idea going. I also swapped the bag of compost for a set of coir (coconut fibre) plant pots and soil pellets which expand when water is added. This took up a lot less space and allowed me to use a lot less materials when constructing the box. I had several sizing issues and kept making (major) miscalculations and kept having to resize the box, though I finally settled on a smaller one, that was the right size for the product. One side of the box can be split down into marker sticks to put into the soil with the seeds, and the instructions also can be torn off and kept.

The original idea for the digital side of the project was to create a website illustrating recipes that can be made with the fully grown fruit and veg, though during a crit the idea to make an iPhone app was suggested. This is appropriate to my changed audience of novice gardeners aged 20 - 30. The iPhone app is designed to send out alerts to remind the customer when they need to water/repot/harvest their products. It also includes the instructions for in the case of the customer losing them. I feel that the iPhone app was a much better choice than the website and feel that it is really appropriate to the target audience that I chose for the brief.

I am really pleased with how this project turned out, I ended up exploring several ideas and taking them further before I finally decided on my chosen resolution, so I feel that I really exhausted the best of my ideas and experimenting with them before moving on to my final products.

The main problem that I encountered during this project became apparent when I was putting the boards together. They went together just fine on screen though I had issues when it came to printing them and I ended up having to print them twice because I was not fast enough or early enough to get a print slot booked in the Digital Dungeon so I had to print my boards in two halves on the laser printers. The first time I mounted them, I mounted them onto thin card, which flexed as I was laying them down and so they were full of air bubbles and they just looked really bad, so I had to reprint them and mount them onto mount board, which went much better, though took me right up the deadline when I was hoping to be finished a little earlier than I was.

I feel that I really did well with time management during this brief, I was mostly on track and had several action plans and to do lists to keep me going. I'm really pleased with how the project turned out and feel that I managed my time very well and got a lot out of it. I also feel that I have produced a great portfolio piece out of it too.

Another issue was that while I was uploading images to my blog all the time to get them in the right order, I put off writing on the blog posts until later on.

Things I would do differently next time:

- Get a print slot booked early.
- Write on blog posts when I put them up.
- Blog things regularly instead of loads of posts in one go.

WOW that is a long evaluation. Well, I had a lot to say.