Thursday, 28 October 2010

Assignment 3

This assignment is introducing us to our dissertation's which we will complete in 4th year. For this assignment we had to meet up with our groups and discuss possible dissertation topics. The topic that I have began to look into is how designing children's facilities affects their learning.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Assignment 1c

The final part of this assignment required us t0 create a wikipedia entry for our topic. This was to be between 1000-1500words long.Climate Change & Design

Caroline Martin

Interior & Environmental Design

What exactly is Climate Change?

Climate change is the term that is used to describe the change in the Earth’s climate which is often confused with Global warming. Global warming describes the Earth’s overall increasing temperature which is measured by the Earth’s entire surface area. Climate Change describes the planet’s changing climate features such as weather, humidity, global average air temperatures and ocean temperatures. As these temperatures are increasing snow and ice is melting at an alarming rate.

Climate change is a hugely rising problem and some of the reasons for this are the growing population, mass production, human consumption and the Natural Greenhouse effect. The Natural Greenhouse effect is the natural build up of the greenhouse gasses.
According to ( the Earth has warmed by about 0.754°C on average since around 1900 and by around 0.4°C since the 1970s and also states that human activity is the main cause of global warming observed over the last 100 years, particularly over the last 50 years.

It used to be thought that extreme weather events and global warming could be caused by natural climate change but it is now becoming increasingly indefensible with the amount of carbon dioxide which is distributed into the atmosphere each year because of humans.


The first discoveries of climate change occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries when carbon dioxide was discovered. According to the website
( the importance of the atmosphere in relation to the temperature of the earth was recognized by a French physicist in 1824. The majority of scientists agree that the Earth’s temperature will rise further due to greenhouse emissions which will cause more extreme, intense and regular weather events. In the late 1960s, a study was done which resulted in predictions that global temperatures may increase by up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit but this is depending on carbon dioxide emissions. In 1987 it was discovered that there were links between carbon dioxide levels and temperatures and these dated back 100,000 years. This resulted in global action on climate change.

In 1979 the world had its first conference for climate change and in 1988 the United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and this was set up in order to investigate and report on the experiments and scientific conclusions. The IPCC were aware and tried to advise the world that in order to avoid severe global warming then we would have to cut our dependency on fossil fuels and cut the amount of greenhouse emissions by a significant amount. In 1997 a treaty was agreed which was called the Kyoto Protocol. The aim of this was that 37 industrialised countries were set binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This was signed by 178 countries and came into action in 2005.

The Earth’s climate is always changing and always has done so but not to the extent that we see today and reasons for this are our growing population and mass consumption consequently increasing greenhouse emissions. Greenhouse emissions are created through various things and the consumerism culture that we live in plays a huge part in this. The amount of fossil fuels which we consume has lead to us having to change our ways and start using other types of energy such as wind, solar and hydro but if we were to change our ways and depend solely on non-fossil fuels then this would have a dramatic impact on the predicted temperature and would cut this by 2.4 Degrees Celsius.
“Almost all of the mountain glaciers in the world are now melting, many of them quite rapidly. There must be a message in this” (Gore, A, 2006)

Climate Change and Design

There is a significant link between design and climate change. This is because designers are constantly having to invent solutions and new systems to help them with everyday design as climate change is having an increasingly greater effect on the way we live therefore we must learn to adapt our way of life in order to reduce the predicted rise in temperature and catastrophic consequences.

A key factor in design practice is now to take into account a products life cycle. This process looks at various issues such as raw materials and which are used, the manufacturing process i.e. can you reduce the amount of waste in the manufacturing process? It also looks at retail an example of this is the product appropriately packaged and how is the product transported to the consumer? Is it distributed only when necessary? The Life Cycle also looks at use of a product and the end of life such as can this product be re-used or re-cycled?

Climate change is a growing subject that the majority of designers have to face and tackle so many new designs whether being it for forms of transport, materials, architecture and systems have to be designed to reduce CO2 emissions and possibly help the environment rather than damage it.

Advertising and branding also plays a huge part in this. For example the ‘Apple’ Products have managed to eliminate environment-unfriendly materials.
"Apple is committed to protecting the environment and the communities in which we operate around the world," (Novelli,C, 09)
The power of advertising and branding helps environmentally friendly products and companies become fashionable and also is helping people to understand where the product has came from and therefore resulting in the world being more aware of climate change. Another example of design which is attempting to tackle climate change is the simple heavy duty shopping bag. “It is estimated that up to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year, more than one million per minute.” ( Supermarket chains are now rewarding customers for using their own shopping bags and most shops now charge for the sale of a plastic bag. In 2008 an agreement was been signed between the Government and the seven largest supermarket chains to significantly cut down the number of plastic bags distributed. Although the heavy duty shopping bag does not seem like an outstanding, environmentally friendly design, it is however a small stepping stone to help reduce waste and carbon emissions.

Other examples of designs which help reduce carbon emissions are products which use infinite sources such as solar power, hydro and wind. Many things are now being invented which take advantage of renewable sources such as solar powered homes and cars. The solar industry is growing and a market research group called iSuppli have forecasted that the industry should double every two years.

Designing for climate change is now a huge market which designers have to tackle. Design is all around us so designers have to learn to adapt to designing without using finite sources and they have the difficult job of making and convincing the world that being green is fashionable.



Bank, W. 2010. Development and climate change. Washington DC. Ebraray Inc

Fry, C. 2008. The impact of climate change: The world’s greatest challenge in the 21st century. London. New Holland

Gore, A. 2006. An Inconvenient Truth. Great Britain. Melcher Media

Haggis, G. 2007. The Energy Challenge. Great Britain. Matador


Environment and eco-living. Available at:

Metz, C. 09.10.09. Greenpeace applauds Apple climate change flounce. Available at:

Osbourne, H. 02.02.07. Fossil fuel and land use behind CO2 rise. Available at:

Richard, Michael Graham. 10.05.10. Solar Industry Expected to Grow Over 40% in 2011. Available at:


Polar Bears:

Solar Powered Car:

Assignment 1b

For the second part of this assignment we had to create a mindmap of our topic and as we researched more then we had to develop the mindmap. This mindmap was then used to help with the final Wiki. Here is an image of my main mindmap on Climate Change and Design.

Assignment 1a

For the first part of this assignment we were asked to meet up with our study groups to choose and discuss the topics that we wanted to do our Wiki on. I was interested in a few of the topics but i decided to choose to do mine on Climate Change and Design. Here are some photographs of our group meetings.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Assignment 5


During the first semester, our assignments were mainly based on secondary research. Now we are focusing on primary research methods and this assignment required us to develop a proposal for how we might use the methods that we learnt this semester to take our research further in the topic that we explored in the first semester.

The topic that I chose to investigate in semester one was "How do social networking sites act as a major connector to designers". I am going to look further into this topic and explore the different methods which I have been using this semester in order to investigate this topic further. I will look into the use of interviewing, visual experiments, and observation and will explore what system will work best.

I chose to write about social networking sites because not only do I use them, I find the controversial argument of whether they do more damage than good interesting. I am also interested in other people's opinion's and reasons to why they use social networking sites.

I have looked at various different journals and books about this topic including; "The networking survival guide: get the success you want by tapping into the people you know" by Diane C. Darling, "The Virtual Community" by Howard Rheingold, and "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. "The networking survival guide: get the success you want by tapping into the people you know" is about how to make the most of everyday physical networking and gives tips on how to advance on one's own networking techniques. Rheingold's "The Virtual Community" is a book which tours the "virtual community" of online networking and also discusses social networking in detail showing alot of evidence and experiences. Both texts agree that networking, being it virtual or physical is very important to everyone in order to be successful so therefore helping designers in there careers. Another source that I have looked at is a social networking site itself, "Twitter". I have been looking at a young female artist called Johanna Basford who uses this site to gain publicity. Over a 24hour period she created an interactive and hand drawn illustration which was created through other "Tweeters" sending suggestions to her to finally produce a super sized hand drawn black and white illustration. Some of Basford's clients include The Victorian and Albert Museum, The Body Shop, and DKNY. This is a good example of how designer's can take advantage of social networking sites to help them succeed. Not only is Basford connecting with other designers and people from a similar profession but she is also connecting with the public and getting a chance to advertise her work for free on the internet.

After retrieving this secondary research, I would like to go ahead and gain some primary research to learn more about public opinions and for what reasons people use social networking sites. I would like to know if people think that social networking sites help designers connect with the rest of the world. To do this I would start by looking at the methods which I have been taught this semester and these are observation, visual experimentation and interviewing. To achieve the best results I would start by conducting an interview. I would target a group of designers and then ask them a set of semi-structured questions which would help me with my research. The group of designers that i would interview would have to be different ages, genders and from different backgrounds so that my results were not biased. I would ask a set of questions that were not straight to the point but subtle which would gently prompt the interviewee to give me the answer that I am looking for. I think that I would also conduct a public survey to gain an insight to the public opinion's on social networking. The questions that I would ask in this interview would be about social networking affecting the general public and not so much a specific group such as designers because I would like to see the results for designers and the public. I could also conduct a survey which would also allow me to collect accurate and fast information. However a survey may not achieve the best results as many people might give false answers for quickness or perhaps just to protect information about their private life as they feel put on the spot because these questions are being thrown at them from nowhere. If the interviewee is asked a series of semi-structured questions then I think that they will then give you more information as you are engaging back with them and it becomes some sort of conversation.

Another way to gain primary research would be to observe people in a computer suite and see if they use social networking sites. However I do not believe that this would be the most effective and correct way to find out this information. Aswell as invading these people's privacy, it would not help me to answer questions such as "Is this networking site helping this person in their career?" or "what does this person use this site for?". Alot of people would obviously not feel comfortable with someone watching over their computer screen observing what they are doing and that is why I have decided to use interviewing as the method that I would use if I was to take this further. Interviewing would give me all the information that I would need on this subject and would enable me to gain a deeper understanding of the people that use these sites. A problem that may arise in interviewing would be that people would not answer honestly or would not feel comfortable answering a series of questions about there private life's to a stranger. A way to work around this as I previously said would be to ask strategically worded questions which are not straight to the point because in that way the interviewee would feel more at ease and they are answering the question for you rather than you almost telling them what to say.

To conclude if I was going to look further into the topic of "How do social networking sites act as a major connector to designers" then I would gather secondary research on this topic and to do this I would use interviewing as the chosen method as it helps me to collect all the information that I need. This would also enable me to acquire accurate information quickly.


For this part of the assignment I will write a short proposal on how I could use the methods that I have used in both semester 1 and 2 if I had to re-do one of my studio projects. The project that I have chosen is the "Juteopolis" project from the first semester. This was a group project and the brief was to design a exhibition space for the DCA which was based on "Juteopolis", the name Dundee was given in the peak of the Jute production. The purpose of this was to inform the public about Dundee and it's history within the Jute industry.

When we first started this project alot of the research that we gathered was from Verdant Works which is an old Dundee Jute mill which has been conserved and is now a Jute museum. More of our research was from Dundee's library and also the university library. However now after completing assignments on primary and secondary researching methods I can see that if we had to do this project again we would be able to collect accurate information and lots more of it quickly. I would start this by using interviewing techniques to interview a number of different people.

The first of the interviewee would be the general public. To do this I would brainstorm ideas and come up with questions which I could ask people on the street to find out what they understood about Dundee and the Jute industry. I would try and target each generation to see how each generation's knowledge differs. The older generation would be likely to know more about this than the younger generation. However it would be interesting to see how our exhibition would need to educate the public. I would need to make sure that my questions were general and were in no way going to offend anyone. I think if our group had this knowledge prior to doing this studio project then we would possibly created a better exhibition and if not then we would have at least be far more knowledgeable about the subject. I think it is important to know as much as you can about the client to enable you to design the best possible design for them.

The next of the interviewee would be the people who currently work at the Verdant Works. Although we did get to speak to them I think it would be more effective if we could have had private interviews to gain as much knowledge as we possibly could. It would have been useful to brainstorm and plan a set of structured or semi-structured questions to enable us to retrieve as much useful information as possible. Getting to interview an exhibition designer could have also proved very useful and interesting. I would have been able to find out what types of exhibitions are successful and what techniques are most effective. Another method that would be very useful would be to observe a variety of different people in an exhibition to see what parts they find the most interesting and also to see what parts of the exhibition they spent the most time at. I would observe a group of people of all different ages for example adults, the elderly and school children. It would have been very beneficial to see who spent the most amount of time at different stages of the exhibition and also to see what catches different age groups attention most. I would also set up my own experiments and small exhibitions in order to see what the different people thought of my designs. It would also be useful to try different methods out before completing my final exhibition. I could have also conducted a survey or asked people a set of structured questions as this would have been very useful to me to find out what the client would prefer rather than assuming.

During our first semester one of the things that we were working on was how to collect secondary information. If I had used this knowledge in this studio project then I would have alot more research to help me. If we had used the library's cross search then I would have been able to collect more books and journals about Dundee and the Jute industry. It would have broaden my knowledge on the topic therefore allowing me to possibly create a better design.

Learning about secondary and primary research has definitely been worthwhile and will help me in future projects. I now understand that through the use of experiments, observation, interviewing, reading journals, magazines and books that I can now gain an enormous amount of research to help me with my future projects whether it being for design studies or the studio. Using these methods will help me understand the clients needs and their story which will enable me to design the best possible design for them.


Darling, Diana C, (April 2003) The Networking Survival Guide: Get The Success You Want By Tapping Into The People You Know, The McGraw Hill Companies

Gladwell, Malcolm, (2000) The Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, Little Brown

Rheingold, Howard, (1994) The Virtual Community, Harper Collins


Johanna Basford


Monday, 29 March 2010

Assignment 4B & C

For this interview stage I chose 4 different individuals and asked them a series of semi-structured questions which would help my understanding on how magazines influence people's ideas of design and taste. The questions that I asked helped me to gain a deeper knowledge of what influences people's decisions and ideas and why. The subjects that I chose to interview were of different genders, ages, and backgrounds so therefore the outcome of this assignment should not be biased. The series of questions that I asked my subjects are:

1. What magazines do you read?

2. Where do you Read magazines?

3. How often do you watch television or see adverts?

4. Can you think of a particular advertisement being from a magazine or the TV that sticks in your head? If so why?

5. Do you have a favourite brand or shop? If so is this advertised allot in magazines or television?

6. Is fashion important to you?

7. Do you own any product which has had a major impact on your life?

8. What was your last major purchase? Did anything have an influence on you buying this product?

9. Do you have a favourite designer? Are they successful?

The first of my interviewee was a young female design student. Being a young design student fashion and the way she looks is very important to her and I found out more about this after her answering my series of questions. She regularly buys fashion and style magazines and this is a weekly thing. Reading these magazines seemed to be almost part of her weekly routine as she reads them for pleasure in her house. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements whether it being from the television or magazines and this has had an effect on her as she watches televisions for around 5 hours a day and the advert that sticks in her head most is the television advert for one of the fashion magazines that she reads. Her latest purchase was 2 days ago and that was some tops and a necklace which she seen in a magazine. Her loyalty to buying fashionable and specific brands was clear as she often buys from the same shops, probably because these shops' items are advertised regularly in magazines. Alot of the clothes that she buys are modelled on celebrities so being successful could reflect her view on fashion and looking good. It seems that both television and magazines are highly influential on her decisions and tastes in fashion and design.

My second subject was a female primary teacher. She admitted that she is not fashionable because it is not at the top of her priority list. Her main focus is to look after her family and home. She rarely reads magazines but when she does it's mainly ones which are about cooking or the home. She does however read alot of educational newspapers which are obviously about current affairs and the worlds news. When she does buy something new, it's not something that she has seen advertised, just purely bought as a spur of the moment thing. She does watch about 2-3 hours of television a day so she is exposed to advertising but is not affected by them. The brands that she buys are not ones that she has seen advertised but are ones that she has bought for years and if not its one that she's heard a friend recommend.

My third interviewee, a male college student stated that he thinks that he is relatively fashionable and his highly influenced by advertisements. The only magazines that he buys are motoring ones, so he is not highly influenced by adverts in these magazines. The advertisements that he sees are on billboards and television adverts. He does have a favourite brand but that is only because he likes and trusts this brand so is therefore loyal to it. He watches about 3-4hours of television a day so is exposed to advertisements frequently.

My final interviewee is a young male landscape gardener. In his opinion he is fashionable but does not buy any magazines. Neither does he watch much TV, (around an hour a day) so he is not exposed to influential advertisements. However he does do alot of Internet shopping so this is where he see the advertisements that do influence him. He does have his favourite brands and shops but this is only because he has shopped there for years and is loyal to them. His last purchase was a top that he bought in a shop but had seen it advertised on the Internet. This conveys that advertising is everywhere we look even if it's not just in magazines.

After completing this assignment and discussing it I found that magazines are not the only influential form of advertising, as television and the Internet both seem to be just as powerful and if not more. It is obvious to see that the older generation have different priorities for instance the 1st interviewee saves her money for buying new fashionable clothes but the 2nd interviewee will save money for family holidays so it very much selfless because she has different priorities. The older generation understand the value of things and this is reflected in the things that they read like educational newspapers. I found that the younger generation watch alot more television so they are therefore exposed to more visual advertisements. I found that to some extent everyone is brand loyal whether it being that they buy weekly or every 6 months, they still stick with the same brand and this is usually because the brands that they like are well advertised or have a good reputation. One of my questions, (What was your last major purchase and did advertisements influence your decision to buy this?) showed that technological items such as mobile phones, cars, and ipods had the biggest impact on these peoples lives. These are all items which are constantly successfully advertised in magazines, newspapers, television and the Internet.

To conclude i have found that magazines reflect the readers taste and also successfully advertise and sell items which are regarded as "in" or fashionable and this is down to various different reasons for example the models they use, the colours and there front covers. Some readers will not consider price or value for money but will only consider what the magazine and critics have said about the product. In my opinion advertising on the Internet, billboards and television are more influential than magazines as they are viewed more often than magazines, mainly because they are usually free to view.