Thursday, 28 October 2010
Thursday, 7 October 2010
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
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 (www.decc.gov.uk) 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
(http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/guide/timeline/) 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.” (www.ecosheek.co.uk) 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: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Thewiderenvironment/Climatechange/DG_072901
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:
Solar Powered Car:
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
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
Monday, 29 March 2010
Monday, 15 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
My first image was this one which is a bottle of wine with two wine glasses.
The second image is this photo which looks like a tropical island or paradise.
The third photo is of a love heart in the sky.
The people that I chose for this task were different ages, different genders, from different backgrounds and from different areas. I think that it is important to have a variety of people for this experiment so that it would work best. Most of the responses were very similar but it was interesting to see how different people interpret the same thing.
"A couple go on a romantic holiday and a plane draws a heart in the sky" Kirsty, 19, Montrose, Student
"A couple went away on a romantic get away where they relaxed on the beach and drank wine while watching the sun set" Fiona, 19, Balloch, Student
"Someone goes on holiday and has fun relaxing on the beach and drinking wine and they meet someone and fall in love." Ashley, 17, Rothesay, 6th Year Pupil.
"A couple went on a romantic holiday to a beautiful island and spent their time relaxing on the beach and drinking wine." Katie, 19, Glasgow, Student.
"A couple are on holiday and they are lying on the beach one day watching the sunset and drinking wine and the man proposes to his girlfriend" Brad, 21, Rothesay, Landscape Gardener
I now had to chose one of the previous stories and add a fourth image and see if the next group of people all have the same response to the images. The story that I chose was the second one by Fiona. The 4th image was a kiwi fruit.
"A couple were on their honeymoon on an exotic island. They lay on the beach all day sunbathing, relaxing and eating exotic fruits. When night fell it was time for champagne while watching a beautiful sunset." Sarah, 20, Northern Ireland, Student.
"There was nothing better than sitting on the beach at night with a glass of wine watching the sun set. Or during the day I loved spending the day looking at the crisp white clouds in the sky." Karen, 21, Northern Ireland, Student.
"A newly married couple decided to spend their honeymoon on a beautiful island. They planned to spend their time relaxing underneath the beautiful sky and also eating and drinking fresh food and drink." Ross, 22, Dundee, Student.
"A couple were on holiday on a beautiful island and spent their time watching the sunset, eating fresh fruit and drinking wine." Siobhan, 20, Stirling, Student.
For this part of the assignment I added the word "Honeymoon" to one of the images.
"A couple are on their honeymoon on an exotic island and they spent their time eating fresh fruit, drinking wine and watching the sun set." Gregor, 18, Rothesay, Blacksmith
"There is a couple on their honeymoon abroad on an exotic island" Harley, 18, Rothesay, Mechanic.
"There is a couple on their honeymoon on a tropical island and they spend everyday relaxing in the sun, eating fresh food and drinking lovely wine." Georgeann, 51, Rothesay, Primary Teacher
"It was the middle of the summer and a newly married couple were on their honeymoon on an exotic island and they spent every day with each other sunbathing on the beach and eating the local produce." Jen, 22, Rothesay, Sectary.
"A young couple are on their honeymoon in New Zealand and spent their time at beaches and drinking wine" Mairi, 26, Glasgow, Nurse.
"There was a newly married couple on their honeymoon on an exotic island and they spent all of their time eating fresh fruit, drinking wine and relaxing on the beach." Sian 26 Rothesay, Nurse
"Newly married couple on their honeymoon on an exotic island. They spent all of their time relaxing on the beach and drinking wine" Janine, 24, Rothesay, Factory Worker.
I think that this assignment was a good way to learn that many different people read into photographs in different ways but when text is added to the photo, the image is interpreted very well by the viewers. In the first experiment the first responses where quite similar but as i added another image and text then everyone's responses started to become more similar. This experiment definitely helped my understanding of Barthes' essay "The rhetoric image" as I learned that adding text helps the viewer understand the image a bit more than they did without the text.
Barthes looks into the advertising image and analyses the image in order to obtain answers to questions such as how does meaning get in the image? Where does it end? And if it ends, what is there beyond? In some people's opinion's the image is seen to be inferior to "language" but on the other hand some people think that there are simply no words that can describe an image as the image is simply too powerful.
Images can sometimes be hard to interpret but after reading this I understood more about how we can break down am image in different sections in order to understand it's meanings and underlying connotations. Barthes discovers that an image is broken down into three messages which are: the linguistic, the coded-iconic, and the non-coded iconic. The linguistic message is a huge part of how images are portrayed and this is about how text can be used to add impact on an image but in some cases images do not need to be supported by text as they are powerful enough as they are. Labels in images can suggest to the viewer the company's name and also information about the quality of the item and company. The linguistic language sometimes does not offer any advantage to the viewer as some images are powerful enough let us interpret them without the aid of any linguistic message but however images as well if interpreted accurately can help with the understanding of the text. The image that Barthes is analysing contains various key aspects that help the viewer interpret it such as composition, language and the way it evokes feelings or memories. Our interpretation of images depends enormously on culture.
Although this essay was a difficult read it gave me a huge insight into analysing images and I enabled me to understand the importance of images. After reading this essay, the second part of this assignment will allow us to carry out an experiment which will hopefully improve my understanding of Barthes' essay as well.
Monday, 22 February 2010
The Disney Castle in Orlando Florida is a magical place and is very exciting when you see it in real life!
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
For this assignment I chose to analyse six of Alison Donachie's photographs of herself growing up. Although Alison is in my class I do not know her very well so she would be a good subject for this assignment. I also thought it would be a good way to find out more about one of my classmates. At first I found it quite difficult to try and work out who people in the photographs were and what the possessions said about Alison and her family. Once I started though it didn't take long for things to make sense and a story was soon created from the photo.
Photo 1: In this photo is Alison and what looks like an older sister, who was probably a key influence on Alison growing up. The older girl in the photograph doesn't look particularly interested in what Alison is doing, perhaps suggesting that the two girls don't have a very close relationship, maybe because the other girl is quite a few years older than Alison. Alison is dressed very smart but she is very young, maybe about 5 or 6 so it is more than likely that her mother has chose her outfit for her to wear. However at this age her favourite colours seem to be red and pink as her outfit is mainly red and there is a pink doll's house sitting beside Alison as if she has been playing with it. This shows that she likes playing with typical little girls toys and she is not much of a tom boy. The living room is very tidy and everything is in it's place showing that the household is very organised.
Photo 2: This looks like a family photograph, maybe not of immediate family but cousins, aunts and uncles as well? It looks like it is at some sort of occasion like a Christmas dinner or a party as one of the older ladies is wearing a party hat. They all look close and happy however Alison looks a bit confused and maybe not too happy that the photo has been taken. I don't know if she was maybe just a bit shy as these people do not look like immediate family. On the other hand she seems to look quite settled and comfortable sitting on this older ladies knee, whether it's her grandmother or an older aunt. Alison seems to be starting to take control of her dress sense more as she has her hat on back to front rather than having it sitting normally, maybe trying to be different or this was the cool way to wear a hat.
Photo 3: This photo is of Alison and what looks like the family pets, a dog and a rabbit. She seems to show an interest in animals and she looks very comfortable and happy with these animals. Her body language conveys that she is not at all scared of these animals and she is confident in the way that she holds them. Alison looks like she is still quite young in this photo, implying that her love of animals started at a young age. Close bond with animals, maybe more so the dog as it is very close to her so there must be alot of trust in the relationship. Alison is also wearing Adidas trousers showing that she was aware of fashions from a young age.
Photo 4: Confirming interest in animals and her love for them as she is with what looks like her dog or a relatives dog and she looks extremely happy. It looks like she has a very close bond with this dog because in both the photos that the dog is in it is very close to Alison and it doesn't look uncomfortable. The dog looks like it has been part of Alison's life when she was growing up and this is why they have such a close relationship. Alison is also wearing an Adidas top which shows that fashion had an influence on her growing up. In the background there is a photo of what looks like Alison or her sister (if it was her sister in the first photo) showing her family are proud.
Photo 5: Alison is a young teenager in this photograph with a close friend. She looks very happy and they seem to be very close because they not only have an arm round each other, her friend is also holding her hand showing that they are comfortable and happy in each other's company. Judging by Alison's top (an AC-DC t-shirt) she knows what music she likes and perhaps had an older person influencing her as the band is an older band. Perhaps a parent of older sibling has influenced her taste. She looks like she is beginning to take more pride in her image as her hair has been dyed and cut shorter and this is maybe her beginning to create her own sense of style. From the photo the environment looks like a nice and comfortable house. The kitchen looks modern and again everything seems to have a place shoeing the household is very organised.
Photo 6: In high school, with friends in what looks like the playground or sports field. They all look very happy and close. Alison seems to be growing up and following fashion trends. She has dyed her hair again in this photo and although all the girls are in school uniform they still convey their own style such as their belts, jewellery and hair styles. Alison looks alot more confident and it doesn't look like her favourite colours are pink and red anymore.
When I talked to Alison about the photos and my comments she said that all the information that I got from them was accurate. This shows that you don't have to be a psychic to be able to read photographs. People's possessions and body language in a photo can say a million words and this was proved in this assignment.