Inside the head of a designer

Project 10 to the 100th
January 27, 2009, 5:34 pm
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I thought voting commennced today but it’s taken them a bit longer so waiting until the 17th March to start voting, make sure you set yourself a reminder.

Update central
January 23, 2009, 1:55 pm
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So with impending deadlines, the work load almost feels comedic.

I have to finish the post office project by the 12th for marking, make final film for it, rejig the presentation sheets, finalise the actual design and make it generally more clear whilst producing a sketch book (my paper is everywhere) and a progress booklet whew!

I have a portfolio for a bursary and the post grad course to construct by the 16th and include a full written report about why I would be good to sponsor to research urban cycling.

I have the thematic (no words project) to present at the 12th as well as an indication of where its going.  We are two weeks in and I’m concerned I have not moved forward this week at all.  I’ll get there.


Anyway in all this I have produced the sketch concept film for the post office, go to I’d really appreciate feedback on the concept




and I have updated the blog for the no words project with my direction for the project:, if you can be of any help or want to comment, please do!


January 19, 2009, 8:59 pm
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Tomorrow is a historic day, I am expecting a powerful speech.

In anticipation of it here is, in my opinion one of the best speeches of all time and a man who, without, we may never have been able to reach this point.

Take the time to watch it.

Getting excited about collaboration
January 17, 2009, 6:01 pm
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Get excited about collaboration.  We’re at a point now, as the video states, of having an immense amount of information and enormous capabilities to share, organise, innovate aspects of our lives with people we have never even met across the other side of the globe.


This reminds me of a project I worked on looking at web 2.0 and it’s capabilities for sharing and encouraging youth to get involved in learning, work experience, new careers.  On a joint project with Iain Macmillan, we were invited to come and develop an online web resource/platform that learn direct Scotland could use to target young people.  Our ideas grew and grew, incorporating many web 2.0 tools to create a platform that the users could control.  We designed the structure, the interface, the concept, we left the growth to the users.

That was phase II, we’ve been told it’s under real consideration for further development and eventual production to go live.  Unfortuneatly, I’m not allowed to put the idea online but I can show a few visuals.

It also serves as a great example of how designers can be used to innovate, or rather transform public services, I think it was a very bold and out there move by the company to put us in control, but a smart one.

We were told our work had encompassed what they had been trying to do for the last 5 years but had never quite managed to visualise or pull it together.  We also innovated some of the aspects of their services entirely to fit the needs of young people, especially ‘neets’ (not in education, employment or training) which we had found through some, admittedly tricky, focus groups. (kids are difficult to engage on ‘boring subjects…but we found our way round this) 

thanks Kate_Andrews>via facebook

Addicted to colours
January 15, 2009, 7:29 pm
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Why have I never known about this before?  A tool that scans the flickr photos under the Creative Commons license which meet the colours you select. amazing!

Post Graduate Day
January 15, 2009, 6:34 pm
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In the current thought process of what I should do when I ‘leave’ art school, I have started contemplating staying at the art school.


I’m looking at the brand and spanking new design innovation, and the research masters also sounds appealing.  It’s something I had never considered but it’s sounding quite appealing…and I do love Glasgow an awful lot. 🙂

Sounds like an informative day.

Cycling my way past 4th year
January 15, 2009, 12:49 pm
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Starting to think about what things I should be aiming towards, doing when I graduate this year.  I would love to continue studying, quite a few of the guys in course are applying to the RCA, unfortunately, funding is a major issue.  I’ve always been interested in cycling and was considering for my self initiated project this year, looking at cycling in Glasgow and how we can persuade more people to do so.  A project undertaken last year (below), where I looked at cycle racks in the city centre, gave me the opportunity to visit Glasgow city council and although I was looking at physical aspects of cycling alot of issues came up.  There was a fanatastic opportunity, where the guys who run the cycling department at the council asked me how we could get people on their bikes.  Then I remembered receiving this and thinking, this might be a great summer project to undertake during the summer, especially after I heard on the cycling grapevine there was a rental system being considered, it would be interesting to see how this would be implemented in Glasgow since our cycle network is pretty poor at the moment and not going to be improved for a good few years due to, as ususal, lack of funding and in our current economic crisis, if funding is being cut too?


‘Eco Frames’ – Bike racks made from recyled frames.  They are alot cheaper to manufacture than the standard frames and a perfect system could be set up between commonwheel (a project that teaches people with mental disabilities to fix bikes that are donated by the public and sell on later) as they have the manpower, the workshop, and the materials to manufacture these which the council could then purchase from them.
CTC Research and Development Postgraduate Bursaries 2009 CTC is pleased to offer three bursaries for high quality MA/MScresearch projects into aspects of cycling consistent with our business or campaigning needs (see below). The bursaries, for £2500 each, will be offered by competition, closing date Monday 16th February. Applicants should offer an abstract of the proposed study, a study project plan, research question and expected outcomes/insights, plus include a CV. Please also include full contact details for your supervisor. A list of CTC indicative topics is available but projects covering other topic areas are also encouraged. Awards will be assessed by a panel of academics, CTC officers and CTC councillors. CTCwill require a project initiation meeting with each student and supervisor, a pre-report update in June/July and, finally, a copy of the student’s final thesis within one month of completion of final marking. There will also be the opportunity to present the findings at one of two national conferences. Assistance of the CTC’s national volunteer network may be available for suitable projects. Applications should be sent to: with a copy to Recipients will be notified of award by Friday 27th March. Research Focus For this year’s award CTC is specifically interested in receiving research proposals in the following areas: a) effectiveness of interventions to encourage cyclists and cycling and/or change behaviours and attitudes of and towards cyclists; b) understanding the needs and behaviours of particular social/economic groupings within the cycle owning community, notably youthand the 40+ age groups; c) understanding cyclists interface needs with public transport and its infrastructure, notably safety, reliability, quality, convenience and planning; d) cycle safety issues, including the perceptions and experiences of existing and/or non-cyclists of the highway and cycle infrastructure environment. Two bursaries will be awarded to candidates specifically addressing the above topics. One bursary, however, will be awarded on an open call basis; that is to say applicants can chose a cycling related topic not highlighted in the above. For more information and assistance contact: John Meudell, (CTC National Council), e:; t: 01306-640264 For more information on CTC and its activities go to

Currently Working on
January 13, 2009, 5:58 pm
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I wish I had more time to keep up to date with this blog.


I’m currently working on a new project at the Glasgow School of art. It’s a thematic project called No Words. My part of the group work is focusing on body language. Don’t know if this will be my final topic but it looks like it might provide some interesting research. You can see it at and find out more at:-

I hope by the end of the week to have some valuable insights. The use of body language and exchange in autistic children is standing out to me, I have also been drawn into several scenarios. Lying to someone, going on a date and the body language of the lift experience.

We only have a couple of days so initial research is short but it will be ongoing throughout the project.


The magic of web 2.0
January 11, 2009, 3:17 pm
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The other day I was browsing my face book, and I decided to search for old people I used to know.  Not knowing their surname, (it’s been a while) I typed in their first name, trying to narrow it down by selecting cities, age groups etc..I still had a lot of names.  What got me, was the endless lists of people, was put into order of how many mutual friends we had.  As I scrolled down the list I began to find potential new friends, who knew my friends.  There were two types of links.  One was a potential add friend who knew a certain group of people through say work, or uni etc…this didn’t surprise me, that’s expected.  The ones that startled me slightly was this potential add friend person knew two or more of my friends from no particular link or experience yet it seemed happen quite often.

I catagorise my friends on face book like this;

Friends from Primary (Edinburgh 91-98)

Friends from secondary (Edinburgh 98-04)

Friends from Tanzania (04-05)

Friends from Art School (05-present)

Friends from Prague (07)

Friends from Work (02-present, Real Foods-Edin, Heart Buchanan-Glasgow, Grassroots-Glasgow)

So I’m searching and I find one friend from Product Design course I think from Edinburgh, one friend I knew in Tanzania who goes to Bath and another friend I know through a friend from Newcastle.

Again one potential add friend links someone I know from Prague who is from Spain and another who i used to work in Edinburgh with who is from south Africa. 

I’m bemused, web 2.0 really does make the world feel like a very small place.  I wonder if both people know each other through the friend, or they are completely oblivious to the fact that they know the same person me, my head is confused now.  I’d like to see a better attempt at the 6 degrees of separation tool on facebook, I’m going to go research that now.

and so I thought I’d post this story.

Trends for 2009
January 4, 2009, 8:05 pm
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I really really like this website, and the titles they give to their trends, this gives you half a dozen trends for 2009, the full report is available to purchase for a substantial amount of dollars!  A year ago we actually conducted a project with Stuart Bailey at the Glasgow School of Art at the beggining of the second term.  We designed around two of the trends, either Eco-Iconic or Snack Culture.  Looking back on 2008 I can see a few of the trends were pretty correct on what was to happen in the world of consumerism and human behaviour…hopefully some of these below are food for thought. 
 Pay particular attention to the Feedback 3.0, brands are now desperately seeking feedback and ideas from their customers to ‘improve’ the customers choice/experience, basically to stop themselves from going bankrupt in the wake of poor product sales and economic decline , but because they have not been listening and had these so called ‘open converstaions’ their potential customers have become quite indifferent and switched off.  It’s a shame, brands and companies are finally listening properly, but not for the right reasons.

Reminds me of an interesting book of the 90s on brands: Naomi Klein’s No Logo, it is a very easy read and delves slightly into the idea of (well the part I have been concentrating my dissertation around) as authentic experiences


“Culture, in other words, would add value to their brands.”



“…like Lush cosmetics and Old Navy clothing began playing with the idea of old-style commodities as a source of retro marketing imagery. The Lush chain serves up its face masks and moisturizers out of refrigerated stainless-steel bowls, spooned into plastic containers with grocery-store labels. When you are a pure, concept-driven brand, the aesthetics of raw product can prove as “authentic” as loft living.”