Inside the head of a designer

The 17th century linear internet
March 26, 2010, 6:38 pm
Filed under: inspiration | Tags: , , ,

rotary reading desk – first tabbed browser, invented in 1588. via Athanasius Kircher society

I’ve been wanting to share this for a while: Say hello to Athanasius Kircher, a man introduced to me a month or so ago by Irene Mcara Mcwilliams, head of Design at the Glasgow School of Art.  She showed us the image above and it just inspired me.  I liken it to the first tabbed browser, apparently called a ‘rotary reading desk’.  Athanasius invented it in 1588, and on investigating him further, I realised that he was quite a remarkable man.  Being described as “one-man intellectual clearing house”.

In an article his approach is described as;

syncretic …and paid no attention to the boundaries between disciplines”

‘various schools of thought’ is such a fantastic way to sum up what syncretic is, and I finally found an explanation for what my head tends to feel like most of the time.  My mind is always making links between all kinds of sources, I guess I get inspired and take inspiration from absolutely everything around me, although, sometimes it can be tiring.  It links to a fantastic lecture I was given by Jon Wood from Goldsmiths who has been doing work on Metadesign, but more to come on that later, that’s an entire blog post in itself.

Is there anyone from the past that inspires you?  Do leave a comment…

Channel Four need you!
March 25, 2010, 12:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I meant to blog this at the start of the month as the entry submission for this is Friday 26th March.  Channel 4 need you to design that ‘big thinger’ in front of their entrance that they call the big four. Stephanie Imbeau’s Shelter is spectacular and now this is your chance to create a landmark piece of art.

In short, it’s open to current art/design students and recent graduates.  They need 6 images of your work you’ve created in college/uni and 4 images of the project proposal including a one liner and a short written statement.  You might ask why post this so soon before the entry date (you really have about 48 hours).  I’ll let you into a secret, I submitted mypolice about 8 minutes before the deadline and it was a simple sketch and synopsis.  So just do it!  For all the details go to their website.

How to become the next Big 4 artist

Channel 4’s Big 4 has become something of a London landmark since it was erected in 2007, so it’s great news that planning permission has been secured for another five years. As with the last iteration by Stephanie Imbeau, the fifth skinning of the Big 4 is being awarded to an artist through a competition.


Channel 4 is looking for a fun, playful design to inspire and entertain passers-by, visitors and C4 staff.

Your design must work with the pre-existing 50-foot high metal structure in front of the Channel 4 building on Horseferry Road, be weatherproof and hardwearing, and be able to be lit (from the outside or the inside) to make a statement after dark. The winning design will be conceived as a 3D experience rather than a 2D design.

Building an engine
March 9, 2010, 8:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Are you a designer? Are you a ‘geek with heart’? Have you got a business brain? Know a bit about or live with a long term condition?

This Thursday and Friday, Snook and Futuregov are running a two day ‘intense’ camp to build an engine which provides better information and support for people living with LTCs.  It runs from 9-5pm on Thursday and 9-4pm on Friday.  By bringing together a range of talents, we hope to build an engine which uses the internet to improve information online and offline and new ideas for services.  Lauren says,

“We are working with the Scottish Government to create a service that helps people with long term conditions find local support and services. This project is called ALISS ( Access to Local Information to Support Self Management ) and you can catch up on the rest of the team’s activities here. We are documenting our phase of the project at Supporting Pipes.

This project echoes our belief that, by empowering people to make informed decisions about how to manage their life with the necessary support, it can have very real and positive outcomes for all involved”

We’ve been working on the ALISS project for a wee while now, doing an initial phase of research and then three consecutive workshops in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth respectively.  We’ve been blown away by the ideas generated in our workshops, and now hope to fully develop them into small prototypes and give them a glossy shine.  With your help!

Participants present their ideas in Glasgow

To read more about some of our workshops, visit Snook or see our photos of all the workshops.

If you are a designer I think this is an experience not to be missed.  If you are thinking of doing a project or work later in health related topics or within the NHS, you must come.  To be honest, when I was doing my undergrad, I wish I’d had the opportunity to come to an event like this.  It is a co-design workshop and you will get invaluable experience as a facilitator. This is something not to be missed!

To sign up for the event, go to our eventbrite page.

March 2, 2010, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Masters in Design Innovation

Myself, Neil Mcguire and Penny Anderson attempted at the start of my masters to get an online network going to get more cross collaboration and people talking around the art school, because in my experience, it’s pretty fragmented at the best of times.

I’ve always felt the most interesting conversations happened between myself and other disciplines, we can learn alot from each other, especially when we work and operate in different worlds.  That’s why we set up gsahub, with its umbrella here which houses blogs from around the art school which we are slowly collecting.  And slow it has been, we’ve not particularly had the time to push it, but it’s organically growing, and we want it to get bigger and better.

Above is a photo taken from Alex Ostrowski, who set up the Yellow Revolution at UWE, Bristol.  He says,

“In my second year of university I became frustrated with the lack of creative interaction between students on different courses. In collaboration with a like-minded illustrator, Hattie Newman, we instigated an open collective by the name of The Yellow Revolution, intended to facilitate and showcase interdisciplinary creative collaboration amongst UWE students.”

Now to be fair to our gsahub, we’ve not gone to the lengths and got the yellow paint out, but our intentions are there and we’re excited about our event!

And so to launch it, we are going to hold a Pecha Kucha event, and joining the organisational team is Christina Kinnear. Students past and present will come armed with 20 slides, each timed at 20 seconds to present their work and lives on April 22nd at 5.30pm inside the staff lounge of ‘Where the Monkey Sleeps’.

Tickets are limited so sign yourself up, and come join us on the hub, or join in on twitter using the #gsahub.