Dissertation Feedback

Upon first reading my dissertation feedback I felt disappointed – I have been worried about how my diss is going because I feel like it is so important and heavily weighted but I am so unsure of my progress. I have felt/known for a long time that it will most likely be my dissertation which pulls down my overall mark at the end of this year and I still feel that this is the case, which does frustrate me. I think, without sounding too overconfident, as someone who always generally does well and puts in maximum effort it is incredibly frustrating when my best efforts do not equal excellent grades. While discussing dissertation progress with a subject tutor recently, they asked if I was giving it my best efforts, I said yes. They said that that is all that can be asked of me then. I have always believed that if you put everything you have into something, you cannot possibly be disappointed with the outcome, because you tried your best. But I don’t feel that here. Despite my best efforts, I know I will be disappointed with my dissertation score, because I completely doubt it will be high.

Ashley’s feedback was full of helpful advice on where to take my writing next and what to change. I need to more consistently enforce my views to constantly remind whoever is reading my dissertation of my point of view and my question. I have begun looking into all of the people and theories Ashley has suggested and so far they have been incredibly helpful in supporting my argument. I have also changed my topic from a question to a statement as I need to avoid a yes or no answer. After initial disappointment, I came back to my feedback. Everything Ashley wrote I actually fully agree with, and receiving this feedback with some solutions to my problems will be a great help in really pushing my work forwards.


Competitions: Week 2 Tutorial

Since my last tutorial I have been considering both of my initial ideas and conducting further research in order to come to a decision. I have been in the middle of a real mental battle over what to choose – one idea feeling perhaps more ambitious in difficulty and the other being something I was dying to pursue, but I was unsure of whether this was because it was an actual good idea or whether I just wanted to pursue it because it featured something I have been raised to love. Obviously, the aim of this project is not only to create an amazing piece of portfolio work, but also to gain recognition from ISTD – I must remember this.

As the week went on it became increasingly clear which project idea I was leaning towards…and when I say leaning towards I mean completing grabbing with both hands. My anniversary will be 1977, the year David Bowie released the song ‘Heroes’. A song about the Berlin wall, the song, and Bowie’s work in Berlin over the next ten years contributed to it’s fall in 1989. I will contextualise this to modern day by comparing this to Trump’s plans to build a wall and note how history repeats itself – walls go up but they always come down. I am particularly drawn to Bowie because of the potential for adventurous colour and composition. I really want to push my work far out of my comfort zone and my skills to their absolute limit in this project to create something I am really proud of – the best thing I have ever designed. (No pressure, I know!)

The meeting today with David and my group was positive. I shared my journey to choosing my idea and what I had chosen and David second my decision, which was a great boost. I discussed my ideas so far though they are still a bit all over the place. I have considered using a timeline throughout stemming from 1961 (when the wall went up), through the 70s when Bowie lived in Berlin and wrote Heroes, to 1989 (when the wall came down). I need to decide how it will be structured – all the Bowie stuff and then all the Berlin wall stuff, or the two intertwined in some sort of undecided fashion. We decided it was best to leave some more detailed background on Bowie out and make the whole thing more about the wall, as there is such a strong link between Bowie and the wall. I want to include some personal accounts from my family and particularly my dad, as it was his influence which led me to love David Bowie. I am considering how to represent the wall in my work. I have considered actual paper technology pop ups, typographic representation, imagery etc, I need to consider how to do this or whether it is even necessary. David and I agree it is a good idea to still begin with my dad’s devastated text on 11th January 2016, and end with something personal too.

Next Friday, we will be expected to show three completed spreads and having fully decided the content for each page. David reminded us to constantly consider “what are people going to take away from this project?” and “what am I trying to say?” The must be purpose to our work!

Dissertation: Lit Review

For the deadline on the 31st October, I submitted two drafted chapters of my argument and my introduction for Ashley’s feedback. Since then, I have been working on my literature review as I feel this is the part of the dissertation I am most confident with. I have decided I would like to write my lit review as a 2,000 chapter at the beginning rather than threaded throughout, though I am sure there will be lit review style extracts weaved into my argument too. In my last tutorial, we discussed how we can come across as intelligent and well researched in our writing. One way was to acknowledge research done that might not be entirely relevant, taking note that you have done it and of it’s potential worth elsewhere, but dismissing it for this thesis in particular.

I am finding it far more frustrating to write my dissertation than any of the essays I have done in uni before (obvious, I know). I feel that this is because, for my 4,000 word dissertation proposal, I had an appropriate amount of research and quotations to include for the size of the body of work, and it felt managable – in that I could easily find the quotes I needed as I was writing in order to make the writing flow well. In a similar way, I am finding dissertation hard because I have so much research and so many quotations to include, that finding the one I want with the correct reference as I am writing it is difficult and often stops the flow of writing and my train of thought. I have been as organised as possible throughout the whole dissertation process, sorting my references into chapters and putting the bibliography together from the very beginning to avoid trouble later. I have this both on screen and printed, annotated with ways that I can intertwine quotes into my argument. And despite this, I still find it difficult to sift through the work. I realise there is not a lot that I can do to prevent this in future or solve this issue apart from being even more organised than now and staying focussed and on track as I write. I think I need to just keep going, knowing there will be many many edits after the writing of the body of work is done.


In amongst the Design for Real project, we had a briefing for our next project – competitions! I have been looking forward to this project for so long and I am excited to get started. Since the briefing it has been on my mind but only now am I getting the chance to properly explore the briefs in depth in order to decide what I want to choose. There are lots of great briefs and it is just about deciding what kind of thing I want to do. I am very keen to do an ISTD brief – a typographic editorial is right up my street and something I wasn’t able to do in the last project, or for a while actually. The success of the year group before us is intense – so much great work and so many winners from their cohort – NO PRESSURE!

I really want to produce a brilliant piece of work for this project and obviously, the aim is to win. I think I am going to enjoy working independently on ideas way outside of the box in order to stand out on a national scale.

DFR: Final Presentation

Our final presentation today was a great success! Our board looked fantastic and two mentors came over to tell us our presentation was their favourite (after their own groups, of course!). I think we presented well and the work of the three team members at the presentation was to a high standard and looked great! I put together the presentation, checking and approving it with Isabelle and Amber and I think it was clear and concise in the end. Amber’s work really added something to our stand – her interactive model got people involved and everyone was fascinated with how it worked! Waiting to present I was suddenly so nervous and I think this may have came across as I spoke. I was trying not to ramble on too much as I know I have a habit of doing this from fear of not getting my idea across fully. The clients seemed to like my idea during the presentation, nodding along to specific things I said.

Afterwards, we received only positive feedback. The clients appeared interested in how it would be possible to pursue all of our ideas, mine potentially being the most expensive and difficult to produce of the three due to the scale of the idea. They have taken away our presentations and so hopefully we will hear back soon which ideas they would most like to continue producing.

After a bit of a rocky start with not really understanding what was wanted from the brief, I think as a year we produced brilliant and varied outcomes. I very much enjoyed working on the project and having the opportunity to work on certain elements that I have no yet delved into in my design work, like the app. I hope that I can keep developing this for the summative deadline and hopefully develop a working prototype/video.

DFR: Design Development

Since receiving constructive feedback on our prototypes and concepts, I have been making the appropriate changes to my work. Thankfully, the elements of my work that I had chosen to be specifically tailored to the age category of the target audience all work well and do not need changing – these were my main concern as they are essential in order to appeal to the correct audience. Based on research of eyesight of the elderly and dementia, I chosen red and yellow as these are the most easily distinguishable colours. I chose two fonts, both easy to read and one particularly bold and capitalised for clarity. i have included within the settings on my app design the option to change the colours scheme and font size on the app to tailor to individual needs.

Ian drew to my attention the need for something to come before the actual event, when I had mostly be considering what came after. This is obviously important, because for my idea especially I am relying heavily on the participation of families. For them to participate, I need to create an invitation of sorts; a way to get involved. I have come up with two ideas which I’m sure will be more or less appropriate and feasible depending on the budget. The first idea is to install the benches where they are meant to go but they are painted grey. On the panels of the bench will be information detailing a very short sentence or two summarising what the project is and how to get involved. Something like:

“Need a Rest Stop? This could be it. But grey? Really? Have you got a bright idea for a bench? Reststop.”

I want the tone to be friendly and informal, putting families at ease and encouraging them to get involved. The other idea is to have slightly more information on a card invitation given out to residents and resident’s families in the Newport area.

“Hi _______! Newport needed more Rest Stops, so we got them! Yay! There is just one problem… They are all grey. To fix this, Derwen are offering your family the chance to decorate a Rest Stop! Just gather a group, come to the hub and have some fun! The brighter the better. Pop into the hub or download our app for more information on how to get involved. See you soon!” 

For the final presentation, I want to show every stage of the journey – invitation, event and spreading the word – to show I have considered all stages.

DFR: Penultimate Client Presentation

Today we had our penultimate presentation with some of our client’s – Amanda and coworkers from the school of health sciences. Each team had 15 minutes to discuss their ideas and get feedback, so it was a rush to get everything out that needed to be said. Of the three ladies who gave us feedback, we had only met one before, and so in those 3 minutes we had to cram in the inspiration for our idea, the idea itself and what we have designed as a result of this. Prior to designing the app I have been working on, I researched in depth about designing for dementia; what to use and what not to use for successful usability. The only improvements the clients gave was that I should measure the distance to the next bench in minutes and not distance, because people often struggle with visualising distances.

For the final presentation next Thursday, I would like to have a video of my app ‘functioning’, a printed invitation to take part in the event and a map print out.