Design for Real: Introduction

To kick off our third and final year, we will be looking at how we can use design to encourage a better experience and more engagement between the residents of Gaer Independent Living and the different groups of people they interact with. This week, we have had a number of workshops and presentations in order to gain a better understanding of who our client is as well as our target audience.

Amanda from the Housing course at Cardiff Met gave a brilliant presentation on some of the residents she has encountered working at Pant y Celyn, some of whom have dementia. My 90-year-old grandmother recently very quickly showed obvious symptoms of dementia after so long being very old but very independent. This has been a great change for my family to adjust to – a difficult one to say the least – and something that none of us have experienced before. I found Amanda’s presentation incredibly insightful in understanding some of the less discussed symptoms of dementia, such as the change in appearance of some colours, and the emphasis put on others, for example red and yellow. Textures and patterns of fabrics and floors can also cause confusion as many sight issues are associated with dementia. I know this from my own experience of my gran, however I never understood the extent to which dementia can alter the function of the senses. Until now, I have believed dementia is very much an illness of the brain caused by deterioration as a result of old age, however dementia can be a physical illness as well as a mental one. Along side allowing me to empathise with the residents at Pant y Celyn, it helped me empathise with my grandmother, and I think this project will be great for me in having a better understanding of what she is going through, how to be patient with her and how I can help her.

Something that hit hard was a quote Amanda took from a resident. In hospital after a fall, they commented ‘last time I was in a hospital they called me ‘doctor’.’ Amanda spoke about how important it is to remember that these people…are people. They had fun and jobs and family and friends before the dementia took away parts of who they are. Even for older people without dementia or similar conditions, there is an assumption that old people are cantankerous and rude, or should be spoke down to or simply spoke at. Many old people don’t want to be treated as old people. To quote a Channel 4 documentary Amanda recommended we watch, ‘I don’t feel old on the inside, but my body can’t do what I tell it to anymore.’ Of course people mature and age through life, but just as there are young people with old souls, many older people feel young before their years. And it is important to treat them with the respect they deserve, and have earned.

Issues to address include feelings of isolation and depression, reclusive behaviour and reluctance to socialise, mobility, budget, time and avoiding stereotypes, amongst many more!

I am looking forward to working more on this project and thinking more deeply about the briefs we have been given to look at. I am drawn to the family related brief because I feel that the deliverables I could create could be something that a family like my own could use. It is easy for families to feel a strain when someone who has always been the centre of their family seems to not be who they always have been because of age related illness, and so maintaining and affirming family relationships is essential in ensuring the older person is properly supported, and the family can properly enjoy their time with their loved one.


Field 5: A More Reflective Reflection


Beginning ‘Virtual Reality’, I was incredibly excited. The module brief described the connection with a student from a university in Egypt. We would set each other a brief and carry it out to deadline, communicating virtually to updated each other on progress with the project and receive feedback. On a personal level, I understood that the main area where I was lacking with my design work was confidence. I felt that this project would be a great opportunity to gain confidence, as I would have to present my own work to a complete stranger, someone who would potentially hate and criticize my work. This is a step I know I will face at some point in the future and so I thought this would be a great chance to gain confidence in speaking, presenting myself and my work and being proud of what I have achieved, as well as taking advice and criticism and changing my work accordingly. I was also excited by the prospect of becoming the client, and giving feedback to someone half way across the world on the work they were doing for me. The module turned out to not be what had been described, and so was rather disappointing, though in turn this taught me skills I was not expecting to gain. I had chosen a module in which I knew no other people nor any of the tutors, and I was ready to step outside of the graphics studio and learn something new.


Having completed the project and been completely independent in doing so, I definitely gained skills in doing a lot with very little. My group used our initiative and proceeded with the project with little guidance and were able to complete all of the deliverables and a professional presentation for the formative deadline – something few groups actually achieved. I learnt a lot about culture from working with Egyptian Erasmus student, Mahira. This encouraged me to, in future projects, look outside local trends and venture into other cultures and trends, taking inspiration from a much wider pool of work than I previously have done. In terms of my subject work, this project made me think in much more depth about user experience, as well as using large installations for marketing. Using large and interactive installations gives participants a sense of contribution and the memory to discuss with others, further spreading the message of the original installation. Following this project, I do have more confidence in delivering presentations and presenting my own work. I know I can handle stressful situations and time constraints well and work in a team with complete strangers. Our team worked brilliantly together and we handled every hurdle well. We played to everyone’s skills, utilizing everyone’s strengths within the project. I am thankful for this experience because I got to meet Mahira, who is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met and taught me so much about her culture and, in turn, my own.



Second term field was amazing. I decided to choose the Morocco project – somewhere I had never been before but had always wanted to go to. Hearing and reading things about Marrakech made me nervous – just going somewhere with such a stark contrast in culture to my own was nerve-wracking and I was scared to unintentionally offend. However, this was an immersive experience, a study trip to learn about both the culture of Morocco and also my own. Living in the UK and rarely ever venturing further than close European countries, it is difficult to identify my own culture. The project was essentially to learn about another culture; absorb the qualities of Moroccan life and allow the experience to bleed into our work. It was a trip meant to inspire us, inject vibrance and depth into our work and for me, it definitely did. Previous to the trip, we had weekly workshops with Steve creating heat press, silk painting and digital print designs. I instantly loved the heat press and was keen to get back and use it, armed with the patterns I had seen and collected in Marrakech.

My project was inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Love Gallery’ at the Majorelle Gardens. This is a room showcasing posters designed by YSL as a New Year gift to his employees. He made one each year, up until his death in 2008. I decided my project would be to make the remaining posters to bring the collection up to present day. YSL’s posters were inspired by things he loved and enjoyed. I decided I would create a series of posters inspired by my time in Marrakech. I worked on the heat press printing some of my designs onto fabric and scanning them onto Photoshop. At the formative presentation, my tutors love my work and suggested I contact the YSL gallery to inform them of the work I had created. I have not yet done this, as my work was not at the standard I wanted it to be at, at the time, though I would like to in the future.


I loved second term’s field. I enjoyed meeting and working with new people, learning new skills and applying them to my work and, of course, Marrakech. My work for the subject projects which followed were consequently much more vibrant in colour than I had previously dared to use. I have used a lot more pattern within my work, where appropriate, and am still inspired today by the experience I had and photographs I took in Morocco. I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit Morocco and have culturally immersive experiences that I don’t think I otherwise would have had. I loved the freedom that I had with this project, both in Morocco and at home, though I never felt abandoned or alone. I was consistently supported by tutors and given the help I needed when I needed it, and left alone to explore my own ideas when appropriate too. I enjoyed working in an interdisciplinary way. From graphics, there was only myself and one other student, and so I was forced to make friends and socialize in other circles. I learnt a lot from the people on this course – I learnt about digital stitch, fabrics, welding, soldiering, repeat pattern amongst other things. I would like to think I shared some of my knowledge in return.






Overall, my experience of field this year has been positive. I am glad that Morocco came in second term, as I look over the whole year with fondness and it is far enough from first term that I can see positives in Virtual Collaboration. I met and worked with amazing people on both projects and learned a lot about Egyptian, Moroccan and British culture. This has definitely inspired me to use more colour and pattern in my work and to be more experimental. Through both modules I learnt more about my own culture; something which was was hard to identify before having never experienced a culture much different to my own. I learnt new skills that I wouldn’t have had I chosen other projects, such as using the heat press to generate vibrant colour and pattern, digital stitch, silk painting and soldiering. In addition to this, I enjoyed using software I am familiar with for new purposes – I used Photoshop and Illustrator to create repeat patterns to be printed onto fabric. Creating repeat patterns was something I had not attempted before because I had no need to, though I thoroughly enjoyed being experimental with pattern and colour on Adobe software without the pressure of a set brief, as I was allowed to work out my own brief. I hoped to bring the skills I learnt back into my subject work in order to give my portfolio more variety and experimental techniques. When revisiting my branding project, I added more intricate pattern and hand drawn elements, inspired by Moroccan patterns but making them more relevant to the task in hand in order for it to be suitable for purpose. In persuasion, I worked with a charity who lead projects across Africa and South America. Amongst other design based research, I looked into the cultural characteristics of both Africa and South America, in particular the less Westernized and rural tribal villages Size of Wales work with. Taking inspiration from this research, I used hand written typography in a painted style to resonant of the style of writing and painting the tribal families that Size of Wales work with may use. Field gave me a conscious awareness of culture throughout the rest of my projects. Through ‘Virtual Collaboration’ I strengthened my teamwork skills by directing and distributing work roles between our three-person team. In both projects there was a lot of self directed work; this suits me as I am self-motivated and am able to manage my own time. I improved my organization, self motivation and time management further through these projects, as I had a deadline to work towards and had to direct my time myself in order to get the work done. Overall, field taught me that I can handle pressure and work to a time schedule, though I do struggle when given too much freedom to choose a project brief, as there is often too much that I want to explore. I have found this particular weakness in constellation too. Though there were things I would improve about elements of this year’s field module, I enjoyed and learnt a lot from the experience looking back.




BrandWorld: Updated Brand

Ahead of the final submission, I went back over my feedback from BrandWorld and made the necessary changes to the brand. I am so much happier with it now and think it looks so much more professional, but also more fitting to the brand values – locality, loyalty and family owned. I think the hand drawn bunting definitely adds a nice touch and looks so much better than my previous vector graphic bunting.

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Below shows the touch points I have updated with my new brand. I have designed business cards, window signage, a cake box, business stationary, a shopping bag and an apron.

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