The purpose of this research is to explore how the process of creating visual identities can be revisited to actively adopt an explorative practice and encourage intuitive decision making. The project is a critique on a designer’s role of creating and presenting identities as well as producing and contributing to visual culture. Further, it is a critique on corporate culture and its detrimental influence on an individual's creativity and purpose for creating identities of significance. This research seeks to develop a comprehensive design process that caters to moments of serendipity, intuitive lead decisions and to create unique visual identities through experimentation.
The potential of an identity is often constrained and dictated by the conservative corporate environments in which it resides. A designer’s growing accessibility and exposure to visual references, driven by influx of social media use and design specific accounts, has resulted in visual landscape of homogeneous concepts and imagery because so much of what we see is recycled. This often makes outcomes become predictable, unimaginative and somewhat insufficient at producing a unique and engaging narrative. Subsequently, the role of designer has been shifted from a producer of visual culture to a reflector.
Accordingly, a designer’s unique perspective and ability to solve problems can be overshadowed by the influx and reference of existing visual solutions. This highlights the need to explore alternative processes when designing visual identities in a way that not only critiques and challenges existing solutions, but to place confidence in a designer’s individual ability to create new ideas and solutions, both visually, conceptually and intuitively.
Three primary research methods have been employed to drive this investigation. The initial research adopted a auto critical reflection on practice (research through design). The insights generated were then tested and critiqued via workshops (Ethnographic). This was generated data was then used in the development of a proposed design process which was tested and refined through two case studies.
The primary methods can be summaries below:
︎ Critical Reflection on Practice (Research Through Design)
︎ Workshops (Ethnographic)
︎ Case studies (Autoethnographic)
The insights gained using these research methods highlight the significance of designer’s adopting a comprehensive design process when developing visual identities. By encouraging intuitive, logical and emotive decision making, designer’s can benefit from an explorative design process that not only produces unique narratives and visual imagery, but resets the initial problem to allow for a range of solutions to blossom. As such, it highlights that experimental venture and creative freedom is paramount to the development and depth of a visually communicated topic.
Left: Think Feel Know Framework (Appendix 5)
Right: Immersion Framework (Appendix 6)
As a result of this research, two frameworks were proposed to assist designers progress through The Double Diamond Process. The First Framework (Appendix 5 : 5. Think Feel Know) encourages a designer to acknowledge their subconscious thoughts (Intuitive, Logical and Emotive) to facilitate an intuitively led design process. While the Secondary Framework (Appendix 6 : Immersion) further explores this concept and highlights that by crafting a process that nurtures intuition, designer's can benefit from an enriched decision making process.
In conclusion, this introduced frameworks reconsiders the design process of being a linear and conformist. The research highlights that by a designer placing confidence in their intuition, it can successfully drive a fulfilling design process. By adopting these frameworks to The Double Design Process it can host an experimental and exploratory process to produce unique outcomes.
Designs ability to explore problems and be a tool of critical investigation has been overshadowed by its role to generate revenue. One’s design process has been condensed with emphasis and monetary value being placed on the outcome and not the process itself. Graphic design competition based websites such as 99Designs and DesignCrowd champion this scenario and reward the production of quick outcomes. This corporate influence has created an influx of homogenous concepts and imagery that have become insufficient in producing unique and engaging visual identities and narratives.
The research investigates, how can a design process of creating visual identities adopt an explorative model which encourages intuitive design decisions? This question hypotheses that when a designer acknowledges and places confidence in their individual thoughts (logical, intuitive and emotive) to justify design decisions it produces a explorative process that result in a fulfilling outcomes, both for the designer and client.
The proposed solution for this research critiques an existing design process, ‘The Double Diamond Process’ which was developed by the British Design Council in 2005. The appeal of this model is its simplicity, clearly defined stages and diversity in its use. Although this process does well at recognizing the different stages a designer progresses through, a design process is not always so linear and clearly defined. As such, this research explores how a similar model can better cater to a designer’s intuition to promote their individual creativity.
During an elective, Unconventional Publishing, I explored the possibilities of using communication design as how Adam Cruickshank describe, ‘an autonomous creative practice. Suddenly I had the freedom to explore and document ideas independently from corporate environments I was previously working. I discovered that through the process of design and the physical act of creating, I was able use these projects as vehicles for my curiosity and as a tool to acquire knowledge. This realisation highlighted the significant role that ‘researching through design’ would contribute to this investigation and prove invaluable as methodology. Further, it revealed opportunity how to appropriately critique these corporate environments and explore how by participating with such corporate influence, could result in an enriched decision making and fulfilling design process.
It was on reflection of this semester as a whole that I was able to understand that each individual outcome was a smaller response to a large problem that I was undertaking. Each design brief that I was presented was an opportunity to experiment both visually and conceptually. Although I had frustrations with branding and visual identities becoming predictable, I realised the problem lay within a designer’s participation of this issue. Designer’s must not only solve problems, but participate in asking why the question is being asked and adopt a holistic design process. As such, the outcome of this research not only questions and critiques orthodox design practices, it reconsiders a designer’s process when creating visual identities and considers the value speculative and experimentation contribute to one’s process.
The publication ‘Uncorporate Identity’ by Metahaven has acted as the primary influence and reference for the process, outcome and presentation of my research. The publication is an anthology of Metahaven’s ideas, responses and critique on corporate identity and explores themes of design, geopolitics, architecture, and branding. The appeal of this publication is that it acts a vessel to cater for different tangents of thoughts. It highlights the importance of these explorations to their design process and how vital it is in the acquisition of knowledge. It is an ideal reference for ‘Research Through Design’ as well as an example of what an anti design book that will relates to my research topic of branding.
In conclusion, by researching through design I am able to critique my own creativity process and explore how these insights could be of benefit and interest to other designers when creating visual identities. The outcome for this research is to encourage designers to place confidence in their own subconscious thoughts; intuitive, logical and emotive, and how these can be invaluable in producing unique design outcomes and narratives. By acknowledging these thoughts, designer’s can experience an enrich decision making process that places confidences in an individual's creativity and ability to produce unique outcomes.
Three primary methodological research tools were employed to investigate how the design process of creating visual identities can support an explorative model and encourage an individual’s intuitive decisions. The methodologies were applied sequential to allow for the collection of qualitative data to be continual inform/refine and progress the research to appropriately respond to the research question.
Additionally, two interviews were conducted early on in Semester Two to provide insight and perspective of speculative design and branding at large. The primary role of these interviews was to mature and progress the scope of the research. The interviews are with Adrian Ley and Brando Corradini.
The three primary research methods are summarised with their potential contribution to the research:
︎ Research Through Design: Autoethnographic
- Use projects as vessels to conduct research and explore different ideas.
- Through creating tangible thought, it allowed for ideas to be better articulated as well as critiqued.
- Provide opportunity to grow and refine central research dialogue
︎ Workshop: Ethnography
- Introduce and test framework of intuitive lead decisions in Double Diamond.
- Generate qualitative data in form of posters in response to following proposed process.
- Observe participants on their response to the research project overall.
︎ Case Study
- Test a proposed design framework is appropriate for the real world.
- Continue to refine and grow the proposed design framework
This research was initiated by adopting an autoethnographic, self reflective practice. Autoethnography is a term for research that explores the connections between culture, the wider society and the self (Chang, 2008). This method proved appropriate to apply a ‘research through design’ approach to assist in articulating and exploring different ideas and concepts. (Fallman 2007) states that this ‘project-grounded research’ seeks to place emphasis on the research objective of creating design knowledge (Frankel and Racine 2010). The value of this self reflecting practice is that the investigation becomes a vehicle for acquiring and shaping knowing (Downton 2003). Further, this integrated frame of reflection and inquiry means that the process seeks explanations and produces immediate results (Friedman 2000). (Lois Frankel 2010) explains that through project based research “the emphasis is on the research objective of creating design knowledge, not the project solution”.
This research at large was primarily focused on extracting information about a designer’s participation and process. As such, it should be acknowledge this investigation is inquisitive about the profession of design and can be considered ‘Research About Design’. Buchanan calls this area of research a “design inquiry” and sees it as searching for “an explanation in the experience of designers and those who use products” (Buchanan 2007). Although Buchanan cleary divided ‘Research About Design’ into two categories: ‘the discipline of designing’ and ‘creativity of the designer’. My research is inquisitive of both the development and process of creating branding identities and the designer’s role and process that equates to that.
The information from this self reflective practice are qualitative and aim to not only collect, but provided opportunity to articulate and understand the research in regards to different influences and perspectives on the research. Qualitative research is associated with discovery, description, understanding and shared interpretations (Sanghera 2007). As such, the varied insights and information all contributed to, and revolved around adding to a central dialogue about a designer’s participation in designing visual identities while leaving opportunity to add to this conversation through external perspectives.
These insights and data collected were then reconstructed into shareable concepts which were tested through an ethnographic study of communication design students during workshops. The workshop explained the intentions of my research and proposed a design process that encouraged intuition, mistakes and experiments. The participants were asked to respond to a speculative brief to create a visual identity through a poster. Qualitative research is appropriate for this inquiry as it is subjective and focuses on describing and interpreting people’s meaningful experiences though a participant point of view (Ladner 2007). Although the final outcome wasn’t a functioning identity system, a narrative was produced by rapidly progressing through a design process with strict constraints. Via observing the participants discussions and posters created, it provided insight into their response to the proposed concepts and research at large. Ethnography, a core anthropological research tool seeks to explore how people experience and make sense of what they, themself and others do (Plowman 2003).
From these insights case studies were developed to test how these insights could be beneficially in real life scenarios. The benefit of employing this research method is that it is concerned with how and why things happen, allowing the investigation of contextual realities and the differences between what was planned and what has happened (Anderson 1993).
The pragmatic paradigm of the research acknowledges that our reality is ever changing based on our actions, “sidestepping the contentious issues of truth and reality” (Feilzer 2010), and instead focus “what works as the truth regarding the research questions under investigation” (Tashakkori & Teddlie 2003). As such the pragmatic epistemology is more suitable for ‘Design for Research’ and studio research methods such as Reflection of Practice and Case Studies.
In conclusion, The paradigm of the research mixes both constructivist and pragmatic epistemology and pragmatic theoretical perspective to support the research. Two research methodologies were used to employ three methods of collecting information. Autoethnographic studies allowed for a reflective practice and case studies to be explore the research while ethnographic studies promoted a different perspective on the research. The research methods describe above allowed for the research to be explored chronologically and in a sequential progression. This will allow the research to be self directing and fulfilling in it’s exploration but restrained and supported by findings and data collected from observations during field work. The chosen methods provided value by creating a diverse range insights into the problem at hand. Further, these insights were successful in forming a holistic conversation regarding visual identities and provide the necessary insight into responding to the research question.
This creative audit reviews and analyses a range of literature relating to the design of creating visual identities as well as the role and influence that critical thinking contributes to a design process. The chosen literature explores how ‘research through design’ can be both an effective research tool for collecting knowledge as well as it’s role of communicating it.
In the book, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming Dunne and Raby (2013) describe the term speculative design as such a catalyst, where the focus moves from problem solving for clients, to problem finding for societies. From this introductory to both critical and speculative thought, it radically changed my attitude to design thinking and the way problems are solved. It highlighted that instead of producing an outcome, a sole tangible concept, a designer could adopt an inquisitive role and aim at better understanding a problem instead of seeking to solve it.
This concept of ‘problem setting’ not ‘problem solving’ acknowledges that designing is an individual inquiry into a problem and that one’s solution is just one of many possibilities. By ‘setting’ the problem, a designer has the freedom to go back and forth between the context to which they’re designing, and the intended solution, is a “reciprocal action where you diverge and converge, synthesise and open up.” (Villumsen, 2018)
In the article Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis by Jon Kolko, Kolko suggest ‘reframing’, the “method of shifting semantic perspective in order to see things in a new way” (Kolko, 2010) is a beneficial method to frame/reset problems. By reframing the problem in normative perspective it highlights “salient features and relations from what would otherwise be an overwhelmingly complex reality” (Takeda, Tsumaya and Tomiyama, 1999).
In the article, ‘Understanding problem setting and problem solving’, an the author argues that a design “solution and problem is intertwined and evolve as you’re designing” (Villumsen, 2018). This illustrates how significant the process of ‘research through design’ is for generating knowledge and contributing to research. “Practice serve as experiments through which they interrogate their ideas, test their hypothesis and pose new questions” (Laurel 2003). These readings highlight that through experimenting and producing design artefacts that a problem is better understood andal a appropriate solution is produced.
(Fallman 2007) explored this concept of research through practice through a term, ‘Project-grounded research’. This research seeks to place emphasis on the research objective of creating design knowledge (Frankel and Racine 2010). The value of ‘Research Through Design’ is that this kind of investigative theory becomes a vehicle for acquiring and shaping knowing (Downton 2003). This integrated frame of reflection and inquiry means that the process seeks explanations and produces immediate results (Friedman 2000).
According to (Norman, 2013) the human centred design process starts with a good understanding of people and the needs that the design is intended to meet. “Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.” (Norman, 2013). Accordingly, ‘Research through Design’ is essentially the continuous effort of understanding and catering to our human needs. “Creativity is the habit of continually doing things in new ways to make a positive difference to our life (Hyper Island, 2016)”. A successful design process is defined by characteristics of ‘discoverability’ and ‘understanding’ (Norman, 2013), these set the foundation to allow designers to research possible solutions and generate new knowledge. In addition, Jon Kolko suggests for the designers to produce this knowledge, they may “a user-centered discovery process to immerse themselves in a particular subject or discipline, and then go "incubate" that material” (Kolko, 2010). By allocating time to reflect and valuing it’s adaptation to one’s design process, Kolko highlights this will produce “a tangible artifact as a visual representation of the reflection.”
To quote Dunne and Rab (2013) again, “The form of design thrives on imagination and aims to open up new perspectives on what are something called wicked problems, to create spaces for discussion and debate about alternative ways of being, and to inspire and encourage people’s imaginations to flow freely.” As such, the significance of speculative design is its ability to open public debate and lead public opinion (Franke, 2010). Describes the role of a ‘speculative designer’ to instruct the audience how to think; rather he or she should allow members of the audience to construct their own opinions about the issues that are being presented (Franke, 2010). Again, this conversation was transformative in my approach to researching and progressed it from being a interest of branding into an critique of one’s process when designing visual identities.
In a paper by Yauner and Rodgers (2015), they add to the conversation of critical design as practical design tool, not only for self reflection but seeks “to critique contemporary society through the production of provocative artefacts that cause the viewer to reflect on current trends, assumptions and values.” However, the authors argue that critical design may be only appropriate for certain contexts i.e. museums and galleries due to their social role to comment and critique a range of issues and value these observations. The authors highlight the conflict that while ‘critical design artefacts critique consumer society this does not prevent them from themselves becoming desirable objects to be consumed (Blythe, Yauner and Rodgers, 2015).
In Metahaven’s book Uncorporate Identity they highlight how critical design is a tool to host conversation and drive investigation surrounded a central theme/topic. In their instances, their critique of corporate branding and producing an appropriate identity for a nation reveals the complexity of this design problem. “The way we (Metahaven) want to use design is analytical, but also creative,” says Daniel Van Der Velden, a member of Metahaven. “Uncorporate Identity is no exception to this. In the book we take aim at the idea of ‘soft power’ that underpins nation branding. The mindless copying of existing approaches to branding is what makes the results often boring and predictable. We need more experiment and a bit more imagination too.”
Another perspective of critical design can be found in analysing consumer behaviour itself. In the article ‘Marketing communications in a post-modern world’ (Kitchen and Proctor 2015) suggests that economic, social and technological developments have resulted in market places being in an influx of constant change. Consumer behaviour responds and evolves simultaneously to technological advancements. Accordingly, consumers not only seek to engage in brand experiences, they seek to be immersed in these projected identities to form their own. Brands and identities are in a postmodernist era, being the “recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality.” ("Glossary Definition: Postmodernism" 2014). In the book Design, User Experience, and Usability: Novel User Experiences (Marcus, 2016), this issue is explored with the author stating “Design speculations can act as a catalyst for collectively redefining our relationship to reality.”
In conclusion, the referenced literature painted a holistic conversation regarding visual identities and how considering critical and speculative design . This was significant in developing my knowledge of existing conversations and presented an array of varying opinions and responses in regards to visual identities and design processes at large. It highlighted existing areas of research while revealing opportunities for further research which informed the direction of my research. Further, this exercise proved invaluable at developing my vocabulary to articulate my opinion and critique my practice appropriately.
Studio Research Outline
The research programme developed in a chronological order throughout the year with each stage necessary to continual progression and refinement of the research at hand. Semester One resulted in a series of questions relating to my research which resulted in Semester Two being allocated in attempting to understand, explore and understand these problems and concepts.
Semester Two was defined by three transformative stages:
︎ Milestone One : Week Four deliverable was a critique of semester two proposed direction.
︎ Esky Exhibition : Mate was a fictional brand in collaboration with Mariah Arvanitakis.
︎ Workshop : Presentation and workshop of my research to third year students.
Semester One was an explorative period to inquire and understand a set of motives and interests. This inquisition of branding and visual identities was framed through critical lense and explored through visual experiments. It sparked numerous questions such exploring of the role of branding, challenging and defining orthodox design, reviewing how branding and communication has evolved in addition to understanding the current landscape of branding. The elective coordinated by Adam Cruickshank, Unconventional Publishing, facilitated this investigation by encouraging new models of approaching design, more specifically, the arrangement and publishing of designer-generated content. This unconventional approach to design not only challenged me creatively, but highlighted when it's appropriate to employ unconventional design thinking and solutions.
Ultimately, semester one provided opportunity to develop confidence in my voice as a designer and begin to understand how to appropriately comment and argue on a range of design issues. By adopting a critical lense throughout semester, I began to understand how I could use critical design for not only a tool for critique, but a method of research and invaluable tool to assist a design process. This stage proved vital in the maturity of my research and fueled a series questions to frame my research at large. If branding and design is a response to culture and social commentary, when is it appropriate for a designer to critique these corporate environments? How does a designer hold integrity in their practice without consideration to these questions?
As Semester One planted the seeds for the research, Semester Two began attempting to develop and refine these questions so an adequate response could be made. The solution was outlined in week 4, Milestone 1 as a design proposal. It explored concepts identified from Semester One and response to the question ‘How can speculative design be used as a methodology to revise the process of branding?’. This investigation began with interviews (appendix 6.5) which considered concepts proposed by Dunne and Raby about speculative design and how they could be applied as tool to critique corporate branding. The outcome was a fictional brand Sense which was aimed to be a catalyst for hosting this conversation and experiment with visual imagery to be representative.
This proposal was to create a series of speculative briefs to design visual identities. After critique and timely self reflection, it was apparent the solution I had proposed was unrefined, unclear and a continuation of the themes identified prior semester instead of a response. Through the confronting critique it forced the research project to be approached in another perspective. This new viewpoint made me analysis the decisions I was making and question why I believed they were appropriate. It was this moment that the research progressed from a broad interest of branding at large, to critique of a design process that employs an intuitive lead process and values experiments and moments of serendipity.
This clarity in thought was responsible for producing ‘Mate’. This Esky Exhibition in collaboration with Mariah Arvanitakis demonstrated the relevance and practicality of my research by producing an identity that was representative of it’s design process. Sequential, the workshop proved to be invaluable stage at further refining the scope of the research. The process of becoming teacher instead of a student transformed the project from an explorative piece of research into a conscience piece of shareable and practical knowledge supported by a range of insights that had been acquired. The workshop participants were provided a framework to assist progressing through the Double Diamond Design Process in a way that promoted an intuitive lead process and experimental decision making.
In conclusion, the concepts and frameworks discussed in the workshop were further developed and refined. The initial framework transformed from a critique of the Double Diamond Design Process into its own process that highlights three key stages designer progress through when pursuing an intuitive lead and explorative design process.
Collaborative exhibition with Mariah Arvanitakis displayed at Esky
Mate was a collaborative exhibition with Mariah Arvanitakis displayed at Esky. We established a broad brief of creating a visual identity for a service that would benefit students. Mate is an independent university service that promotes students to adopt a reflective attitude to their education. This service encourages student to consider their context of their learnings to coincide with their motive to pursue education. This exhibition provided opportunity to apply our thinking into a tangible thought and proved invaluable at acting as a vessel to clarify our projects and apply our design thinking.
It provided opportunity to create an identity without any restrictions, without the need to reference existing examples to justify its existence and portrayal. This was a liberating experience of pursuing a design process that encouraged and progressed with visual experiments. Instead of refining a solution it put myself, the designer in a position to pursue discoveries and adopt an explorative design process in response to the brief.
What was of interest was how the random portrayal of different elements created a narrative and how this was interpreted and engaged with. The spread of foreign elements acted as jigsaw puzzles, and only as whole that the narrative was deemed ‘complete’ and able to form a narrative. Even then, what was being presented varied from bypasser. This allowed the viewer to create their own understanding of what was being communicated. Resulting this individual understanding facilitated individual relationship and value to be formed between the broadcast of information (individual) to the receiver (person).
Exhibition catalgoue which documents the design process of creating Mate
Sense was a design proposal for the Week Four deliverable. It was an experiment of how a fictional brand could be created to be a catalyst for representing and exploring speculative design. It embodied experimental design approaches and outcomes developed semester one which were aligned with literature from Jon Kolko who talked about Sensemaking, specifically the synthesis of ideas being a ‘magical’ act that designers perform.
Sense was created by repurposing foreign elements into a new narrative. The visual elements were derived from visual experiments that were produced simply for aesthetic exploration and creative freedom. Sense highlights the process of a designer arranging and presenting a range of ingredients into a structure to form a narrative. What was of interest is that when you place anything together, it tells a unique story, unintentional or by design. For this example, when these foreign elements were combined they created a unique feeling, and when these feelings were combined with additional artifacts, it created a narrative. To keep this identity cohesive, I deliberately choice to develop the visuals to explore and adopt a consistent aesthetic.
Personally, Sense provided me with the needed opportunity to pursue digital image making and evaluate their experimental production. The process of their production seemed random, almost unjustifiable yet necessary and liberating as a designer and the research at large. However clarifying and meaningful this practice was, it evoked a series of questions regarding why I was pursuing this work and deemed it so valuable. After timely reflection and a meditation of perspectives: my own, friends, tutors and researchers, I began to understand that my intuition, how and why I was making decisions was key to progression through a design process and the synthesis of ideas. (Veen, 2001) clarified this thought stating ‘good designers can create normalcy out of chaos’ highlighting that my role next was to understand and articulate the decisions I was making.
A rejected logo for a Yoga Nidra company
This purpose of this case study is to test the proposed frameworks in a particular, real world scenario. For this case study I was approached to design an identity for a yoga company with the purpose to generate marketing collateral to spread awareness of their business.
The process began with a meeting discussing what her vision was and clarity surrounding the parameters of the brief. The conversation durated for over an hour so I can form a detailed understanding of what Yoga Nidra meant and how to best visually represent this practice. This understanding was further developed by a list of readings and trialing Yoga Nidra to really understand what it was all about. Shortly after, I began to attempt to draw and visually represent these ideas.
From the guidance giving, the logo could resemble a lotus flower or raindrop. It was then it dawned on me that this symbol of lotus flower was severely being overused. Confirmation was through googling ‘Yoga Studio’ were wave of lotus flowers filled the page. This realisation suggested, although the lotus flower’s were all slightly different it was the exact same concept. To make it worse, this concept was being used in a range of industries from dodgy massage parlours, other sport companies to perfumes.
After meditating on these ideas and attempting to visual depict them. I knew that I need to explain what Yoga Nidra was (as most people do not know) and not use a flower to do that. Suddenly, when I was reading up about the practice some more, I found an interesting quote about Yoga Nidra is the state between running and sleeping. This narrative was so simply and fitting, I knew I needed to visually illustarte this.
Sleeping could be represented by a moon and running by a sun. These two simple symbols were metaphoric for numerous stories, running and sleeping, day and night, black and white, yin and yang. Within these two shapes there was a calmness and stillness. During the practice of Yoga Nidra, participants experience and explore this calmness. I finalised the idea, packaged it together into a nice presentation and sent it at 11:30pm via email to express yy enthusiasm of my discovery. I had beaten the lotus flower!
Feedback from client ‘Why not something like this?’
After waiting patiently for a few days and becoming a bit confused as to why they hadn’t emailed back to share this enthusiasm I received a phone call. ‘It’s good just not quite what I’m after, Ying and Yang is chinese and Yoga Nidra is not so it’s not really appropriate’.... I was in disbelief! The appeal to these symbols is that they could tell numerous stories, not just one. How could this be? I had developed a fresh take on what Yoga Nidra and created a foundation for a strong, modern brand. ‘Why not try something like this image (see above)’. This was a further shock to my research and proposed frameworks as they hadn’t performed as expected.
After a few days of thinking what that feedback meant and why my concept was even considered it dawned on me that I had created a solution for myself, not the client. I realised that the design process I was pursuing was somewhat detached and the instead of finding a concept together. I had taking the client's ‘baby’ so-to-speak and said what it should and shouldn’t be. Via pursuing this process that championed a designer’s creativity, it had adopted an obnoxious position and places the designer in an ‘I know best’ situation.
Although I new the value of including a client into a process and letting them be actively involved, this process hadn’t considered this at this stage and was an invaluable lesson. Although pursuing an intuitively lead process had resulted in a unique outcome that was fulfilling for me, it wasn’t for the client. It highlighted that pitching and delivering a concept is equally as important to developing it. To resolve this, I created six logos and asked the client to consider which one was most reflective. The response was ‘I just love this one!’.
︎ Visual refrences are concepts, the symbols communciate a story. Therefore when trying to make something new, it must be conceptually new as well as visaully.
︎ Purusing a fulfilling design process is aimless if it is not shared correctly.
︎ Do not send present a final concept via email at 11:30pm
Workshop Particpant’s Poster
For further insight into the workshop please refer to appendix 4.
The syllabus assignment can be downloaded here.
The workshop was conducted in Week Eight and provided opportunity to present the research in engaging and insightful manner. It was the result of numerous weeks of refinement, preflighting ideas and testing and possible ways to best share the research in an impactful way. The purpose of the workshop was to encourage students to be more critical of their design process and consider how they contribute and participate in corporate and visual culture. Accordingly, the workshop participants were asked to respond to a speculative brief to produce a visual identity and narrative.
To do this, participants were informed about adopting a intuitive lead design process by referencing the Think, Feel, Know framework and being lead through the Double Diamond Design Process. By adopting this design approach, it highlighted that a design process can be liberating and result in producing unique visual identities and creative responses. The defined stages of this design process were time allocated to allow for the rapid production of ideas. The students were given magazines as an analogue source of content to source imagery, ideas and concepts. The final outcome resulted in a collage which portrayed a narrative to be representative of an identity. Participants then presented their outcomes and describe them through keywords in Think, Feel, Know i.e. I think this is justified because, I feel this is appropriate because etc
The importance of these workshops highlighted that if designers don’t take risks and question how and why they do things, how will design evolve? How do brands differentiate? Often design is treated as a commodity and it’s necessary for students to understand the significance of what they’re doing to find value and confidence in their creativity. The creation of an identity is a liberating act. Designers should acknowledge this and strive to adopt a fulfilling design process that is critical of the environment it is contributing to.
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The research provides insight and examples of how by pursuing an intuitively lead design process that caters to experiments and serendipity can produce fulfilling outcomes. These outcomes are deemed fulfilling both by a designer finding confidence and value in their creativity as well an enriched decision making process that contributes to a unique design outcome. The proposed frameworks highlight the benefits of fueling one’s cognition to produce an intuitively lead design process.
The research highlights the importance of pursuing experiments to explore how to accurately communicate a thought or idea. Without a designer having opportunity to explore and attempt to articulate their creativity, the language they use is dictated and decided by others. Their thought and creative output is contained by this language and are contain to a similar form. Although existing languages, symbols and visual references are necessary to provide a mutual understanding, it’s necessary for a designer to explore and develop their own vocabulary to allow for ideas to be accurately articulated and to allow their individual creativity to be validated.
To answer the research question, How can the design process of creating visual identities adopt an explorative model to encourage intuitive design decisions? Qualitative methodology was employed in the form of a critical reflective practice. This ‘research through design’ approach allowed the research to evolve naturally. As more work was created, the scope of the research was continually refined. Further, by adopting a reflective practice, the vocabulary used, both visual and written was developed to better articulate the internal dialogue and was able to analysed and reconstructed into shareable concepts.
EvaluationThe research encountered numerous difficulties that both extended the depth of this research and myself as a reflective practitioner. The most prominent difficulty was containing the scope of the research and defining it’s parameters. This process of crafting a refined and specific research question was somewhat timely, however this process proved invaluable at progressing and maturing the research at hand. As such, the timely process of pinpointing the researches landscape may have jeopardized the potential and depth of the research and the insights and knowledge gathered. Resulting, my research was successful at identifying a unique area of research.
The research at large does well at exploring the process of critiquing visual identities and highlights that by pursuing experiments and intuitive lead decision making, a design process will produce a unique and fulfilling outcome. Although the included TFK model facilitates this process well, it is somewhat broad to cater to a range of design problems. Resulting, this may model may receive similar critique of which The Double Diamond Process received of that it is still too linear. Accordingly, instead of being the Think, Feel, Know Framework and Immersion Framework being secondary to The Double Diamond Process, it could be developed into its own process to facilitate a explorative design process.
It’s important to evaluate my role as a designer in this research process and critique how effective it translates and resonates with other designers. Throughout the duration of my study, the response to the research varied. Some of the outcomes were meet with interest and intrigue, yet my shortcoming of articulating and communicating my research holistically resulted in my enthusiasm and interest not be fully translated. This was in part due to the research needing the time to be fully fleshed out and mature as well as my own shortcoming of pursuing my research with every new influence. However, I think my role as a designer was successful of continual being critical of what I was doing, its purpose and why I deemed it important. By adopting this critical role as a designer, it allowed the research to continual evolve and be refined.
On completion of this research, it has presented numerous opportunities to continue this investigation as well as extend it’s scope in various directions. This research outcomes, specifically the two frameworks could be developed further as they feel as though they are still prototypes yet very practicular and benefical for my practice.
Additionally, it could valuable to explore these concepts thinking outside of visual identities and design as whole. It would be interesting to see how design thinking and intuive lead design process could be adopted to other creative industires i.e. teaching, arts etc.
The next step of exploring and understanding intuitive thought and decision making would be exploring cognitive and it’s role of absorb and reproducing information. Further, if the study were to continue instead of adopting a broad appraoch to all industries it may be appropriate to focus on only one. On observation, I think it would be interesting to explore this research in relation to building developments and how these buildings and communities are being labeled.
The process of designing conventional visual identities.
︎ View complete project here
What is the purpose of the workshop:
The goal of the workshop is to encourage students to be more critical of their design process and they way understand and design visual identities. If designers don’t take risks and question how and why they do things, how will design evolve? How will a brand be different to the next? This workshop promotes a intuitive lead process to create unique visual identities.
The best solutions to problems are those that are different to everything else, solutions that stand out and make us stop and just stare. Have you ever seen something a design that just makes you gaze in curiosity? Often in corporate industry and capitalist influence, a designer’s creativity is often lost completely, secondary to business decisions. Resulting, a designer’s confidence in their ideas and ability to communicate, argue and think outside of the box is often lost and suppressed. I believe it’s an essential skill to explore alternative ways to design and have the confidence and faith to in these process to challenge conventions.
What are the students going to be doing ?
The students will be presented a fictional brief and be guided through a process / framework to produce creative outcomes. I will introduce them to double diamond process and suggest that by referencing this and a framework I have developed, this can lead to unexpected and possibly a stronger outcome. Students will be put through a series of different processes, timed at everywhere staget to rapidly produce different elements that relate to their thinking.
The students will be given magazines as an analogue source of information to source imagery and ideas. They will create a collage which creates a narrative to represent an identity.
︎ The students will be introduced to my research and be provided fictional briefs.
︎ Students will be asked to collage different elements that will influence the design decision.
︎ Students will listen to each other and have a series of sticky notes that are colour related to think, feel know and write down key words and ideas.
︎ These words will then help produce a brand
When receiving feedback and criticism it is quite difficult to fully acknowledge and consider the depth of what someone is saying as it may seem that you are on totally different brain waves. How do you acknowledge something that you just can’t see? How can you consider mistakes when you think they are right? When being immersed in your own thoughts, sometimes this new perspective is invaluable in its ability to shine lights on different areas that are missing and critique what is being considered. Only by testing and preflighting my workshops I was able to acknowledge this feedback and apply it constructively.
In terms of numbers I was hoping there would be more participants. I thought I would potentially have 20-30 students, not two and have additional students walking in at the end of the workshop, but I guess that’s part of the gig. I had planned through through a larger number I would be able to facilitate group discussions for students to clarify and discuss what I was talking about. Instead, I felt as if I was preaching my research. With such a small class, no one really wants to contribute any of their own thoughts at 9am when they don’t know anyone else in the room.
I think for a workshop to run successful it really needs participants and people that are actually interested in the first place. If this was to run again I would advertise and promote my workshop individually instead of hoping students would participate in a non-compulsory event at 9am in the morning. Prior workshops I have attended, I have had the knowledge of the speaker and the topic being explored. I have to admit that it is difficult to bring someone into a totally new environment and expect a certain kind of response.
What is valuable about my work is that by researching visual identities and encouraging experimental and intuitive lead design process it has the potential for students, and myself, to develop and refine their own individual process and aesthetics to develop stronger outcomes. Having confidence in your individual thoughts is invaluable. Through this eight week project I was able to continuously grow and refine my workshop, this proved to be invaluable in clarifying my own thinking and my ability to share it with others.
This process of becoming the teacher instead of a student researcher was really important to evolve my ideas. It created an urgency to be able to clarify what I was researching and to be able to share this knowledge.
Libary at the dock visual identity
This research has applied the Think, Feel, Know framework to experiment how to visually articulate and create the identity of ‘Our Library’, an exhibition exploring future libraries at the Library at the Dock, Melbourne. After a two day workshop exploring this exhibition, experimenting with visuals was the needed output to channel these ideas into a refined form.
︎ The logo’s form represent cities (form of buildings) and libraries (form of books).
︎ The images inside suggest that this shape (future libraries) hosts communities, future growth, learning and creativity.
︎ The symmetric formation of the five elements are representative of time : past, present, future.... its essentially a timeline
Libary at the dock visual identity The logo being a way to hold qualititve reserach (kid’s drawings)
Sense of Place : Brief One
Project Documentation (Appendix 1) where they are discussed and reviewed at large.
Inserts from Sense of Place : Brief One
Inserts from Council House 2 : Brief Two
Inserts from Tourst : Brief Three
Think Feel Know Framework
Think Feel Know Framework
The Think, Feel, Know model highlights the different levels of decision making designer’s employ to progress through a design process. To develop this framework it began via critique of The Double Diamond Process which was developed by the british organisation Design Council in 2005. The initial appeal of this model is in the defined yet broad sequential stages. It highlights how this design process can be adopted in different fields and cater to a range of designers. However catering this process is it raised many question when it was considered to my practice. I.e. how does one even progress through these different stages? How does a designer make validate their decisions? Is a designer process really that linear?
The Double Diamond Process : Design Council 2005
In all creative processes a number of possible ideas are created (‘divergent thinking’) before refining and narrowing down to the best idea (‘convergent thinking’), and this can be represented by a diamond shape. However, The Double Diamond Process indicates that this happens twice – once to confirm the problem definition and once to create the solution. This linear approach creates a very comprehensive scenario but leaves one to consider how does this concept surface in the first place. When reflecting on practice, I realised that I was making rapid decisions to quickly progress through this process to produce an outcome.
It was on reflection of Sense that I realised that I was unable to articulate and justify many of the decisions I was making. As such, this model aims fills the gaps in one’s process and provide a vocabulary to not only articulate one’s decisions, but use this vocabulary to acknowledge and explore these decisions. The framework justifies a designer’s intuition and promotes it to lead a design process. This is done by referencing our logical, emotive and gut intuition. These can be summarised into think, feel, know.
As such, by following such process it can cater to a designer pursuing their own solutions, not the solutions they are being shown on websites. It celebrates an individual's creativity and suggest their unique perspective can produce a unique response.
To employ this thinking into one’s process it can be done by:
︎ I think this works because …..
︎ I feel like that worked because ….
︎ I know this worked because ….
If these questions are asked through a design process, the designer can experience creative freedom and validation in their decisions.
Immersion Decision Making Framework
This design framework promotes an intuitive lead process and promotes one’s subconscious decisions (Logical, Intuitive and Emotive) to led an explorative process in response to a problem. It suggests that via designer’s immersing themself in a problem and absorbing a range of influences and perspective on an issue, a designer finds clarity and logic within this disarray of ingredients via experimenting to make this intangible concepts tangible. This experimentation sees the designers using a creative medium to interrupt and reflect these influences. Through this, a clarity is found through the different elements being synthesized into to comprehensible themes and patterns. This provides the designer opportunity to use this clarity to appropriately respond to the initial problem.
The significance of this framework is that it acknowledges that design process is not linear, it’s blurred and confused. It’s a meditation of ingredients that with timely brew, an appropriate response can be produced. This framework was developed via critique of The Double Diamond Process and as such, should be referenced in a designer’s to attempt to produce enriched decision to progress through that sequential process. It hosts an individual's ability to understand and interpret problems.
The different stages of the framework
Stage One : Immersion (Chaos)
Designers immerse themself into a problem by pursuing a range of perspectives and insights relating to the issue at hand. This immersion includes looking at existing solutions, collecting primary and secondary research, reading literature, experiments, drawing and having conversations. Often insights that are most interesting are found at random, from drawing, taking a photo, having a walk or having a shower.
Stage Two : Concept (Logic)
Naturally, different themes and patterns start to form and a designer subconsciously starts to categories and these different elements together. This stage creates logic to the chaos, with the designer’s role of defining the concepts that have emerged. This stage allows for the meditations of influences and results in a nicely brewed thought. Often, a conversation brings a new perspective on the problem which can turn a spotlight onto different areas and speeds up this stage.
Stage Three : Form (Order)
This is when a designer’s thinking becomes a tangible package. The designer progresses a concept into an appropriate form. This form is necessary to not only be representative of the problem but provide parameters to contain a designer’s response. Further, this final form can be seen as the initial problem reframed and reconstructed. This reconstruction is possible through a clarity that was found from understanding different perspectives and information about the initial problem problem.