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.