New Final Major Project! (Due June 4th)

With Project X finally out of the way, we have already been given the starting line for our next Final Major Project (FMP). With several whole months of time between us and the deadline, this project will likely be my biggest one yet, and with hope my most successful piece as well. I am genuinely excited for this project, as I still view last year’s FMP piece to be one of my favourite outcomes during my time on this course, and with the success of my APP project still behind me, I feel like I can truly push myself forward and create a design(s) I can be also proud of.

However, while I was very happy with the work and how the pieces turned out for my first FMP, I do not feel like I was as motivate/ambitious as I should have been back then, with the final designs all having to be done over the last week. This time, I am going to push myself much harder to create not only more quality in the appearance and research of my work, but also hopefully create a larger scope for my work, making it more than just a few simple spread pages with an illustration.

I am currently thinking of including my APP project ideas into this FMP in some way, or maybe even expanding on the APP project as a whole. I do not mean this as adding more pages to the ones that I had already made, but rather take what skills/design concepts about landscape and perspective I had learnt from the project and create a larger scale version which takes advantage of the long run time and lack of side projects.

Before the main bulk of our research and development is expected to commence, we have been given a date on the 5th of March to take part in a seminar to propose our brief ideas to one another, giving each person a chance to gain feedback.

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Project X (Education) – Class Pressentation

Today we have had our class presentation of our group projects wherein we briefly stood up to show our designs and answer questions about them from the rest of the class.

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Bellow are the PDF links for each page (& banner) displayed during this final presentation:

Eco-Pod Page 1

Eco-Pod Page 2

Eco-Pod Page 3

Eco-Pod Page 4

Eco-Pod Banner

The presentation was mostly pretty short and to the point, other than a few notable questions, we did not actually receive any major criticism or any feedback that I myself found any useful.

The only notable piece criticism I remember was that the border for the illustration was not central, with it having a larger gap on the top. I mostly shrugged this point off since it was somewhat of a stylistic choice but I still understood the point and will probably remember that for later projects.

The other questions we received revolved around “what forms of facilities would be found within the Eco Pod?” and “how would it be funded?”. To both, our main speaker Emily mostly responded by reinforcing that the Pod would be developed by the students, and so both the finance and facilities would be chosen by the students themselves. When one questioner jokingly continued about how the students would pay for the project, I quickly chimed in to Emily that the Pod could be government-funded, which she then expanded on by saying that other sources such as fundraisers or donations could also be used.

I am pretty certain that most of us had been caught off guard by this specific as we had not really considered how the Pod would be paid for, as we mostly stuck around the fact that students were the ones designing it in the first place. In the future I will have to remember in similar situations to think about finance more thoroughly rather than brushing it off.


Overall, I was honestly hoping for more negative feedback, as it would help lead onto improvements in later projects. Since we were mostly able to counter almost every question with an answer, we don’t know what we need to improve upon other than the previously mentioned illustration page.

Either way, I am still pretty thankful about this project due to it allowing me to work along the others I such an active project, and so I hope to work alongside others again in the future.

Project X (Education) – Reflections

Having completed the final designs that will soon be added to our common room for display, we have taken our own time to reflect on what things we may have gained from this experience, as well as what techniques went into achieving our goal.

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For me, I think that the most prominent experience I have taken from this project would be working with a group of individuals whom I have had little interaction with beforehand (with the exception of Sam of course), and to along side them for such a public demonstration. In order to achieve our goals, we had to constantly converse with our ideas and put fourth as much effort as we could to create something with little time to spare.

In a way, this differs from one of the earliest (or the only ones from memory) group projects, in which from what I can remember, had nowhere near as much planning time and conversations as this group. Most of the time back then, we would each give ourselves a different task to add to the project, and while we did communicate, we (I) would mostly stick to our own task. In this project however, we were constantly looking at each others progress and giving feedback to help find a design that all members of the group could agree on.

I also found myself going back to previous works for inspiration a lot more than I do usually, with the likes of both my work on the my FMP and environment project both having some impact on our groups decisions (even if the later was later pushed aside).

I found myself to also be a lot more vocal about my ideas and experiences later on during the project, mainly as I became more familiar with my new peers and how they often excepted the decisions I made about designs and planning.

One thing that I do feel never really stood out to me during this project was the concepts pushed forward by Project X itself, namely the definition of design for good and sustainability, as well as how to provoke conversation about revolutionary ideas, even though at this point in time, most ideas have not only been done already, but often have been created/acted in much greater capacities than what I could even think of myself. I felt like the idea of design for good mostly flew my/our head throughout this project as the concept of creating sustainable designs with a very awkward subject such as education did not necessarily mold well, as it would either mean making a new school rule/event, or a new facility/subject to educate sustainability like we have done.

Nevertheless, other than the importance of teamwork and how enjoyable it is to collaborate in a project with different skilled individuals, I did not learn much else other than maybe a few facts from our lectures. This does not mean however that I dislike the project, as simply keeps me excited for our next group work.

Project X (Education) – Final Designs

Between yesterday and today, I have helped create some new and improved versions of our previous pages after a little bit of accidental experimentation.

With Sam having left the college for until after the next reading week, and Jake not present for work sessions due to illness, only me, Rob (only for yesterdays session) and Emily have made progress with the new designs and layouts which we have come up with. When talking with the two of them, we each agreed that the presentation of our designs needed a makeover, as the previous prints were all surrounded with blank white space.

Hearing this, I began doing some rough experiments with shapes, using a select few greens that fit with our logo’s pallet. In doing so I unintentionally created a simple design that the other group members quite quickly pointed out. The design itself was just a light green diagonal shape over a darker background, but taking Emily’s advice, I added a white space within the center, giving us the room we wanted to add the images as well as the newly edited logo, which now says “Eco Pod”.

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With enough room left on my illustration page, we decided that this would be the information sheet, with a simple and straightforward paragraph or two detailing the aim and function of the project. Emily and Rob had also done some alterations to the previous photography work, such as changing the word “sustainability” for the more fitting word “collaboration” using Photoshop, as it links more directly with our projects concept of different students working together to create their own education experience. Other edits included changing the “#” phrase above Robs newest photo to also say a more fitting line about the projects concept.

After inserting the photos onto separate documents (all sharing my new border design and the logo in the top right corner), Emily sent me the text which I placed within a shape made to curve around the image somewhat after taking some of her advice. Along with the main information, the text that Emily sent to me also contained a slogan for the project which quickly highlighted the project’s main links to education experience.

And with that the main designs were completed (as shown bellow).

However, to further improve the overall presentation for when our work is put on display within the common room, me and Emily, the only two members present for today’s meetup, have also created a banner/title piece to add somewhere onto our wall. The design was mostly inspired by many of the simplistic shapes I found during my previous research into poster design and follows as close as possible to the original color-scheme, with a large white slogan to match.

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We believed that adding this banner would help add more of a question as to what our project may be about from an onlooker’s perspective, as it asks the viewer directly what they would see in their own education if they had the opportunity to design it themselves. I went through a few simple designs for typeface size, color and composition for highlighting the most important words (the images for which have for some reason disappeared) before choosing the one above, namely for how easy it is to read from a distance.

We made sure to draw attention towards the words “YOUR OWN” as the aim is ask the students what they want. The reason as to why the background design differs from the previous pages is due to me not feeling comfortable with how the main boarder designs appear on their own with the central image or white box hiding the overly simple appearance, as without them, it just looks like a line across the page. Both me and Emily agreed that this design is far more dynamic and eye-catching for just the text alone.

We also attempted some ideas for layouts, however until we know the placement of our displays, we cannot make any decisions.


Overall, I am very pleased with how these new designs have turned out, as they are for more suitable for the presentation due to the dynamic colors added around them, as well as the easy to read 1 information page design, which is far more inviting than the previous 3 information page layout, which could have led our viewers to lose interest with so much text.

I am also feeling very happy with what little time I have had with my team members, as working with others (who were present at least) gives me a sense of clarity that I cannot achieve on my own, as it means I can talk to them to gain understanding of my aims are as well as gain critical feedback on issues such as design choices. It did feel a little disappointing however when members would not arrive for work, as Sam (our leader) has left for the remainder of the project, while Jake has missed several crucial moments. Rob has been present in all but today’s session (as he appeared during the first half of this two-day post), but considering that only the printing of the banner was completed, he did not miss too much.

Project X (Education) – Revising Layout & Design

Looking back at our feedback we noticed that we did not receive any notable criticism other than a few “I don’t know” answers. However, this may have been due to the nature of the questions themselves rather than the project’s actually quality. Because of this, the group decided to have another planning session to review what improvements could be made to the overall presentation of the project and the pages themselves for the second upcoming display, which shall be placed within the common room.

At first, our group became rather agitated at the idea of improvement and we begun to rapidly plan new ideas and changes for the concept of our project, as suggested by one of our tutors who believed that we were focussing too much on the “sustainability” side of the project over the “educational” side (a comment which somewhat confused the group on what the real theme of the project really was about). We attempted to quickly alter our ideas direction by thinking hard on how to push the idea of eduction further using what little time we have.

After some discussions on layout, we eventually realised that we did not necessarily change the entire project, but more simply revise what amount of information we were giving. One of the solutions we came up with was to remove two of the information pages, leaving us with just one informative page with a much clearer and straightforward description of what the Echo Pod was and how it links to education. We also decided to rename the project from Echo Pod to Eco Pod, mainly due to how we would accidentally say “Eco” whenever we tried to talk about it. One of the reasons why we didn’t use Eco to begin with was because we believed that there were already so many real life projects that used the word that we want one which sounded a bit different.

During the process of our planning session, Rob created yet another photography based design for use within the display (which is actually what we needed considering we have thrown away two of the information pages) with a greater emphasis on the educational side of the project. The image depicts 3 individual students with their corresponding subject within them (fashion, math, art), along with a leaf sprouting light-bulb above the center person’s head, supposedly representing a sustainable idea appearing in their head.

 

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The group actually saw very little wrong within the illustration I had created, since there was no feedback whatsoever about its presence and the team did not want to get rid of it. Because, we will very likely be using the illustration again during our next attempt.

One of the major points that we did discuss during our meeting heavily was the way in which we will be displaying the designs we have remaining, with Emily going online to find inspiration for modern poster designs. During her research, I showed the group the final design of one of my previous works involving layout, with that being the Environment project spread pages I did some time ago within this course. They seemed to immediately take interest in the branch frame like design which I believed could be introduced into this project. After some thinking however, we realised that using the branch design method would be difficult (if not downright impossible) seeing that each of our images had to be full size to function properly.

After this realisation, we decided to just think it over until we met next (as it was getting late) and so I left for home so I may assist the others during our next meeting.


Overall I do feel a little conflicted about the 3 three sources of feedback that we received about our previous display. While the responses from both our tutor Tim and the audience (although that may have been a lack of criticism based questions on our part) were positive, our second tutor Sancha’s advice troubled us a fair bit, as we did not understand whether to aim towards making the project as sustainable as possible (as the project name implies) or to make it more based around education (the theme of our groups project. Until our next meeting, I feel like we won’t know.

Project X (Education) – Reviewing Feedback

Today we have regrouped together in order to review the feedback we received during friday’s display from both the question sheets as well as the activity sheets. As mentioned before, the questionnaire sheet consisted of 5 open-ended questions designed to provoke informative responses from viewers about what they though of the idea and things that they themselves would want to see in an Echo Pod.

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One major issue we noticed however when reviewing the answers for the first question was that many viewers simply wrote overly simple answers such as “it’s a nice idea”, which despite being positive for us, was not helpful in understanding why they liked the idea. The only easy way of rectifying this issue was to simply add the work “Why?” after the question, as this would urge the viewer to give a reason behind the response.

This issue seemed to be spread among many of the other questions, often dipping into simplistic answers with 1 or 2 word answers. This was not to say that every question sheet suffered this problem as there were a decent few sheets received that contained actually useful information. This issue may have simply been based more on the individual writers rather than just the sheets themselves, but could still probably be improved with the aforementioned “Why?” ending.

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We did also receive some more drawing responses from viewers, however, not all of the designs were serious and the one I considered the best ended up coming from one of my team members to pass the time during their shift.

Overall, the responses we received from viewers was positive as we had hoped, but the feedback we got was not truly what we had expected, with little to no helpful comments other than 1 or 2 sheets that had longer and more honest answers, but little more than that. The only question that did in some way succeed was the fifth and final question of what facilities did the viewer want to se within the Echo Pod, which were answered with lists of things such as play/entertainment areas or actual curriculum subjects.

Looking back at this, we realised that while we (mostly) avoided getting “yes or no” answers, we failed to think about how little patience the viewers would have to give long awnsers, and so instead gave simple responses before moving on. This is something that I myself will have to remember later on in the future when creating my own feedback methods.

Project X (Education) – Presentation Day

With each member of the group completing their assigned parts using feedback from one another, we have completed the display which shall be used for today’s public presentations. Each member of the group volunteered to manage our display for planned out shifts, and so I voted to be the first to arrive and work the early shift. Because of this, I would not be present for the later shifts and would thus have to wait until our next lesson to review feedback.

Along with my own illustration design, the other group members have shown their own finished works. Sam, who was assigned to the writing the information and sorting the method of feed returned this week with a large home-made ballot box as well as at least 100 or so small questionnaires inspired by the one found within our game activity. The handouts consisted of 5 open-ended questions thought up by the group designed to not receive yes-or-no answers, as we only want informative/detailed responses.

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A second form of feedback was also brough in by Sam and the group as a “design it yourself” activity sheet, with the idea being that viewers could design their own Echo Pod, which would not only urge interactivity, but also give us a more interesting way of gaining feedback from what students would like to see in an educational facility. During my shift for the display, I found that not many people really cared enough to stop for the drawing activity, with many just stopping long enough to submit a feedback sheet. It was not until Sam and Emily’s shift (the midday/lunch shift just after my own) that we got someone to draw for the activity. Remembering a video that Sam had shown the group during a previous session about how seeing one person do something will make others more comfortable to follow as well, we kept the sketch visible for others to see rather than placing it into the box. This was to help inspire others to also join in, as the video explained that when more individuals do something together, outside viewers feel compelled to join as well. Because I had left after seeing the first hand in, I can only wait until the next meetup.

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Along with the feedback sheets created by Sam, Emily and Rob worked to add images and a logo to further add some level of professionalism to the display, with photos taken of us in work-like scenes to simulate the environments of students working together. The Logo was created to be quick and simple, as a complicated logo is not needed for such a short spanning project. Jake on the other hand was asked to design the speech bubbles for the text to be placed into, using a fitting green color and smooth edges that match the theme of the display.

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We printed each design onto A3 sheets of paper and placed them into a 2×3 to fit into our assigned display board. We then placed the feedback components onto a table in front of the board with a selection of pens for viewer use. Our finished display is shown bellow.

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Overall, I am actually rather pleased with how we managed to complete this display in time for the presentation, as well as how decent in turned out thanks to the quality efforts of the others. During my shift for the display however, I feel as if I received the least amount of outside feedback, as the majority of the sheets filled in around the morning came from the wandering members of the other display teams, giving me very little feedback from those unaware of the project’s aim.

It was mostly until after Sam and Emily arrived for the midday shift when more and more students began to flood into the canteen area where we were set up. After watching with the two for a little longer, I set off home for lunch, and so I hope to hear from them if we did any better after I had left.

So far I quite clearly see (as well as the others possibly) that Sam has put forth the most effort and enthusiasm towards this project, going out of her way to complete multiple difficult tasks at once. Rob and Emily have also put in a fair amount of effort to create the logo as well as the high quality photos for the display. Jake I do honestly feel has been a little left behind due to his multiple sick days, resulting in him missing critical meetings and planning sessions. Despite this, I do not see him as a hinderance in any way, and am glad that he was still able to create the speech bubble designs even when away.

Project X (Education) – Final Sketch Design

Today I have created a sketch design that the group and I have agreed to use as our illustrated depiction of the Echo Pod. The design is shown bellow:

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This design was based off of one of the previous rough sketches I created during our planning session, which cast aside due to me thinking we were going to design a large scale facility over a smaller building. This version of the design is simply going to be a concept idea for the Echo Pod rather than an actual design, as one of the aims of our idea is to inspire the viewers to come forward with their own ideas as well as the point of the Echo Pod being that students will design and build the structure itself,

For this sketch I have added the previous planned green-roof which curves of the porch like segment at the front of the building. on the side is what would be the garden area as well as the vegetable patch fenced off at the far end. On the garden side (as well as possibly the opposite side) of the building are full length windows to allow outside viewing, while also taking advantage of natural lighting to save on electricity. Finally, the roof has also been equip with a line of sloar paneling for obvious sustainabilly methods.

The reasoning as to why the above sketch may appear rough is due to an idea found by another member of the team who found images the following images:

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Image result for sustainable building sketch

https://www10.aeccafe.com/blogs/arch-showcase/2012/05/01/new-office-building-for-nordea-in-copenhagen-denmark-by-henning-larsen-architects/


The plan behind this piece of inspiration is to go over the original sketch with a fine-liner in rough manner and add a few splashes of watercolor, giving the final image a stylistic yet understandable appearance.

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In the image above I had begun to put this plan into action. The image bellow is the final result of the fine-liner rendition.

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After removing the pencil work using an eraser, I decided to use the same method of coloring that I once used during my FMP, wherein I scanned my image onto Photoshop and used the brush tool to give the effect of watercolor. I decided to re-use this method over actual watercolor paints/pencils as Photoshop allows me to create multiple copies of the design which in turn means I can experiment with what colors and layouts I can use without the risk of starting over if the image went wrong.

(The idea behind the pure green images was to highlight what forms of sustainable/environmentally friendly additions had been used, but the I dropped the idea due to not making it clear what everything was.)

After showing a few examples to the group (shown above), we all collectively agreed on using this version of the design due to its lighter colors and gentler appearance. With that, my illustration for the display has been completed for now, meaning that I can only wait until the display day for true feedback.

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I am actually rather happy in most ways for how the illustration turned out, as despite some rough edges that don’t sit too well with me, the image and coloring used appear very fitting to how we had hoped, as the light green seems to match well with the color-scheme that the other members have also adopted. I am also a little sad about this moment within the project as I had hoped that this practical stage (my favorite of any project) would last a little longer than a day or two, but until next time, i’ll just have to wait.

Project X (Education) – Sketch Designs

Today I have been working on the creation of various sketches for possible design choices for the display illustration after taking some advice from the previously mentioned planning session. One of the main aspects for the designs which I had to focus on is the use of sustainable construction, as the facility is to be built as an example to the viewers as to what environmentally friendly techniques exist today which they could have use for their own Echo Pod.

Before I began, I first started to collect inspiration from already existing architecture that uses sustainable design methods, and found that one of the most popular and genuinely appealing design choices made by constructors was the inclusion of “green-roofing”. In almost every image I found online, as well as from past experiences, green-roofing is present in modern sustainable design, as it provides various beneficial properties compared to tile roofing, such as being an effective insulator, act as natural habitats for local wildlife and generally just look a lot more appealing than stone.

Another very noticeable design feature found on many images of modern architecture I have found include the use of smooth shapes and curved lines, giving each building a very sleek, beautiful design as if the entire structure was wave. The use of green-roofing is also seemingly very compatible with curves,, as shown by some of the examples bellow:

Image result for modern environmental architecture

http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/city/architecture/215637-green-roof-architecture-sustainable-design

Image result for green roof

https://inhabitat.com/amazing-green-roof-art-school-in-singapore/

After taking in these examples of inspiration and discussing them with the group, I began making sketch designs for possible ideas that could be added in the final display. Along with such images, I also attempted to use guidelines set by the others who created this layout plan which revolved around the idea of a central “pod” surrounded by multiple larger class buildings made for classrooms.

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The central “pod” would be an area within the facility where students of every topic could work practically together to help facilitate sustainable solutions for real life scenarios. Bellow are a selection of the sketches I attempted to create using the ideas put forward by the group.


I am currently still deciding on how I wish to continue approaching the final design, as so far the most notable ideas I had were found on the third page shown, which consists of a globe structure within the center as the “pod” and large, waving buildings (with green roofing and solar panels) making up the classrooms around it.

At this point in the project I am starting to feel a little more valid within the group namely due to having such a proactive role, as well as being able to come forward with new ideas. As such, I am starting to become a bit more confident in my own understanding of the tasks and feel at ease knowing what I must now do.

Project X (Education) – Planning Session

With our group and main topic being given to us, our team (consisting of me, Sam, Rob, Emily and Jake) have begun to offer up any ideas to one another in order to form possible plans as to what we can use for the public display.

During our discussion, a small few ideas came up for how we could depict sustainability within education, namely in the forms of a building/department within schools. These ideas eventually formed together to create our main idea of what we are currently calling the “Eco/Echo-Pod” project, a plan to create place within or outside of schools that will allow individuals of all subjects and age groups to communicate and work along side  each other to achieve larger goals, or simply increase their life skills for the future.

This learning centre will mainly be used however to educate its students to use sustainable practices to urge them to make beneficial choices for their community on a daily basis, such as not wasting materials and trying to grow your own food. One of the ways in how this food topic could be educated to students is to create an outside area to the building with both a seating area for students to relax, as well as a small vegetable patch where those with spare time could care and grow ingredients for class meals.

We believe that this addition/change within the learning system will help not only encourage more individuals to make a better, more sustainable future, but also show them the importance and benefits of teamwork and how the skills of different subjects can lead to greater achievements.

To efficiently complete this project with the time we have been given, the group has agreed to each work individual parts for the display, with Rob and Emily focusing on photography and logo design, Sam putting her efforts towards the information texts and feedback sheets, and finally me and Jake have been asked to create the remaining illustrative designs. Jake will be designing speech bubbles to act as frames for the information while I will be designing the Echo Pod itself.

I am rather confident with this method of work as well as the task I have been selected to work on, as it fits fairly well into my chosen subject of illustration and may other some new experience into architectural design and style techniques for future projects, as this somewhat relates to my previous APP project wherein I learnt more about perspective. Either way, with an idea chosen I can begin to work with some piece at mind, as until now, I have been feeling a little bit left behind within the group due to my inability to come up with ideas. Despite this, Sam (our leader figure) as well as the other group members have been patient and supportive of my efforts. I feel pretty glad to be in this group because of the acceptance.