[blog #8] changes in self as a designer

Collaborating, taking on board feedback and understanding how to think like a designer through understanding what the consumer wants is imperative to be successful in designing experiences.


Collaborating is said to be a vital tool in design. It is important for the growth of your design in the way of:

  • Self-awareness: allows myself as a designer to articulate my weaknesses and strengths, allowing me to understand how I can contribute in the group for further collaborations and charrettes
  • Scale: effective problem solving happens when a combination of experience, finances, talents and infrastructure happens. This increases the presentation as a whole
  • Creative Abrasion: Leveraging the differences between team mates can allow myself as a designer to better myself and understand how to work effectively within the group
  • Take the long view: Understanding perceived failures is important to take on board. As a designer it is imperative to understand that although the initial project may fail, the team may still be salvageable
  • Learn, learn, and learn some more: collaborating allows designers to optimise the capacity of your associates, extending yourself and the project past its comfort zone and pushes the boundaries (McDonald, 2014)Group of business people assembling jigsaw puzzle

In real life scenarios as designers, the disconnect of collaboration does not just stop in the designing team. It is vital to understand that within a business, different departments of a business need to collaborate to be on the same page with a project. (Nixon, 2013)

As a designer, it is important to understand that collaborating within a team can help boost the overall design you are putting across to the clientele. Without collaboration projects can be within your own personal skills, whereas with mass contribution, the project can be complex yet work smoothly.


Feedback can be both good and bad. Most people characterise feedback as “affirmative” or “constructive”; “positive” or “negative”. This changes the perception of feedback in a way that the information delivered is either a success or failure.feedback

Feedback provided from the mini-charrette, meeting with Jaz Choi, and charrette was insightful. Although there was both positive and negative feedback, it was effective feedback. It is important that when receiving and giving advice, the advice given needs to have reasoning and sometimes a suggestion as to how it can be improved or why is it a positive attribute. (Gottlieb, 2013)

As a designer, it is important to take on board feedback. It is human nature to become defensive over your own work. However, taking on board criticism is a vital tool to become a successful designer. A designer needs to understand how different clients and consumers can interpret a design and how this may not work for all people. (McLaren Coaching, 2016)

A learning curb for me was to understand that feedback is there to help your design be improved or to assist your further designs. Positive feedback helped me understand what the strong attributes to the design were and given suggestions to how this worked well allowed me to understand how to work effectively on future designs to come.

Understanding what people want

Throughout the project, previous tasks assigned weekly allowed me to understand how designers need to understand how consumers and people interact with the environment. The way in which we act and interact with objects, the environment and people around us is affected through our upbringing, culture and what we know to be the social norm.

Research has shown that the way in which our parents have raised us is reflected in the way we perceive our surrounding environment. The child-parent relationship has a major impact on a child’s development. Depending on how you were raised, the way someone interacts with an object can vary, some examples are:

  • Bread can be stored in the fridge, freezer or cupboard
  • Clothing hung on the clothes line or put in the dryer
  • Butter stored in the fridge or cupboard


It is important that as a designer, we understand that not everyone has the exact same actions and thought process as we do. What we may think to be normal, others may think this a completely different way of approaching a particular process. It is vital not to stereotype and still understand that not everybody is the same. (Kelsey, 2016)

So how has this changed me as a designer

Throughout this learning experience, it is clear that I need to understand how to work effectively within a team, understand feedback to help better future projects and recognise that through different upbringings and cultural influences, the way in which an individual interacts within an environment differs.


A Clean Design. (2013). Designing Great Feedback Loops. Retrieved from www.acleandesign.com/2013/05/designing-great-feedback-loops/

Gottlieb, A. (2013). 12 Techniques for Giving Criticism and Feedback so that People Can Hear It without Getting Defensive. Retrieved from www.psychologylounge.com/2013/05/13/12-techniques-for-giving-criticism-and-feedback-so-that-people-can-hear-it-without-getting-defensive/

Kelsey, M. (2016). The importance of design and marketing collaboration – InVision Blog. Retrieved from http://blog.invisionapp.com/design-marketing-collaboration/

McDonald, S. (2014). Explainer: how we understand people and why it’s important. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/explainer-how-we-understand-people-and-why-its-important-26897

McLaren Coaching. (2016). Is Feedback Good or Bad? Retrieved from www.mclarencoaching.com/is-feedback-good-or-bad/

Nixon, N. (2013). 5 Reasons Why Collaboration Is Essential in Today’s Business Environment. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/natalie-nixon/5-reasons-why-collaboration-is-essential-in-today-s-business-environment.html

Patterson, M. (2016). Collaboration Key to Strengthening the Workforce. Retrieved from evolllution.com/opinions/audio-collaboration-key-strengthening-workforce/

Sinscorse. (2013). parents smoking habbit. | My Blog. Retrieved from https://sincorleoneme.wordpress.com/tag/parents-smoking-habbit/


[blog #7] feedback

The Brief

business man shrug

The mini-charrette addressed how we, as designers, can create an experience through a product/service that will make the time period between receiving your acceptance letter and orientation a meaningful time rather than a time where nothing occurs.



The charrette brief however is slightly altered. The brief is as follow:

“…the current approach to the first year experience in CIF remains similar to those in other faculties and universities. Thus we seek new ways to further enrich and improve the first year experience in CIF that take advantage of the unique opportunities it has…”



Smartphone apps infographics

A key underlying theme of the mini charrettes was the idea of an app. Although each idea varied from one another, it was clear that this was a security blanket for many of the presentations.

As a team, we decided that we should think outside of the box and create a product/service that is original and creates a unique experience for the user.

We individually brainstormed and came up with individual ideas before we collaborated with each other. These ideas were: a box with a symbolic item within to share with the cohort, an exhibition specifically for first year students, an app letting you know of special events specific to the CIF, our original app idea with improvements, and a room similar to a “seniors room” for CIF students to study and collaborate in.box

After sharing and discussing with the group, it was clear that the idea of the box was unique and an experience that can allow people to come together in a way that is easy and not forced.

We came together as a group to further develop the idea. The collaboration helped in a way that:

  • Group members thought about questions the audience would ask helping improve the service
  • We discussed the practicality of making “bulky” boxes, this is where the idea of having flat packs was given
  • Spoke about how this is reinforced and how everyone has to contribute

Through group discussion, this helped refine the idea and develop a service that creates an experience where everyone is involved.

Feedback Time


Once presented to Jaz Choi, it was clear that the service we were providing, although was an original and clever idea, needed something more to make this experience not just stop at the stage of: giving and receiving the box.

The whole point of this brief is to create an experience that allows people to make connections and community and can be carried through their university learning experience.

Brainstorming take two

Once again, the group individually thought of ideas of how we can improve the service and product to create an experience that will help students to engage in learning and create important connections vital for design as it is common to collaborate throughout their career.

The following list are the suggestions made to improve this experience:

  • First year exhibition showcasing their own individual work
  • A continuation of the memento boxes (having weekly tasks where the boxes are distributed through the cohort, similar to a “pen pal”)
  • Creating a workshop where students make something out of the item they receive


Through Google Hangouts, phone calls, Facebook group inbox and meetups, the group was able to discuss the ideas we had. The first and third dot point seemed to gain a lot of attention and through discussion, we combined the two ideas. This is where we create an experience where:

  • Student receives ID and flat pack box
  • Student reads instructions to flat pack box and makes box
  • Student finds and item important to them, places item in box, and writes three key words in which this item means to them
  • Student signs up to particular tutorial/workshop to exchange and receive a box
  • Student has tools and crafts to create an art piece that contains the received memento
  • Student uploads image to social media, hash tagging the provided links
  • Students pins art work to the exhibition at The Block
  • Student receives a piece of string to attach their work created to their own memento found in another’s work


Within the group, it was very difficult to be able to collaborate and meet up with one another due to outside commitments like that of work, social events and other tutorial/lecture schedules.

Studies have shown that through using social media in the workplace for communication, it is a vital tool to be able to allow all team members to be informed. (Seo Chat, 205) By having a place where people can refer back to, rather than having conversations where it is a temporary form of communication, social media is a place of archiving conversation.

groupchatGroup chats were had on Google Hangouts and individual phone calls. The conversation that was had, was then relayed into the group conversation so everyone was on the same page for the charrette.


Clip Art Best. (2014). Pictures Of Question Marks – ClipArt Best. Retrieved from http://www.clipartbest.com/pictures-of-question-marks

Corsi, S. (2015). LEWIS | Brainstorming Tips to Improve Creativity. Retrieved from http://www.teamlewis.com/us/insights/articles/brainstorming-tips-to-improve-creativity

Ebay. (2016). Wooden Boxes | eBay. Retrieved from http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/wooden-box

Martijan. (2016). Get Feedback. Retrieved from withmartijn.com/get-feedback/

Maverick. (2011). What Is Facebook Group Chat? Retrieved from http://www.tech2date.com/what-is-facebook-group-chat.html

Mobi Probe. (2013). Real-Time performance data for your mobile Apps. Retrieved from https://www.mobiprobe.com/

Seo Chat. (2015). Social Media and Society: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Retrieved from https://www.seochat.com/c/a/social/social-media-and-society-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

[blog #6] mini-charrette

“A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers.”

(The Town Paper, 2014)


“Hello, world!” – Starting at QUT

The brief assigned to each individual group centred around the notion of creating and implementing a particular product/service into QUT’s pre-orientation to help to adjust and increase engagement levels of first year CIF students.

QUT understands the significance of the transition of first year students where the university intends to provide ‘the best possible experience for new students in an environment where they are supported to take responsibility for their own learning, and to embrace an active role in succeeding to their full potential (academically and personally) as new learners in our University.’ (QUT, 2016)

confusedThe period between a FYE student accepting their course offer and the arrival for orientation at university is shown to be a key opportunity space. Instead of being mostly an inactive period of time, it is imperative this can be utilised in a way that creates a meaningful engaging time to help increase engagement within the faculty.

Group dynamics – tackling the task

In groups of 4 or 5, we were given two hours to come up with a fresh original idea for this period of time, along with creating visuals of a video and presentation slides to help increase the engagement level of the presentation.

As all four of us came from previous groups earlier on discussing the prototype of how we, prototype.pngas designers can “… best signal locations and areas to reduce student confusion and stress during orientation?” we all had different prototypes.

For the first 10-20 minutes we discussed how our previous ideas for this prototype may influence and adapt to the brief given. We all discussed the idea of how it was extremely difficult to enroll into our degree once we accepted our QTAC preference. It is clear that this process can cause stress and confusion for first year students, where in some cases, students find it too hard to enroll and end up not actually completing the process and not going to university. (The Good Universities Guide, 2015)

Once we altered, improved and adapted the particular idea of an app, we came up with a foundation of what we thought was a helpful tool to help students become less stressed and confused and become more comfortable and confident entering into their first year of university. The app was to be a tool to help assist students in the process of applying for university and a step-by-step instruction list of how to do so.

Due to lack of time provided, we thought it was best to split up the tasks within the group. The tasks were as follow:

  • Research: Zoe Keck and Olivia Gec
  • Video: myself, starring Zoe Keck and Olivia Gec
  • Logo and presentation: Noviyanti Dyiyaan Wulundari and Reuben Mergard

tasksAlthough this was a clever way to distribute tasks, it is clear that members of the group were unsure of how the other aspects of the presentation would come together and communication was lost. This is important to take note for the future charrette and how as a team, it is important to still delegate tasks, however it is also vital to be up-to-date with all the other jobs at the same time.

Why will people like this idea?

Through previous research, it has been established that the target audience values:

  • Social life: during university, it is clear that students must balance between social life, tumblr_lpbb6vFATD1qlj18ao1_500work life, university life and sleep. Along with scheduling in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs to help sustain and healthy wellbeing. (Pitt, 2014)
  • Food: food is fundamental to life, however as food culture has expanded, as too has the complexity we are faced with today. As time goes on, as does our need to experience food and take in the atmosphere around us. It is clear that through food, experiences and social needs can be met, through the sharing of a simple need, food. (Peabody, 2016)
  • Technology: these days it is uncommon for a person to be without a tablet, mobile phone device or a piece of technology. Nearly everything is found online these days, and it is the main source of information available and easily accessible to nearly all university students. (Donley, n.d.)


  • Ease of access to vital information

With the ease of access and technology being one of the main values to first year students, the idea of creating a piece of technology which is easy to use and gives stress free access to information is quite useful for this audience.

Physics says that the path of least resistance is generally the one taken. (Sisson, n.d.) So it is obvious that having a one stop shop for all needs of a first year student signing up to university is of course a handy and worthwhile tool.

downloadIn this day and age, we balance money, social life, technology, family, friends, relationships, sleep, food, and the basic needs of a human being. (Hughes, 2014) It is without reason that of course if a simple solution was given to help first year students to easily enrol into university, it will be less daunting and less stressful.



Studies have found that stress:

  • Makes it difficult to control emotions
  • Brings out disease
  • Weakens our immune system (Krans, 2013)

It is clear that through studies like this, stress will only add to the daunting experience faced by many students. It can also decrease the exciting times ahead for university students as this first experience may affect student’s ideology of university.

So how can feedback help in future endeavours

Feedback is an imperative part of effective learning. Bellon states ‘academic feedback is more strongly and consistently related to achievement than any other teaching behaviour…this relationship is consistent regardless of grade, socioeconomic status, race, or school setting.’ (University of Reading, n.d.)

Although feedback can be positive or negative, feedback is given to help people decipher what was good and what was not so good in their idea. This helps improve and understand how future endeavors can be affected positively.



For example, our group received the following feedback:

  • Engaging introduction (asking questions to the audience)
  • Relatable video
  • Graphics were visually appealing
  • App lacked interesting factor to make people want to access

Through feedback like this, it is clear that as a team it is important to work on the marketing as to why students would want to use a service like this. Through extra research and development of the app, the idea would be improved.


Coaching 4 Teens. (2014). Why is Balance so Important. Retrieved from www.coaching4teens.org/wp-content/

Donley, M. (n.d.). Technology Influence on Education. Retrieved from http://source.southuniversity.edu/technologys-influence-on-education-76874.aspx

Hughes, T. (2014). Busy Busy Lives. Retrieved from http://www.wordconstructions.com.au/articles/general/busy.html

Krans, B. (2013). 8 Ways Stress Is More Dangerous Than You Think. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-eight-ways-stress-harms-your-health-082713#3

Medicaid Finance. (2014). Technology Trends. Retrieved from http://www.medicaidfinance.com.au/tag/technology-trends/

Peabody Museum. (2016). Big Food: Health, Culture and the Evolution of Eating. Retrieved from http://www.peabody.yale.edu/exhibits/big-food-health-culture-and-evolution-eating

Pitt, M. (2014). Balance your social and academic life at university – Telegraph. Retrieved from  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/11100038/Balance-your-social-and-academic-life-at-university.html

Sisson, M. (n.d.). Why Taking the Easy Way Out Isn’t Always a Bad Choice | Mark’s Daily Apple. Retrieved from http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-humans-like-taking-the-easy-way-out/#axzz49HDUKJRg

Stack Exchange. (2012). Prototyping Processes in Different Software Development Methodologies. Retrieved from http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/46644/prototyping-processes-in-different-software-development-methodologies

The Good Universities Guide. (2015). Getting into university | Good Universities Guide. Retrieved from http://www.gooduniversitiesguide.com.au/Latest-news/Getting-into-university#.V0AUCPl97IU

The Student Blogger. (2013). University league tables: relevant for decision making or just a load of old tosh? Retrieved from http://thestudentblogger.co.uk/featured/university-league-tables-relevant-decision-making-just-load-old-tosh/

The Town Paper. (2014). What is a Charrette? Retrieved from http://www.tndtownpaper.com/what_is_charrette.htm

University of Reading. (n.d.). Why is feedback important? – University of Reading. Retrieved from https://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/engageinfeedback/Whyisfeedbackimportant/efb-WhyIsFeedbackImportant.aspx

[blog #5] orientation prototype

How might we make the orientation experience more engaging and effective? A question posed to many people, yet as first year students, orientation can come across unimportant, lacklustre and a waste of time, where for some however, orientation is a time to receive “freebies”.

orientationNonetheless orientation is designed to create an experience for students, in particular first year students, to understand and see how university works and what is expected from you to have a worth while learning experience.

As a general consensus orientation “is a great opportunity to meet your fellow students, get to know your support staff, and find your way around campus” (QUT, 2016)

So this poses the question, how might we, as designers, make the orientation experience more engaging and effective?

What is important to students?

When asked how to make orientation engaging and effective, is it imperative to understand what is important to a student starting out at university. My colleagues and I brainstormed and came up with a list that we believe best depicts the large majority of first year students, along with understanding why this is vital for this target audience. This includes:tumblr_lpbb6vFATD1qlj18ao1_500

  • Social life: during university, it is clear that students must balance between social life, work life, university life and sleep. Along with scheduling in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs to help sustain and healthy wellbeing. (Pitt, 2014)
  • Food: food is fundamental to life, however as food culture has expanded, as too has the complexity we are faced with today. As time goes on, as does our need to experience food and take in the atmosphere around us. It is clear that through food, experiences and social needs can be met, through the sharing of a simple need, food. (Peabody, 2016)
  • Technology: these days it is uncommon for a person to be without a tablet, mobile phone device or a piece of technology. Nearly everything is found online these days, and it is the main source of information available and easily accessible to nearly all university students. (Donley, n.d.)techn-01
  • Ease of access to vital information

After understanding the importance of the above list, we discussed and pin pointed how the basic thoughtless acts can correlate with first year students. Taking from a task set earlier, we understood how humans interact with the environment around us, due to the culture and upbringing we have associated ourselves with. The image below is the common interactions we found people to best follow and was most commonly seen throughout all of our research.


Ease of access to vital information VS thoughtless actsquestion

After further analysis, it was clear that we were leaning towards “ease of access to vital information”. First years, although they are inundated with notifications on university websites, it is clear that the information is so abundant it is hard to differentiate between vital information and information that is not as important for students. Therefore we came up with the simple yet well-defined question of “how might we best signal locations and areas to reduce student confusion and stress during orientation?”

It is clear that through not having direct and easy access to important information as first time university student, stress levels rise and can lead to a poor first year experience, which can ultimately be reflected in grades and further attendance to university. (Science Direct, 2016)

Brainstorming time

We found that the Hit Matrix was the best form of brainstorming to help my colleagues and I come up with a solution and design to help rectify this issue of confusion during O-Week. As can be seen below, we placed the common thoughtless acts under the appropriate axis and eliminated the “solutions” we found to be unimportant to the issue at hand.


Solution prototype

Once we narrowed down the solutions, an overlying solution of ease of access through colour coding was evident. As a group, we came up with:brainstorm3.jpg

  • Colour coding the ground to show a real life map of how to get to the your faculties buildings (for example for creative industries, there would be pink footprints that direct you to D-Block and F-Block etc)
  • Faculty “Help” Members would wear the specific colour associated to the faculty
  • There would be maps pinned to seats
  • For the Gardens Point campus there will be hand out maps at the bottom of the Goodwill Bridge and entrance from the city (main entrances to the campus) allowing people to see the faculty building footprints to help students locate where they need to be

How this would have been helpful for me

As have been a first-year student myself previously, it would have been extremely helpful to have easy access to straight forward information like this. I found orientation to be extremely stressful and thus I did not spend much time on campus as I felt uneasy about the whole process. I believe if you made the transition of moving into university easier through helping students locate where they need to be on campus, students will find it easier to engage in university and not feel stressed about the whole experience and have more sense of community.


Clayton. (2013). Orientation – International Student Services – Clayton State University. Retrieved from http://www.clayton.edu/international-student-services/orientation

Donley, M. (n.d.). Technology Influence on Education. Retrieved from http://source.southuniversity.edu/technologys-influence-on-education-76874.aspx

Medicaid Finance. (2014). Technology Trends. Retrieved from http://www.medicaidfinance.com.au/tag/technology-trends/

Peabody Museum. (2016). Big Food: Health, Culture and the Evolution of Eating. Retrieved from http://www.peabody.yale.edu/exhibits/big-food-health-culture-and-evolution-eating

Pitt, M. (2014). Balance your social and academic life at university – Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/11100038/Balance-your-social-and-academic-life-at-university.html

QUT. (2016). QUT – Student support and orientation. Retrieved from https://www.qut.edu.au/international/student-support-and-orientation

Science Direct. (2015). Adaptation and Stress for the First Year University Students. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813009518

Why This Energy Drink Poster Targeting College Students Is Red Bull$#! (2013). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-ketchen-lipson/red-bull-why-college-stud_b_8118916.html







[blog #4] thoughtless acts

Actions speak louder than words

An action? What is that? It is a verb, yes… But why do we “action” or let’s say behave the way we do? Through the way we have been raised culturally and through our very own upbringing it is clear we have been programmed in a way that our actions reflect the society we live in. (Mueller, 2015)

Action is described as…

“The process or state of acting or of being active” (Dictionary.com, 2014)

So we now know what an action is, but what is considered a thoughtless act? Jaz Choi mentions seven key acts that make up what she has labelled “Thoughtless Acts”. These are:

  • Reacting: we interact automatically with objects and spaces that we encounter
  • Responding: some qualities and features prompt us to behave in particular ways
  • Co-opting: we make use of opportunities present in our immediate surroundings
  • Exploiting: we take advantage of physical and mechanical qualities we understand
  • Adapting: we alter the purpose or context of things to meet our objectives
  • Conforming: we learn patterns of behaviour from others in our social and cultural group
  • Signaling: we convey messages and prompts to ourselves and other people

(Choi, 2016)

My own little piece of paradise

When asked to “go to a place you used to hang out a lot before uni and/or still hang out”, the first place that popped to mind was the waterfront directly across the road to me. Not only did I grow up here, playing in the sand and going for adventures with my neighbours back in the day, this is still a place I visit to get away from uni work or just to relax and reflect on the week that’s been.

It only made sense that this was the place I would choose to have a broader understanding of the acts that occur on this boardwalk.






Through observing the environment around the waterfront, it is clear that there are many objects and spaces that we, as the user, interact and have thoughtless acts towards. The first image depicts the notion that we automatically without conscious thought prefer to walk on smooth surfaces whilst avoiding the rough rigid surface of the pebbles. Just like Choi demonstrated the idea of utilising other objects to interact with such as tying your shoe lace on top of a bench, the staircase handrail is busily used for stretching along this path as it is a popular route for walks/runs and exercise in general.



Along the waterfront it is not uncommon to see people enjoying a few beers and a picnic/get together on the beach side. With that being said, it is also not surprising to find litter, specifically glass, meshed in and around the rocks. It is convenient for the user, although not environmentally friendly, to leave bottles to ground down and become a part of the habitat. The image on the right demonstrates how the users of the environment over time have utilised this concrete section as an entry/exit point to the beach. Through the trail marks along with the qualities of wear and tear on the concrete, grass and rocks, it becomes apparent to the individual that it can be utilised as a track.



In this environment, many opportunities are available for the user. For example, the first image depicts that idea of taking water from a tap to drink from. Although its specific purpose is not as a water fountain, but a foot wash station to take off the sand from the beach, it can be utilised to fulfil many needs associated with water. The stairs in the second image have the primary purpose of allowing the user to go from Destination A to Destination B, however this staircase is a popular exercise loop. Where it is typical for many individuals to do stair runs as part of their exercise for the day.



Within this environment, although it may appear to have a tyre, chair and metal fencing built around the tree, this environment replicates a place for shelter and play for the user. Although in the first image it may appear to be just a chain and a tyre, when you combine both the objects, we take the opportunity and the advantage to create something we understand to be a swing contraption. However in the second image, through the suspension from the tree, the metal fencing appears to allow the user to sit and relax, creating an enclosure for the individual. It is interesting to see how simple recycled objects can create both enjoyment and comfort for the individual user.



By simply adding wooden planks to replicate a foot laddet to help the user walk up the trunk, we have altered the context of the tree. It has been adapted in a way to meet the objective of climbing the tree in a simple manner, along with allowing the user to recognise what the purpose of the environment is. This waterfront is a popular walk for both owner and their dog. Although there is no specific facility in place for dogs to drink, through simply adapting the water tap with a plastic container, we alter the purpose of the water meter to meet the objective of providing water for a dog.



Simple acts that happen day to day can be likened to conforming to society. Throughout my walk along the water, little acts that I, myself would do were clearly influenced by both the culture and upbringing I have had. Simple acts like picking flowers, feeding the birds left over scraps and drawing in the sand are actioned on a regular basis. These are known to be socially acceptable and bring joy to the individual taking place in these actions.



Through utilising fences in both images, it is apparent that they do not block off the whole area. Through recognising the danger itself, many people see that this is more of a warning that is conveyed through the use of temporary fencing. In the second image in particular, the users of this environment navigate themselves around the drain, rather than walk straight across it.

Why we do what we do?

As users of the environment, we tend to act a particular way and treat the environment in the manner we do as we have been brought up a particular way. These thoughtless acts are triggered through the conditions in which we deem socially acceptable and normal in our society. (Vognar, 2012)

So how does this affect design? As designers we need to understand how users react to particular things, not just the obvious ways in which someone utilises a particular object but why do we exploit it the way we do? For example, let’s take a particular item like baking soda. Baking soda has several different uses for example:baking-soda-beauty-benefits-1000

  • Cleaning agent
  • Cooking agent
  • Cosmetic agent

Although the primary use is of course for cooking purposes, through witnessing and seeing how society has utilised baking soda in a way that it was not intended for, we thoughtlessly use baking soda for more than one means. (Breyer, 2016)

It is imperative that as designers, we understand and delve deeper into user reactions and how they relate to the environment around them to create designs that adapt and work for all users of the planet. (Patterson, 2014)


Breyer, M. (2016). 51 Fantastic Uses For Baking Soda | Care2 Healthy Living. Retrieved from http://www.care2.com/greenliving/51-fantastic-uses-for-baking-soda.html

Dictionary.com. (2014). Action | Define Action at Dictionary.com. Retrieved fromhttp://www.dictionary.com/browse/action?o=0

Mueller, S. (2015). The Importance of Reflecting one’s Actions. Retrieved fromhttp://www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/2011/the-importance-of-reflecting-ones-actions/

Patterson, S. (2014). How Do Humans Affect the Environment? Retrieved fromhttp://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/How_Do_Humans_Affect_the_Environment

Top Ten Home Remedies. (2013). 10 Benefits of Baking Soda for Hair, Skin and Body | Top 10 Home Remedies. Retrieved fromhttp://www.top10homeremedies.com/kitchen-ingredients/10-benefits-of-baking-soda-for-hair-skin-and-body.html

Vognar, D. (2012). How Important Is Culture in Shaping Our Behavior? Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-vognar/culture-influence-politics-life-_b_1724750.html

[Blog #3] inspiring designers at work

Quick break down

kg_coffeeMapIt is clear that the FYE speech delivered by Ruth Bridgstock had a lot of relevance with my colleagues. Coming into university is daunting due to the lack of information and direction given, which is a general consensus with many, if not all first year students. (Kift, 2015)

With particular reference to the Kelvin Grove campus, the layout is quite spread out and hard to navigate for a first year student. This opened up discussion, talking about key problems that many people had, even simply discussing census date and the amenities fee. Through simple conversation, this was easily rectified, which proves that from my previous blog, communication is key to be able to have a successful first year at university. (Duke University, 2015)

Following on from the discussion, a task was assigned to my colleagues and I to research a given designer which revolved around Interactive and Visual Design. In groups of 3-4 we worked together to create a presentation, discussing why our designer was the best equipped for redesigning “The Edge”, known as a place for the Creative Industries of Brisbane to visit and help get involved in this lifestyle.

Sharing Tasks

Within the group we decided that for the first 10 minutes we would research Paula Schers. We broke the research down into three parts, which were:

  • Team member 1 (me): background, career, education
  • Team member 2: major events
  • Team member 3: major designs

1-group-dynamicsOnce we completed the research we collaborated to create a script and a PowerPoint to present to the class. Like all groups, it is clear that roles are subconsciously asserted to one another. My role in this activity was more of a group leader, where I combined all the ideas we had into one script along with helping to match the presentation to the script. The two girls I worked with helped me gather the information onto one piece of paper in which I was elected to speak in front of everyone. Due to being a quiet speaker, I decided to type out the script and read it straight from my phone unlike my peers who were more confident speakers and read from dot points. With what felt like a big group of people I am quite proud of taking the initiative of speaking and although it wasn’t as confident and well thought out as other presentations, I still feel accomplished.

So who is Paula Scher?

paula-scher-portrait-designboomJust like it is important to understand the history of design, it is also imperative to appreciate how designers have sculptured the way in which we design. (Design is History, 2016) To be able to take inspiration from previous works of designers into your own personal flair can allow an original spin on your works. Through viewing a designer’s work, it allows you to see how it can be altered in a way that can be adaptable along with understanding where they went wrong and what they did well. (Design History Society, 2014)

Paula Scher throughout her career has shown to be easily adaptable to all demographics through the work that she has produced. Her main style revolves around the notion of street art, through the use of typography her work has been created in a way that removes trends and creates timeless pieces. (Design Boom, 2013) This is visually appealing to the youth of Brisbane, while acknowledging the cityscape Brisbane is centred around. Her designs are authentic, however by using a street art atmosphere, it allows all demographics to have a belonging to the environment as everyone has a youth and it is an everlasting piece. (Dunne, 2015)


It’s sandwich time again!

So with this in mind and referring back to my “blog 1 {what is design}” it is clear that she is very distinctive in all her designs, just like she would be very distinctive in her sandwich. The following ingredients would describe Scher as a sandwich:

  • Bread = foundation of self                          Italian Herbs and Cheese
  • Meat = enhances persona                           Meatball Marinara
  • Salads = individuality                                   Everything
  • Sauces = enhances individuality               Aioli

Now why would Paula Scher be a meatball sub with all salad and aioli on an Italian herb and cheese roll? Well simple, it’s distinctive! A pungent roll which would clearly leave the taste of herbs and spices, just like her designs, always leaving a feeling of youth which connects in the viewer. Her designs are bold and somewhat “meaty” in the way that the colours and thickness of lines are prevalent, thus this is represented through the meatball marinara. (Dunne, 2015) Through her design, she always shows a quirky flair which separates one design from another, thus all the salads were chosen due to her always having a different take on the project. This is correlated to the aioli sauce due to the fact it’s not an ordinary mayonnaise, it always has a kick to it, which is likened to her designs.


AIGA. (2001). AIGA | 2001 AIGA Medalist: Paula Scher. Retrieved fromhttp://www.aiga.org/medalist-paulascher/

America Pink. (2013). Group dynamics. Retrieved from http://america.pink/group-dynamics_1809922.html

An, K. (2015). How to stay above the campus coffee game | Student Sharehouse. Retrieved from https://blogs.qut.edu.au/student-sharehouse/2015/09/03/how-to-stay-above-the-campus-coffee-game/

Design Boom. (2013). paula scher interview. Retrieved fromhttp://www.designboom.com/design/paula-scher-interview/

Design History Society. (2014). Design History Society. Retrieved fromhttp://www.designhistorysociety.org/

Design is History. (2016). Home : Design Is History. Retrieved fromhttp://www.designishistory.com/

Duke University. (2015). Common First-Year Challenges | Duke Student Affairs. Retrieved from https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/parents/first-year-parents/common-first-year-challenges

Dunne, P. (2015). Graphic Designer Paula Scher: “I Figured Out Every Identity I’ve Ever Done In A Taxicab” | Co.Design | business + design. Retrieved fromhttp://www.fastcodesign.com/3043997/graphic-designer-paula-scher-i-figured-out-every-identity-ive-ever-done-in-a-taxicab

Kift, L. (2015). Student success: why first year at uni is a make-or-break experience. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/student-success-why-first-year-at-uni-is-a-make-or-break-experience-21465

[Blog #2] make it or break it

Type A Freshman - changed courses four times, got a job, organized a protest, quit the job, plans to take second semester abroad.To be a first year student… It can be a daunting time for us all however it is also an exciting time. Whether you are fresh out of school, finishing a gap year or a mature age student; every single university student has gone through a first year experience, whether that be good or bad.

Despite all first-years having a diverse background, through different social and academic skills, and not to mention different cultures and circumstances, the common denominator is that they all have come to learn at university. (Kift, 2015)

The QUT Experience


Ruth Bridgstock, a lecturer in the Creative Industries faculty at QUT has discussed the importance of having a good FYE (first year experience) throughout any faculty on campus. Bridgstock discusses many important facets surrounding FYE, which can be seen in the mind map above.

Throughout her discussion, she has scoped out both the challenges/negatives and positives that QUT has in place with particular emphasis on the Creative Industries faculty.


According to QUT statistics, it is clear that the attrition rate of both Bachelor of Creative Industries and Bachelor of Design has skyrocketed compared to the Ex-QUT Attrition. With that being said, a lack of engagement and community along with a lack of provision of student support and information the major leading causes to the high attrition rate. (Bridgstock, 2016)

thoughtsStarting out as a “first year” in 2015, it is apparent to see how the negatives can easily outweigh the positives in the creative design industry. Through lack of communication between tutors, lecturers and students along with large tutorial groups, it made the engagement on campus quite difficult. To not only have lack of communication between all parties, but to wrap my head around organising assessment, location of classes, transport, campus location and timing can be extremely overwhelming and confusing for a first year student. Being made aware of programs and services provided by CIF Student Support and CI Network Help Support,  would have helped encourage both the participation and adjustment I needed to have in first year university. (Bridgstock, 2016)


Bridgstock mentioned several services in place which allows students to help adjust and understand “Uni Life”. I found it astonishing that during my own experience in first year at university I was not fully aware of two of these programs that are created to help adapt to university. Although briefly introduced to the CIF Student Support, I did not fully understand the services they can provide for Creative Industry students. The CI Network Help Support was not known to me until introduced to the service through Bridgstock, which would have been quite effective in my first year studies. It is obvious that, although these programs would help adjust and assist first year students, they are not highly known and should be more intensively communicated to all courses within the Creative Industry faculty.

Opening my eyes to bigger and greater things…

Let’s talk DEB101 Design Camp… With it being listed as a positive with engagement and community within the university, I would have to agree wholeheartedly with this notion. Not only does the camp allow you to work and collaborate with all majors in the design faculty, but it also allows you to see what all the majors offer. Being a first year Interior Design student, I was not sure whether or not it was the right choice for me. However, through discussion with other students from other majors, it helped broaden my horizons on the learning paths I can go down. It was this camp that allowed me to understand what IVD was about and it helped shape where I was going in my second year with my studies. If it weren’t for this camp, I would have deferred University in second year as I was not sure of what other options were out there for me due to lack of communication through not being fully aware of the CI Network Help Support and CIF Student Support.

So what needs to be improved?

A First Year Experience is detrimental to success at university. (Duke University, 2015) Through the statistics shown by QUT, it is apparent there is a problem with participation in tutorials and lectures. From the perspective of having been a first year myself, I can see how easy it is to become overwhelmed due to the lack of information and communication in regards to both assessment and help which can be offered. I believe that through discussing this and implementing both CI Network Help Support and CIF Student Support not only at Orientation but through email, tutorials and lectures at the beginning of the semester, first year students would more easily be able to adapt into the regime the course requires to be successful.


Armano. (2015). Thought Bubbles. Retrieved fromhttp://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2007/02/

Bridgstock, R. (2016). First Year Experience [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-6273923-dt-content-rid-5846629_1/courses/DXB101_16se1/FYE%20lecture%201803.pdf

Duke University. (2015). Common First-Year Challenges | Duke Student Affairs. Retrieved from https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/parents/first-year-parents/common-first-year-challenges

First Year Cartoons and Comics – funny pictures from CartoonStock. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/f/first_year.asp

Jensen, H. (2016). Text 2 Mind Map – Simple mind mapping online. Retrieved fromhttps://www.text2mindmap.com/

Kift, L. (2015). Student success: why first year at uni is a make-or-break experience. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/student-success-why-first-year-at-uni-is-a-make-or-break-experience-21465


[Blog #1] what is design

Design? What’s that?

Design is…

“The way that something is made so that it works in a certain way or has certain appearance.” (Macmillan dictionary, 2015)

So when you think of the word design, what comes to your mind? In the mind of a designer, let’s talk design… What is design? Who can design? Why does design even exist? Design, put simply, is the process in which something has been made to have a particular function and/or form to achieve a certain purpose. Through a designer’s individuality, flair and creativity, a person’s particular style is replicated throughout their work they produce to fulfill the client’s needs and wants. One of the key essential skills for any designer to have is that of visual ideation and creativity. (Rauch, 2014)


It’s what fuels a designer’s passion to create new and exciting designs. People often associate creative thinking by “thinking outside the box”, however let’s actually think about what it is like to physically be inside a box… it stops you from exploring new areas due to being confined by a box itself which can be likened to design if you were to not allow your creative juices to flow. (Boyd, 2014)

So let’s think about creativity, yes there is freedom of choice and yes there are limitless possibilities, however with this comes the task of being able to problem solve and be flexible for the task at hand. Both internal and external factors will create invisible borders to the design at work.

Teamwork is what makes the wheel go round!

Teamwork is defined as the…

“Philosophy of job design in which employees are viewed as members of interdependent teams instead of as individual workers.” (“What is team building?,” 2016)

Team building and communication plays one of the most important roles within any industry. In a team it is important to understand that all members’ opinions should be respected and heard to help reiterate and ideate the appropriate response to the task at hand. As a general consensus, all conversation had relative meaning to the topic, which helped combine the meaning and idea behind design to become stronger and more direct. (Kanu Korporate, 2014) Within any group of people, you have both the introverts and the extroverts. It was clear that as the groups were expanding, the introverts of the group became dormant as the extroverts became more prevalent.(“What is team building?,” 2016)


I found that as the group became larger in numbers, the less confident I became to speak in the group due to being quite reserved. I have always found public speaking one of my key weaknesses however through initiating conversation as a weekly practice this will help build confidence.


“Create your sandwich”

With creativity comes outlandish tasks, thus the “Create your sandwich” was quite fitting. Today we were introduced to an activity where we “speed dated” amongst other colleagues, telling them what skills we were good at, bad at and what we were interested in. It is clear that throughout my studies I have always found it difficult in expressing my ideas and thoughts visually, whether that be on computer or on paper. This was replicated through the tattoo that representattoots me.

This tattoo represented the idea that although I am sparked by a certain stimulant, many thoughts are triggered, however they are only thoughts, without any action to the task.

To approach such a task that allowed me to create a sandwich that represented myself, it was clear that I had to brainstorm what I was interested in.

The key elements which sparked the idea of my sandwich came from freedom, indecisiveness and open mindedness. This is where the idea of a “Subway” sandwich came to mind. Although the toppings you can choose are always available, you can choose a different option every time. This is likened to me in a sense that I always have different paths I can choose however it is up to me which one I would select. Freedom of expression allows me to choose my own destiny which was allowed due to both my upbringing along with the culture I am surrounded by. This can be likened to the way I design in the way that I have the choice of creating whatever design I am interested in. When it comes to a “Subway” sandwich there are several layers requiring choice, including:

  • Bread = foundation of self
  • Meat = enhances persona
  • Salads = individuality
  • Sauces = enhances individuality, the “icing on the cake”


When I think of an occupation such as a lawyer, I perceive they would choose a subway with multigrain bread, deli meats, basic salad and mayonnaise. This comes to mind due to the reasoning that when I picture a lawyer they are straight up and down, black and white and what you see is what you get. As of late, I would describe myself as a subway with plain white bread, teriyaki chicken, all salad with extra jalapenos and chipotle sauce. Now why would I say that this best describes me in a sandwich? It is because the designs I have produced lately have had a mixture of Eastern influence along with an edge that makes it unique to me.

It is clear that when it comes to design, there is never the same solution to a problem just like there is never one path my life can lead. From day to day my tastes change, just like design changes constantly due to many factors. You always have to go with the flow and be open to change.


Boyd, D. (2014). Thinking Outside the Box: A Misguided Idea | Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-the-box/201402/thinking-outside-the-box-misguided-idea

Fast Food Menu Price. (2013). Subway Menu Prices – Fast food Menu Price. Retrieved from https://fastfoodmenuprice.com/subway-menu-prices/

Kanu Korporate. (2014). Team Building and Team Development Programs. Retrieved from http://www.kanukapersaustralia.com/team-building-and-team-development-programs

Macmillan dictionary. (2015). design definition and synonyms. Retrieved fromhttp://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/design_1

Rauch, J. (2014). 8 Essential Skills for Every Graphic Designer’s Toolkit | SkilledUp. Retrieved from http://www.skilledup.com/articles/8-essential-skills-every-graphic-designer

Ursula. (2014). Introverts vs Extroverts. Retrieved fromhttps://anupturnedsoul.files.wordpress.com

What is team building? (2016). Retrieved fromhttp://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/team-building.html