For the first weeks of this module we are given a mix of quick fire mini briefs. These are typically received via email and cryptic in nature. we are to work in small teams, changing weekly, to come up with and present a design solution within a typical time restraint of four hours.
This helps develop teamwork, quick fire creative skills and alternative ways of exploring design solutions. These mini briefs also help us begin to explore what kind of designer we aim to be and to widen our concept thinking towards our final degree showcase.
Mini Brief 1.
Each group receive a different SCAM email. We are to consider the contents of the scam and contemplate how the scammers could gain access to personal information to defraud unsuspecting victims without the use of email. The tone and poor spelling are to be conveyed in the solution.
I am Mrs. Mariam Abacha, the widow of Sani Abacha the Late Nigerian Head of State. I am presently in distress and under house arrest while my son Mohammed is undergoing trial in Lagos and Abuja though he has just been granted bail under the condition that my family refunds to the Federal Government some amount of money. The government has frozen all the family account and auctioned all our properties. Refer to this website about my husband’s loot and you will understand what I mean.
To save the family from total bankruptcy I have managed to ship through an undercover courier company, the sum of US6.5, 000,000.00. kept by my late husband. The money was disguised to beat the Nigerian Security and it is currently deposited in a security company which I will disclose the name and contacts to you if I get a positive response from you. I want you to receive the money and pay into your account for the family safely. I am offering you 30% for assisting me secure this money Contact me immediately with my email address so that I can forward to you all necessary details. Endeavor to send your phone and fax numbers for easy communications. This project is not risky.
My email is
Mrs. Mariam Abacha
Our solution was to tell their story through two posters.
The first poster represents rushed and cobbled together photocopies of a secretly faxed out message from the supposed widow detained under house arrest. This is to imitate her attempt to communicate her situation to the outside world and her allies attempt to spread that message.
The second poster is to imitate someone’s attempt to support and give weight to the cause and to promote a video of the window explaining her desperation. The QR code gives direct and easy access to the video.
Both posters play to the victims feeling of sympathy and potential greed for a large reward. They also lure the victim into an immediate and easy response by giving out a contact number. It is the job of the person they call to then talk them into releasing usable personal information.
Mini Brief 2
To listen to and read the following articles and identify the problem. In response, suggest and promote a solution.
The problem identified is that Japans younger generations are putting increasing emphasis on careers and not engaging with the opposite sex. They seem progressively disinterested and place little value on establishing relationships, marriage and sex itself. The underlying cause appears deeply rooted in tradition and the constraints of their culture and expectations of behaviour. Opportunities to meet in mixed social environments seem limited and they express a lack of self-confidence, fear of rejection and an absence of skills for interacting with the opposite gender. As a result Japan’s population is rapidly decreasing, becoming an aging population. There is a sense of urgency to reverse this trend before it has a major impact on Japans economy.
With the youths increasing enthusiasm for electronic devices, gaming and virtual existence, our group proposes to use this enthusiasm to create a safe virtual 3D platform.
Much like dating apps, each user logs on and chooses or creates an anime persona. Using 3D simulated interactive technologies, each anime persona can interact with other user personas with similar interests in their local area. In this safe environment, users can feel unburdened by cultural and behavioural restraints. They are encouraged to practice and develop interacting social skills and to explore the use of them in real world situations. It is hoped that this will stimulate opportunities and interest in real physical relationships.
Mini Brief 3.
Googles launches the ability to send products back in time. We are to choose an everyday product to send back at least 50 years before it was produced. We are to promote that product in our chosen era, reflecting the materials, techniques and tone of that time. We are to avoid computer generated imagery.
Our group chose to send a battery powered Dyson vacuum cleaner back to the Victorian era. Vacuum cleaning was a new phenomenon at this time and involved an enormous steam powered contraption. This would typically be mounted on a horse drawn carriage and parked outside the premises. A tube would be fed through an open window and the house dirt sucked up by the noisy contraption outside. A small, hand held, battery operated device that was capable of doing a superb job was probably beyond their wildest imagination.
Our style was to create a miniature 3D Victorian stage setting with simple pen and ink outlines. The enormous steam powered contraption can be seen outside the window. To stand out in its setting, the only colour generated image is the modern Dyson itself. We tried to inject a sense of humour in our promotion, as seen by the portrait characterisation of Queen Victoria above the fireplace. This setting would easily sit in a shop window of the time and could inspire a styled animated advert for modern times.
I found this to be the most enjoyable mini brief to date as it appeals to my handcrafted nature and 3D creative thinking.
Mini Brief 4.
What I’m Really Thinking?: The University Art and Design Lecturer
We were to read articles from the following link:
Putting ourselves in the creative designer lecturer’s shoes, we were to write a short anecdote and create an artwork that represents what it is like to be in their shoes.
The anecdote I wrote:
What I’m really thinking. Art &Design Lecturer.
Who sees the person?
What do they think of me? Who do they think I am?
Every day I turn up, stand up in front of them and present myself. Do they listen ? Do they care? Are they really interested? seldom feels like it.
I hear the things they say like whispers in the corridors. Do they not realise I have ears, feelings and emotions also. I do my best for them but they show little appreciation. The hours of organising and structuring these sessions and box ticking, the coffee…. The COFFEE…. I NEED SO MUCH COFFEE. The management want this and that and better and better results. Performance driven. How can we improve exponentially year on year and what for? To satisfy the government, to seemingly show that THEY are doing a good job. But NO one appreciates us/ me. We are human; we have ups and downs like everyone. We have our own responsibilities and family commitments, but we turn up every day, on time and present ourselves. Squeezed from above and affronted from the class like a target on a dartboard. feel like I am slipping on a banana skins as it all begins to be just noise!!! .
It’s enough to send you crazy.
When it gets really bad I jump on-board my bumble bee and fly away…..
In response to this anecdote my individual proposed image:
As a group our image to match the anecdote was:
At the end of the session the lectures read out their own anecdote of what they are truly thinking.
This has been an interesting exercise as it does make students think about university from a lectures’ point of view. They were able to share their own views and it allowed us to be open and honest and I felt it breaks down barriers.
Perhaps a similar kind of exercise would be a beneficial icebreaker to relationships in earlier academic years.
Mini Brief 6:
Individually we were to pick and print out a single chosen image from the flicker account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/huwdw.
My chosen image was:
In response to this image as a separate exercise I was moved to write the following as my interpretation of this image:
Bound by the confines of society, I am forbidden to feel, express and behave as I truly am…. deep within. As if barred from being true to my very inner self.
So bound am I….now…. I am nothing more than a mere reflection of what is expected of me.
Hidden beneath the pain soaked bandages of time, persona subdued and individual features removed, I am no longer distinguishable from others…. and….. I am no longer seen.
I am a broken connection, a poorly functioning being, a lost entity, a passenger in a lonely vessel that pronounces,… nay, barely utters to be me.
All colour drained, my tongue muted, I am deafened and blinded.
Long do I not recognise myself.
Who has done this but society, convincing and proclaiming to protect with its’ order, and keep me safe, but cunningly eats away at my very essence and slowly slaughters me from within.
Beaten back and defeated, as if embalmed, captured whilst still alive but so dead inside, long before my own time.
I yearn to peel back those layers of dirt, that feel like they have set hard as stone over time, and allow that deeply insecure I, to feel the light, to live, to heal and to grow and dance freely with life once again.
So subdued and confined am I….
Ian Waft 14/11/2016
We were placed in groups of three. Each person placed their chosen image on the table and each given a number 1, 2 or 3. In turn, we had to individually photograph a response to an image. Person 2 responds to image 1, person 3 responds to image 2 and person 1 responds to image 3. This process was repeated twice, each person giving two responses to 2 images, an initial chosen image and one image captured on the day. No post image production was allowed. This results in three separate photographic conversations that involved three participants. The resulting visual dialogs are intriguing and produced the story board below.
The visual manifesto is a representation of things that appeal to me. I have chosen six statements that represent the future direction I wish to go in.
I have used Indesign to create the templates and laser cut these from thin birch plywood. These have been glued together to form a cube and a stand. The cube can sit in the stand on any one of its eight corners, so it can rotate and has many different angles it can be viewed from.
This manifesto is a starting point. If I were to explore this further, I would be tempted to create a number of blocks out of different materials, such as concrete, each expressing different aspects of myself as a designer. I would be intriguing to explore how these block can be used together to create and overall form.
This brief is about producing a physical printed booklet that is inspired by a collection of objects. These objects need to connect with each other so that there is a running theme.
In response to this I chose to collect discarded cans with the intention of creating patterns from the physical objects by individually cutting and reforming them in a way that reflects the design printed on the can.
This proved to be quite a task within the given timescale. Collecting the required number of discarded cans took considerably longer than anticipated. The cutting and reforming of the cans proved arduous and I felt I was not achieving the desired results. Late on in the project I chose to change tack and either photo graph or scan in the can and its design and work on the images digitally.
To complete the document I chose to bind the spreads using complementing black card.