Moving on now…

This has taken awhile to get to where it is as the first three drafts where to negative, it still might not be all that positive as it doesn’t show me in a glowing light, but I guess that’s what I have gotten from last semester a whole list of things to improve upon… better late than never tough.

Semester 1 2009:
Last semester didn’t turn out the way I hoped, I got scared along the way and then just totally lost. I didn’t know how to ask for help or how to get beyond my trust issues. I know I fell short not listening and carrying out what Soumitri said to do and although I managed to do them all in the end and there all in my book it wasn’t in time for the presentation where half our marks came from so I knew I was falling short.

Knowing how to set out achievable and realistic goals is hard as there was so much I wanted to personally gain I also feel personally behind of where I wanted to be and to where I had gotten. I ended up feeling pretty down towards the end of semester because I had fallen short from my goals. Knowing what goals to push ahead and which ones can wait is difficult as this is my last chance to do many things and there are high expectations on all my outcomes.

I find it impossible to separate design from myself as I don’t view it as a job or task I do and finish it is just the way I in which I live my life and the values I undertake, especially when the project is personal and close to you. This some times can make me feel as though I am not progressing in either and I end up feeling more stuck than if I could just switch it off and have a break from it coming back refreshed.
Some moments looking back are disappointing as I grew too scared to take the risks needed, this left me feeling stuck as I couldn’t move forward and I knew that I was missing out on some of the richness of the project. If there was such thing as a repeat I would have tried to push myself a lot further.

Strengths: Having never created a book before this was a huge challenge as books are regarded as something that you can not only get information from but also be inspired by. This has meant studying and developing my book so it was uniform and a structure spoke throughout. There where many drafts so I could communicate clearly within my work. I think my design writing skills improved greatly, along with my communication skills in photography showing what part or area I was talking about, and trying to get multiple views that I could easily show off.

Weaknesses: My greatest failure would have to be the final presentation as I was sick and just ran out of time due to poor time management skills and leaving things to the last minute. This left my project quite patchy as the research had been done I either just skimmed over it or couldn’t communicate it clearly. I also felt that I had to validate my project so much that’s all I ended up focusing on why it is a good project and has merit not just a pretty redesign, I guess this is because I felt that it needed to be done and still wasn’t a good project even at the end of the semester.

Not listening to where I should have taken my project defiantly a big weakness as I thought I knew where I could take my project by myself and forgot about the big picture at times. This meant a lot of work at the end of semester, and I was rushing through parts that where important.
My understanding of manufacturing was also a weakness, as I had forgotten what I had learnt in previous years and I also needed a detailed understanding of the types of materials and their processes that work best for a long life, low cost for manufacture.

Sometimes I think I worked off too many assumptions like if simply clean free water was available that people would use it and then there would be less plastic bottles used. It’s hard not to work off assumptions at times as they can seem so logical but maybe to idealistic at the same time. Also I found from my pretention in the way I was communication people would I assume that I thought things when I didn’t such as that people would stop using bottles altogether and return back to using just the fountains, or that people would seek out my fountains to use. I think this is because it would be a nice goal to have but my design will never determine who will use them or not as it’s a person’s behaviour that decides this.

Looking back now I feel I may have to many secondary research sources and not enough primary research, I am not just sure if this is the project in which I am dealing with as there are many facts about bottled water, and that people aren’t willing to easily give me the information I need and there is no real cut off points as this is a public product so it will never please every one. I found a lot of the issues where to do with the system in place and not directly to the product which meant finding other case studies to work off. As the most recent is Manly I couldn’t really go up there and get the information myself and all of it was out there it just needed a bit of looking.

I feel my lack of design skills have come though and I have reached a point where I am no longer learning anything new and hardly implementing and practicing the ones that are of any value. This seems to be the case with my design writing, and research skills as I think the primary research and methods I have used might not have given me enough valuable information so I have then had to rely on a lot of secondary resources.

Opportunities: As my project was run like a campaign I got in contact with other like minded people, who care about the environment and drinking fountains as the purpose to deliver free water to all. There are a lot of different movements and campaigns to reduce the amount of bottled water so there are many articles supporting this as there are great environmental and health benefits. Talking to Patrick Jones who had the most relevant newspaper article talking about needing a map to find the drinking fountains and how most of them won’t anyway and that the council should feel the need to fix both these problems as free water is needed was great. Finding other like minded people builds enthusiasm.

Having a goal that isn’t just a product based outcome is nice as it helps to set up the background/context for the project and to get others on board. So when they hopefully see my design they can see it’s bigger than whatever is sitting in front of them. There is also a community aspect to the design as it is essentially owed and used by the whole community, it can be something that can be important and regarded highly if it’s something which most people chose to use frequently or even occasionally.

Threats: At times while undertaking research I could have just rung up the council and talked to one person to get all the information, but I found I wanted to know a bit first so I could ask the right questions. I am not sure if this just made the whole process more lengthy and time consuming if I did get better questions in the end. I tried to get many sources of information to ensure that I wasn’t just one person’s opinion and advice.

If my presentation skills don’t improve and I don’t clarify/effectively communicate what research I have done then I am going to be in trouble as I have based a lot of my decision process around the research collected. I need to trust in myself that the work I have done is enough and that there isn’t huge gaps of missing critical information. At times it felt like I was just waiting for someone to turn around and say you missed this crucial bit of information why do you think like that if you had read this you would have understood better.

I need to build up my confidence as my lack of belief and trust within my own work and abilities. At times I didn’t belief in my own project and I felt this may have shown through especially within my presentation. Sometimes I feel as if I have no skills as a designer and I am just a fraud.

I can’t honestly say there was too much learning happening as my complete lack of research and design writing skills became evident. I think I was probably behind everyone else this may because I never completed any design methods class so maybe there was some valuable information said. It could because I felt the whole year long project quite overwhelming as there seems to be no little tasks, its also built like a building where if there isn’t within the foundations then the whole thing can easily topple and fall, I can’t say from my first semester if this project is going to topple and fall or if it will be standing up strong at the end.


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