Back to the Drawing Board


Thursday 3rd November – 10:06am

I received an email telling the entire level 5 group that we must attend a workshop on the 7th of November. Attendance was Crucial. ‘What could this be about?’ I asked myself.

Fast forward to Monday…

Monday 7th November – 10:00am

We went into the lecture space where we were given a talk by Prof. Steve Gill about ‘How to be a good Designer’. In this one hour lecture he spoke about the five points that he believes are key.

  • Design for humans – Do your research
  • Make Prototypes – and a lot at that.
  • Dont Design for you. This is a big NO NO.
  • Contextualise your Work.
  • Thinking and Doing are Connected.

Now whilst listening to this talk I thought a lot about what I have been doing as a Product Design student, last year I failed to do a lot of these and looking back now I could have seriously improved my work and I probably would have gotten a higher mark, probably. I only managed to create around three prototypes whilst doing my end of term ‘Wreck-Less’ project, this most likely hindered the opportunity of stumbling across an even better design for the bottle. I designed for myself, I am guilty of designing things that I would like to own, I do however feel like I also designed for the target market in that project, the coincidence being I was a part of that market.


Following this talk Clara, Richard and Steve began talking about our BBC Project, to summarise what was said about all our our work…essentially all of our work is not up to par. We need to scrap everything and go back to concepts.


What a blow.

I immediately lost complete confidence in my design. Is it too simple? I thought simplicity was the key? …

But how could this be? I spoke with Richard and he said he liked the simplicity of my table design and all I needed to do was develop the form.


Today’s Task? Collaboration with the First Years. This sounds…interesting.

We were told that the day would be about conceptualising and collaborating, we were told to set off in our groups of four (two first years and two second years) and begin to design a new product for this brief. The thinking behind this was to get the gears moving since some of the level 5 have not put in the same amount of effort as others in the year.

I know that I certainly do put a lot of effort into my work and I tried not to take what was said as a general sense personally but I did

To begin the group ‘project’ I advised the two first years to take a look through the initial brief that we have gone through countless times, I also showcased the work I had done so far so they had an idea of what needed to be done and what was actually being designed.

The bullet points for todays deliverables were as follows

  • Generate 100 ideas for the brief
  • From those 100 ideas choose 5 that the group want to develop
  • Create scale models for the 5 designs. Get feedback.
  • Develop the 5 designs. Model once more.
  • Choose 1 design. Model.
  • Present 3 A3 pages for the chosen design.

Now that isn’t word for word but its pretty accurate.


My God! Where did the time go!?

So by this time the group had only managed to complete the 100 ideas and the initial 5 scale models. Now to showcase the models, we divided the task of model making between us, one each and then one of us would complete the final model.

I am not happy with the amount of effort I put into this task but I am not entirely surprised, after being told we were essentially all terrible in the morning I found it difficult to get motivated about the project following that.

Below are some images of the initial scale models and an image of the 100 ideas pages:



Our group were beginning to get seriously close to the deadline without actually doing much of the work. We thought it’d be a good idea for us to skip a few of the steps…usually not the best idea but with desperate times call for desperate measures. Now the processes our group did complete were the final two deliverables, the final scale model and the presentation pages.

This is the model that we would go on to present, the system has a jig set up where you simply slot into different height positions to then move either up or down. To say that I am underwhelmed with the model would be an understatement. Could I have done something that looked more aesthetically pleasing and easier to move? Sure but with the deadline looming there isn’t much that can be done.

This is what our group decided to go for:


Presenting Time!

So I will just explain what happened. It is pretty brief.

Our group presented what we did, we spoke about the design and how we developed it through the initial design stage. Richard spoke about our design being very square, he spoke about the initial designs that he saw earlier on in the day and how they were very free moving whilst the one we decided to go with was very hard and almost the opposite.

Following us demonstrating the table moving as it would to different heights we were complimented in having the model being manoeuvrable. ‘Cute’ I believe the word used was. Not patronising in the slightest.


Swiftly moving on to the 8th of November.

Finally we were visiting the Bisley factory. A little later than we would have liked but nevertheless.

Although I have been working on the Orangebox brief since the beginning I found this visit to be extremely helpful in understanding the possibilities for production, we began the day being split into smaller groups it’d be easier to take us around the factory. We had a talk about the companies history and the future furniture that is being made.

Whilst at the factory towards the end of the trip Bisley kindly served us with food and drink as there were still a few groups that were on the tour. I took this time to begin sketching new ideas for my table. I began to think about a continuous piece of material that could be bent or formed into the desired shape for the table frame. I was adamant on keeping the simplicity of my design. This is what made me stumble upon the new idea that I now have. hold that thought.

The Level 5 Bisley Visit.

Now whilst walking home from university an idea struck me, a design, a shape! I did not have any paper handy so I grabbed a pen and began to draw on my hand.


You’ve got to start somewhere right?

Now following this I went and began to develop this into an actual design, I began to play around with the shape to add some curves. I thought it would be a good idea to speak with Richard again about this new design to see what he thought.

Richard really liked the idea! He asked me to draw the idea and after I did so he began to also draw around it, he spoke about designers that I could research into to give me more of an idea as to how the design could be produced.

Sketches by Richard.

Following this very productive talk with Richard I went away and found the designer he spoke about, Gerrit Thomas Reitveld. I looked at the 1934 Zig Zag Chair and how it was made, I believe that the dovetail joint is a good idea to include with the design as Richard also recommended it as a means of connecting the different surfaces.

I believe the next step for me is to continue sketching the table design until everything is correct with the material and manufacturing information finalised. For next Tuesday a scale model is required and also a context page although an email will be sent out to confirm the requirements. I plan on completing the sketching over the weekend so I have enough time on Monday to finish the scale model and other deliverables.

I am pleased with the production level this week, it has been extremely stressful but worth it.


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