Archive for the ‘CORE’ Category

Initial knowledge 1

Current working knowledge 3

Sustainability issues can affect environmental, social and economic aspects of the world.  They can affect individuals, groups and communities and businesses and organisations.  Sustainability issues can influence energy and water consumption as well as  everyday things like transport or simply our own health and well-being.  The way we consume fuel and recycle our goods can change pollution levels and waste and have a broader impact on things such as climate change and is a key initiative for other countries as well as our own government with advertising campaigns such as a recent one telling us to think about our carbon footprint.  On a broader scale this leads us to looking at things such as globalisation, consumerism and ethical trade.The truth is many activities, problems and solutions in the issues of sustainability are integrated.

In my first 2 projects I have had a look at the materials I chose to use for the projects and what happens to them when they are finally finished with, I used acrylic in each project so I had to take a closer look at the sustainability and recyclable issues with this plastic.  In each of the projects I featured a small piece of information on the wider impacts of producing and recycling acrylic this is extracted from my ambience light project.

”  The manufacturing process of acrylic involves many toxic chemicals and requires a lot of energy and so it does have a significant impact on the environment. If it is not recycled acrylic is non biodegradable and so will not break up well over time. The highly toxic substances used when manufacturing acrylic require careful storage, handling and disposal. The polymerization process can even result in an explosion if it is not monitored properly and it also produces toxic fumes. Recent legislation states that the polymerization process be carried out in a closed environment and that the fumes be cleaned, captured or otherwise neutralised before being released into the atmosphere.

As acrylic is a group 7 plastic amongst other recyclable plastics it is not collected for recycling in most communities. Large pieces can be reformed into a number of useful objects if they have not suffered too much stress, crazing or cracking but this actually accounts for only a small portion of the acrylic plastic waste.
Acrylic can be depolymerised by heating it to around 400 degrees Celsius, it then decomposes back to its original monomer , Methyl Methacrylate which can then be used to make more acrylic sheet amongst other things.
As I will not be tampering too much with the acrylic sheet I will be using other than re-shaping it, I would hope that in the future it could be melted to make more acrylic sheeting for other peoples future products, currently the majority of the acrylic recycled is formed into bottles or plastic lumber but after doing a little bit of research on the web I found some really interesting alternative uses further displaying its versatility and the benefit of recycling it.

recycled acrylic jewellery
recycled acrylic display cases
even recycled acrylic furniture

The average annual increase in the rate of consumption of acrylic plastics has been about 10%. A future annual growth rate of about 5% is predicted. Despite the fact that acrylic plastics are one of the oldest plastic materials in use today, it still holds the same advantages of optical clarity as a substitute for glass and has a good resistance to outdoor environments as well as in-door applications such as my light, due to its good machine-ability. I remain confident that acrylic will continue to be many peoples choice of plastic so secure, responsible recycling is paramount to ensure that people, not least myself and my classmates continue to benefit from it in the future. ”

Likewise in ED216:

However reflecting on this I have looked at the wider impact of using these materials after I have already decided to include them in my designs.  In order to demonstrate a true awareness, I should have looked at these factors at an earlier date and then I could have looked at whether ecologically these were the most suitable materials or whether there was a more environmentally friendly solution.  This is certainly something I will have a closer look at in ED320 as the project set is aimed at having an impact on the world as a whole.  I did not just look at sustainable materials for ED320, there are many factors that can be considered when actually designing for a sustainable future.  I included these quotes and research in my latest project and it was interesting to read not only about materials but sustainable design principals too.


Initial knowledge – 2

Current working knowledge – 3

During my time at Sheffield Hallam we worked in conjunction with different companies who wanted us to create innovative designs for their products.  Of course in this line of work there were strict guidelines as to branding and marketing.  I enjoyed the course but sometimes felt a little restricted when having to adhere to specific guidelines.  I had somewhat a reputation for going slightly off-key with some of my designs.  Basically I wanted to produce exiting new ideas but was accused sometimes of trying to’ re-invent the wheel’.

The thing I love about design however is the nature of the imagination you can apply to a product.  I have learnt however that what looks good on paper may not actually be practical in real business, the designs must be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.  For instance in an institution such as packaging design there are many things to consider such as a products size, how it will stack, how economical it will be to produce e.t.c.  So for example when designing a deodorant bottle or toothpaste tube there is always going to be a certain shape and size it is expected to be roughly and maybe the innovation comes through graphic media or the use of smart or modern materials to help it stand out from the competition.  Designing something outlandish and large just wouldn’t be functional as you have to consider shelf size and transportation of the products to name just a few things.

When undertaking Bhavs project it was an excuse basically to do what I pleased although I think she may have discouraged me from certain things!  I chose to design a plate rack, not to interesting on the basis but I tend to start with a whole range of ideas some more obscure than others and try to weed out the ones that have perhaps gone a little too far in their innovation, and if there is one thing I have taken away from Sheffield is that the design must be practical too.  These designs were my first set of ideas I tend to produce a range of as many possibilities as I can before concentrating on developing one specific idea.  I decided that I wanted the design to be modern and fit within a contemporary kitchen.

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Once I have produced a range of ideas I focus on one idea, maybe including different aspects of other designs to try to develop towards what my final product is going to look like :

I liked some of the more rounded designs in my initial drawings but there were limits on the size of the sheet alumium I could spin, when I referred back to my design brief and looked at existing contemporary kitchens, one of the features within the kitchens were clean, crisp lines and a minimal style,  I took that on board and began to develop more linear designs.  They are actually an adaptation of one of the designs in the centre of the original set of initial ideas.

Continuing to adapt the linear form, sticking to the brief but creating an unusual yet functional plate rack that differs from the ones on the current market.

After developement I usually arrive at a final idea and begin to manufacture it.  It is worth noting at this point that I need to be aware of not only producing good designs but also good functional working products as well.  I wasn’t particularly happy with my final products in ed216 and 7 although I was happy with the design work I had done and feel it was a step in the right direction for ED320.  My initial designs for my ambience light can be seen in C5.

In reflection I must ensure in future that my designs and ideas are original and fresh but I must analyse them thoroughly and accurately and make sure that the final product is viable and functional as well as innovative.  By introducing product analysis and quality control and assurance into my projects at the earliest possible opportunity, I can use any findings to improve upon the functionality of any initial ideas.

I am certainly happier with my final space saving unit.  I tried to keep the ideas original, but with more in-depth research in creating a functional product and
with correct dimensioning I can honestly say that I have developed over the year to not only create innovative ideas and designs but manufacture them into working functional items also.

C15 Knowledge of history of design

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge – 1

Current working knowledge – 2

Throughout my education I have always had a love of design old and new.  I have investigated different movements on an individual basis and I have a good knowledge of when the movements took place but for this section I have decided to write a piece of chronological information including some dates and names that shaped the different styles.  I have learnt a lot through its writing and feel that as a general overview of design I can refer back to it in the future as a guide just to jog the memory.


Many people may look back in time and feel design started with the industrial revolution.  However prior to this, designs had begun to be presented in portfolios and pattern books and widely distributed to secure customers orders.  Products had formerly been ordered according to customer specification but were now being standardised.  Furniture for example, was produced in advance and now sold as finished items in larger magazines and sales catalogues so design had acquired an important significance not only for production but for sales.  The training of draftsman became more specialised and industrialisation had begun in England by the end of the 18th century.

In 1765 James Watt invented the steam engine and with it came the industrial revolution, as a result of  Watts’ invention, coal mining, iron and steel production as well as machine production took on new significance.  They were the pre conditions for industrial mass production, a modern transportation system and the growth of cities.  New means of fast transportation were not only useful in steel and iron production and coal mining but also for world trade.  With mass production though came poverty as factories paid less wages as there was little skill needed to operate the machines that were producing items on mass, which some people felt were of poor quality and so there was an upturn in the arts and crafts movement, The Vienna Workshops and the German work alliance to combat these negative effects.

The 19th century was the age of the engineer, with the development of things such as Thomas Eddisons incandescent light bulb, Graham Alexander Bell’s telephone, household sewing machines and even revolvers.  In Europe swivel chairs, adjustable seats and other patent furniture appeared.  The technical advances of the 19th century resulted in new methods of production but around the middle of the 19th century there was almost a backward movement that arose as people looked for styles with a more historical influence.  The romantic era in Germany, France and England in particular sparked a return for styles such as gothic, romanticism, renaissance and baroque and were quite often mixed together and it meant that mass produced cheap lead castings were decorated with extravagant, ornate patterns.

During the second half of the 19th century a reform occurred first in Britain and then in Germany re-introducing commercial art as a way of moving away from modern industrial manufacturing.  This led to amongst others the arts and crafts movement. Perhaps the most recognised pioneer was poet and artist William Morris, his firm Morris and Co were perhaps best known for their solidly and tastefully produced furniture, naturally dyed cloth, hand woven rugs, painted tiles and stained glass.  .  Its preference within design was for its simpler, organic forms from nature and had a big influence on the Art  Nouveau movement.

William Morris bed

Art nouveau was developed on the continent and like the closely related arts and crafts movement introduced simpler constructed forms in the patterns of nature.  ‘Artists’ were not just required to produce art as such, but jewellery, wall paper, fabric, furniture, tableware and more, again it was seen as an answer to industrial mass produced items.

Art Nouveau jewellery

The architects Henry Van de Velde and Victor Horta were amongst those considered to be famous representatives of art  nouveau .  Internationally  art nouveau was a reform movement that some people consider today as a failure.  While the rebellion against historicism and mass production was justifiable, as a movement it is considered regressive and may well have delayed the development of modern industrial design.  While it may have been considered backward-looking, extravagant and luxury orientated it was not dictated by a single style it was also characterized by objective and geometric form that was stripped of all ornamentation.

New objective forms had already come into existence on the back of the art nouveau movement in Great Britain.  The Glasgow school of art were influenced by an influx of Japanese art and the aesthetics it suggested and they developed a new style.  They used ornament sparingly with the exception of minimal pastel tones and preferred to use black and white which became the hallmark of the modern style.  Another breakaway  from the art nouveau movement was the Viennese style, it was based on a concept of the totality of a work of art and was a reform of handicrafts.  A style developed through Charles Rennie Mackintosh a chief figure in the Glasgow school of art and it was highlighted by rectangularity and straight lines.  The founders of the Viennese  style were Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser and the architect Otto Wagner.  Wagner often called the father of the Vienna modern was classical in his orientation but his furniture designs were considered as severe as the later Bauhaus movement.

otto wagner stool

In Germany it was primarily the Werkbund that marked the transition into modern industrial design, its goal was to ‘enable industrial work by the cooperation of art, industry and handicrafts’ and it was not adverse to using machine production also.  The Werkbund founding members amongst others were Muthesius, Van de Velde, Behrens and Osthaus and it peaked in 1914 with its famous exhibition in Cologne.  As well as featuring standardized furniture and household objects it featured sleeping car interiors and a model steel and glass factory.  However in the same year an argument broke out within Werkbund.  There was conflicting interests in the group,  Muthesius felt that it was only through standardization of design that Werkbund could create usable, industrial forms that were inexpensive mass-produced products with a long lifespan.  Van de Valde on the other hand defended the individuality of the artists design work, however this debate was suspended as the First World War broke out.

Not surprisingly after the war, design attention was focused on living quarters and inexpensive household fittings for the working class.  The period between the two world wars was marked by huge economical and social changes.  Industrialization had not only brought about mass-production of items for the home  but also established a capitalist society with a large working class.  The economic and political importance of industrial design had already become clear in the 19th century and along with William Morris, many hoped to aid social reform through the intelligent design of goods for the mass market.  The Russian Revolution was supposed to bring about a new classless society for both manual labourers and intellectuals.  In a world dominated by technology the artists of the avant-garde movement in particular saw new paths for art and with them the possibility of social transformation.  A further idealization of technology as well as an abstraction of form were pursued by the cubists and the futurists.


In the Russian movements of suprematism and constructivism, both the technique of construction and the innate properties of the raw materials available were counted amongst the most important factors of product design.  The avant-garde artists celebrated a dynamic aesthetic of the age of machine, which they then reduced to non-objective forms.  They designed posters, book covers, new typefaces, furniture and other utility items.  Many artists of the avant-garde  such as Vlaimir Taitlin, Kasimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky understood their work to be of service to a new society and they produced newspapers, book covers and posters as well as street and theatre decoration as propaganda for the Soviet government.  In addition they also designed utility goods, clothing and furniture through a high degree of standardization which were especially suited to the still primitive Russian mass- production facilities.

Avante Garde. Picasso

Through simple mass-produced goods it was imagined that living standards would be greatly improved and although the designs had to meet the requirements of industrialized production the actual designs tended to arise from abstract geometrical idiom of constructivism and the artists desire to still have creative expression.  Constructivism defined itself as a culture of materials, constructivists insisted on a correspondence between the method of working and the materials used and the object created.  Many rejected some constructivists ideas of using straight lines and right-angles and chose curved lines in both art and practical design, they concentrated on rounded forms that suited the human body and devised clothing and furniture that were meant to be practical, inexpensive and comfortable for the human form.  In Germany, the Bauhaus design became the centre of modernism and functionalism and the Bauhaus school laid down principals that still influence industrial design today.  In 1926-27  despite growing international recognition the Bauhaus was suffering from financial difficulties and internal disagreements about which direction the school should take between art and industry.  Hannes Meyer was appointed director of Bauhaus in 1928 and he demanded the design of standardized products that could be mass produced but would also satisfy the basic needs of the population.  Meyer strove to make Bauhaus more scientific and its students began to experiment with mixed weaves and synthetic fibres.  Bauhaus was closed 1n 1933 due to pressure from the Nazi regime but it had become internationally recognised with new materials such as glass and steel along with typical simple geometrical shapes that became  important influences on an international modern style.

classic Bauhaus chair

In France, where the Bourgeois establishment survived the First World War, a luxurious style of furnishing and decoration reflecting power and a superior lifestyle emerged and was in complete contrast to the goals of modernism presented by movements such as the Bauhaus. It was known as Art Deco.  Art Deco concentrated on exclusive, artfully designed and individually crafted wares made of expensive and precious materials such as snakeskin, ivory, bronze, crystal and exotic woods.  Eventually art deco begun to introduce modern materials such as steel, glass and plastics in extravagant combinations.  The aim however was always to exploit their decorative value and not really explore their functional capabilities.  Art deco drew characteristics from art nouveau, under the influence of cubism, constructivism and futurism, art nouveau’s characteristic curved lines gave way to abstract geometrical stylization, expressive zig zag lines and dynamic streamlining.  Art deco’s favourite forms were geometric ornaments based on hexagons, ovals, octagons, circles, triangles and rhombuses, but it also borrowed from classicism, Egyptian cultures and African art and so developed in diverse directions.  It was viewed as classical, elegant, exotic, expressive and increasingly modern.In England, Germany and Italy, Art Deco design was seen as an expression of modern elegance and in time the manufacture of popular mass wares from new materials such as aluminium and Bakelite became increasingly popular.  Before long, the market offered fashion jewellery, cigarette cases, radio housings and perfume bottles with geometric shapes and expressionist patterns with ornamental synthetic inlays imitating ivory and tortoiseshell.

Typical art deco clock

In America modern designs pursued its own course and although industrial designers may have been affected by European influences it was here more than anywhere else that design was driven by consumer behaviour.  While the First World War  had seriously affected the economical and technological development in Europe the USA stood far ahead of other industrial nations.  In the 30’s most middle-class households had electric equipment such as radios, fridges, toasters and washing machines.  Mass production with new inexpensive materials for mass needs was the birth of modern industrial design.  Unlike Europe with design reforms revolving around social aspects and function the main aspect of American design was marketing. After the Wall Street Crash the government encouraged patriotic design to motivate customers to buy a companies products.  As a sign of progress and dynamism, streamlining was applied to a lot of products ranging from buses to coffee machines.  New materials such as plywood, plastics and sheet metal supported the use of streamlining and created a medium through which American designers created a new direction that had little to do with functionality but was used to install a belief that the country had been steered away from economic depression  it was viewed as a new   ‘American way of life’.

1950s coca cola sign

The post war period and the 1950’s brought big changes not just in politics but also in international style.  In Germany, Italy and Japan the concentration was on basic needs such as food shelter and rebuilding the economy, the USA however survived the war relatively unharmed.  Its mainland and economy was intact and it established a roll as the economic leader.  Representatives of the Bauhaus had fled to the states during the Nazi regime and they pursued the international style in modernist architecture and design.  After the war modernism was exported back to Europe from the USA spreading the American approach to design as a factor in marketing and sales.  ‘The American way of life’ influenced all areas of the world especially Germany and Italy.  By the early 50’s industry found itself having to revive demand through the design of new products and models with technical improvements and the role of advertising increased and with it the role of packaging design.In 1952 polypropylene was invented and it revolutionised furniture making with durable chairs and tables in all kinds of forms produced easily and inexpensively.  Manufacturers were working more on developing foam materials, nylon and polyester. With companies such as Kartell producing house hold goods with improved synthetics.  In the 60’s Kartell became the industry leader of plastic design producing lamps and furniture, they constantly experimented with new synthetic combinations to not only enhance the aesthetics and durability of a product but also the lower the cost of items for the customers.

60's Kartell lamp

The plastic wave hit a high point and also a crucial turning point with the oil crisis of 1973.  From that point plastic was no longer glamorised as modern and ‘high tech’ but it was seen as cheap, tacky, tasteless and with the growing environmental awareness un-eco-logical.  It was still deemed suitable for outside furniture and for commercial and public areas but it wasn’t until the ‘Memphis group’ tried to rehabilitate it with plastic laminates and bright colours that it was brought back inside the home in the early 80’s.Following the oil crisis of 1973 designs and their functionalism ceased, people were becoming more environmentally aware and there was a counter culture of rock music, young people, pop art and films with radical counter movements against functionalist architecture and design as well as against mainstream industry materialising first in England then in Italy and Germany.  In 1974 Jochen Gros and the ‘Desin’ movement started to implement recycling in design and alternative design and production and sales.  Car tyres became sofas, tea boxes turned into closets and more.  British and American pop music as well as the ‘hippie’ movement influenced commercial art, fashion and experimental furniture of a number of designers, the synthetic materials allowed for playful and often ironic and provocative forms and this counterculture was combined with mans actual experiences of space travel and popular visualisations of science fiction as in Stanley Kubric’s film 2001:A Space Odyssey which led to more futuristic designs.

In the 80’s technical, social, ecological and cultural developments as well as those in design accelerated at enormous speed, architecture and design turned away from modernism and functionalism and again the ‘Memphis group’ had a massive effect on this.  Memphis became a catalyst for a range of anti-functionalist developments in European design and in most books I have read is referred to as ‘new design’.  Their thinking was independent of industry and focused more on a metropolitan sense of life incorporating fashions and influences of subculture in their designs.  New design was radical and is categorised as experimental work, own production and distribution, small series and unique pieces, mixture of styles, unusual materials, cosmopolitan feel, irony wit and provocativeness, overstepping the boundaries with art and formations of groups of designers.  Germany, France, Spain, Italy, England all tested the boundaries in an era which is known as post-modernism. 

It is worth noting that when I move into schools it will be worth keeping up to date with new and innovative ideas, designs and materials.  I think children are fascinated by anything hi-tech and can be inspired by seeing the realms of possibility in modern design.  Whilst it is of significant importance that the origins of design and style are recognised.  It is also worth remembering that history in design is being created all the time, even as I speak and in 100 years will be seen as the fabric of an era that helped change the shape of technology and design.

Twentieth Century Design,  Jonathan M. Woodham

A Concise History of Design, Thomas Hauffe

Design and the Decorative Arts, Michael Snodin and John Style

Design History a Student Handbook, Dr Hazel Conway and Hazel Conway

C14 General use of ICT

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge 1

Current working knowledge 3

Nowadays I think 95% of the world will have at least some basic knowledge of ICT.  My general experience had been in the use of word processing programs such as Word and Microsoft Works as well as spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel.  I had also used Photoshop in previously attended design courses

From the very first couple of weeks it was evident that this was going to be a key area for development throughout the year and I was looking forward to using computer aided design and manufacture having briefly flirted ( although not technically brilliantly ) with a CAD program called Rhyno during  packaging design.

The first of new programs I needed to use was power point.  Although aware of the program having previously witnessed visual demonstrations, we were given the opportunity to do a presentation ourselves in small teams.  I found it extremely user friendly, and still feel that it has a place in my future when hopefully taking classes of my own.  It is an extremely useful tool to project information alongside images and quotes that would give students visual stimuli as I am trying not to bore them to death.

Ironically my presentation was on the program 2D design.  Which was my next use of new ICT.  I found giving the presentation a useful aid to give me some background knowledge of the program itself and its application.  I gained practice of 2d during ED216 and the results can be seen in C5.

I tend to find using new programs quite daunting but in this instance 2D design is a fairly simple graphics program and it is easy to see why it is still used throughout schools as a good introduction to computer aided design.

This very wordpress is a new use of ICT personally.  I have found it a useful tool to help present my work electronically.  I was impressed with the examples presented to us when first issued with our audits and took it upon myself to learn how the program worked.  In truth I did find it an initial struggle and it did take me a long time to set up this audit, but I felt comfortable enough with the wordpress to present ed216 using it again and I will feel comfortable using it in the future.  Admittedly there are areas of wordpress that I haven’t explored and probably ways in which I can change the layouts and the way my work is presented but this is something that can be assessed in the future.  The only drawback I have found is that although I can present my work in separate sections, I cannot place it in a desired order as it is in the form of a blog and the posts are listed chronologically.  Hence the reason I created all the pages first to give them some form of order before adding the posts at a later date.

I have really enjoyed being introduced to ProDesktop,  whether I like it or not CAD is definitely here to stay and may even see the humble pencil become obsolete in the future.  There may no longer be a need for drawing boards for technical drawings as a good visual representation with accurate dimensions can be produced using the likes of ProDesktop and solidworks.  Again it was a new experience but I did try to use it for visual communication and modelling throughout ed216.  My initial attempts are in C5 but I look forward to exploring it in greater depth.  I hope that the knowledge I have gained so far can be improved upon as I appreciate in modern times, schools will be looking for up and coming teachers to have a good working knowledge of the programs made available to their students and I think that having understood how to use ProDesktop I might be able to transfer some of its principles into other 3 dimensional design programs such as Sketchup and Solidworks.

Another use of ICT I have used was during my presentation on globalisation on a program called Prezi.  It is a presentation program similar to Power Point but it is visually more exiting and you can include things such as You Tube clips that load automatically when you spin to the next item.  The presentation went well and I had a few people ask me what the program I had used was called.  I will certainly use it again in favour of Power Point as I think that students would find it more visually stimulating and again it is a relatively new media that could be utilized when making presentations in class.  It is important that I keep up to date with any new ICT that comes out to keep my knowledge and learning fresh and keep up to date with any new technology that I can utilize in classrooms in the future.  On that note I have had a practice with the interactive white board and would feel confident using it for teaching purposes also.

Initial knowledge – 1

Current working knowledge – 2.5

I have what I would consider a basic knowledge of ergonomic and anthropometric data.  Ergonomics is designing for humans, considering things such as the average size of children or hand and body size.  Collectively calling this information anthropometric data and using things such as finger length and hand span when thinking about creating something such as a hand-held toy.

It can be used to determine average group sizes such as height, reach, grip and sight lines and is important to gather the information as collectively as a species it has been proven that we are getting bigger on average.

I will need to look at this more closely when doing some of the mini tasks to gain a better understanding of why it is important and how it can affect my designs.

ED320 has been the first project I have done where ergonomics and researching ergonomics has been vital.  When coming up with an initial range of ideas I added measurements to the drawings that I felt would be a good representation of what was needed.  It wasn’t until I got back into the workshop and got my hands on a meter rule that I realised my estimations were off the mark and under valued.  As a result I obtained a few relative books including the Symposium on Sitting posture (Zurich), The measure of Men and Women Human Factors of Design (Dreyfuss) and Bodyspace (Pheasant) amongst others as well as using some of the ergonomic data in the wood working manuals I was studying.  The information included became vital for the designing and final dimensioning for my space saving unit.  The unit itself is designed to be universal so it was useful to compare the average heights and seated heights of both large men to small women.  The data included important information such as the space needed between chair and desk to accommodate leg room, knee clearance needed, common desk heights, the height a backrest needs to to aid support, minimum width for leg clearance, necessary elbow room needed and more important factors that I considered and used and all went towards the dimensioning for my final piece.  By looking across the different texts I was able to cumulate appropriate sizings that I felt would help produce a functional but ergonomically comfortable unit that could be universally used by anybody.  Without access to this information it would have been very difficult to produce a suitable solution and this indicates the importance of not only researching and being aware of ergonomic and anthropometric data but actually using the findings to create relevant comfortable solutions.

C12 Track project budgets and costs

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge 1

Current working level 2

I have not had a great deal of experience of tracking project budgets and costs although I do recognise the importance of it.  When doing packaging design the main aim was to produce an item that stood out but it also had to be a viable cost-effective solution.  The designs tended to be made from vacuum formed plastic and the main cost was for printing as the designs tended to be aimed at the mass market.  In ED216 and 7 I researched how much the materials were likely to be, however in all honesty I had already decided on the materials I was going to use and tallied up the cost once I had come up with a final design.  I realise now that this is not a financially wise approach because I was certainly shocked to find out the cost of some of the materials.  Naturally had the materials been far to expensive then I would have had to reassess the final ideas however I had a general idea that items such as sheet aluminium and  acrylic would not cost the earth.  This was ok for the plate rack as it was one-off piece and in reality was not made of a mass amount of materials and components.  The subsequent cutting list was:
1050mm x 457mm clear acrylic = £14.47

457mm x 457 mm clear acrylic = £7.63

2 x A3 clear acrylic = £9.404

acrylic hinges = £1.84

1000 x 500 mm sheet aluminium £10.01 + VAT

TOTAL = £43.34 (all prices taken from the cheapest available on the internet)

A total of just under 44 pounds was quite surprising considering there were only 2 main materials used in the manufacture.  However as the product was supposed to be designed for a high-end contemporary kitchen a fair selling price of around £60 would still allow for a healthy profit, and when taking into consideration the bulk cost of materials if purchasing to construct multiple units, the cost of production would be reduced significantly.  For my ambiance light it was a slightly different matter as the brief stated that it was to be produced for the mass market and so I had to source cheaper materials.  I wanted to produce the light for less than £30 and subsequently the pricing was as follows:
3 x 200mm x 300mm live edge acrylic 3mm = £4.79

1 x A3 sheet light blue acrylic 3mm = £3.76

3 x 200mm x 300mm clear acrylic 3mm = £4.25

6 x 200mm x 300mm dark blue transparent acrylic 3mm =  £7.50

300mm x 15mm clear acrylic tubing = £5.973

high luminosity white leds £1.79 each

3 ultra bright blue leds = £1.79 each

TOTAL =  £31.64 (all acrylic bought from E-bay and leds from Maplins, total price does not include the unused white leds)

In reality I was £1.64 over my allocated budget but again taking into consideration the cost of buying the items in bulk a cost price would greatly reduce the cost of materials and bring the lamp back under the £30  I had originally set.
For the commercial more mass-produced lamp it was more necessary for me to try to stick within an allocated budget.  However I only really took into consideration the cost of the raw materials needed to create the final product.  However there is an alternate pricing such as the cost of production and the energy used by machines when making the product.  In a professional sense designers would need to be paid , prototypes are extremely expensive to produce and then there’s things like packaging, marketing, labour and a whole host of variable costs that would have to be taken into consideration when budgeting for a mass-produced item.

Because of a lack of experience my budgeting is at best basic although I do recognise the importance of keeping a detailed list of materials in order to produce a  cost-effective solution that doesn’t spiral out of financial control.  It is certainly something I will utilise from the beginning of my next project and I will put an emphasis on trying to produce the product for the cheapest possible price, and take into consideration other factors, if it is designed to be mass-produced.

For ED302 I actually researched the prices of materials before purchasing them.  I had intended to use veneered MDF, but after some consultation found the prices to be unrealistic and the material too heavy to function anyway.  I stated I wanted to create the unit for less than 100 pounds and managed to source and construct materials for 96 pound which I felt represented a cost effective solution to my specification.

Initial knowledge 1

Current working level 2.5

In design and business there is a great emphasis based on quality control and quality assurance. In forthcoming projects I must ensure that the products I am producing match the design brief I have set myself and ensure that what I am offering is consistent and reliable. I must be able to reach and meet the goals I am setting myself in order to meet such things as health and safety requirements, and to ensure that the products I am delivering are of a professional manner and I would be proud to present them to any business, school or customer if needed. This will require planning and testing if necessary and acting on any results of the tests I have made. Each stage of the process should be recorded and improved upon if necessary. Flow charts should be produced to avoid any missing stages and I need to make sure that I am working economically and I am working with the correct tools and materials, points of which will be vital when in schools next year, so good evidence of research is required.

However, rather than just saying that I have met my targets, I need to demonstrate that my products are able to satisfy their promise.  Rather than just producing good designs, I must aim to produce quality products also, this is the basis for quality assurance. Realistically if I am implementing quality assurance, I should be making improvements to the usability and performance of my products, whilst reducing the risk of any defects. This can be ongoing throughout the design process and improved upon through the use of various media including models. When manufacturing my plate rack unfortunately the aluminium I was using only came with a protective layer on one side.  When I was clamping the sheet metal to bend it, it led to having a lot of abrasions on the surface.  I wanted the final product to have no scratches on hand in and so decided that I would re-make the shell but mask one side of it in order to protect it.  I maybe could have buffed out the scratches but my displeasure with the first piece was compounded when my first attempt at drilling the holes for the rivets went slightly wayward also.  I was not happy with this either so implemented quality assurance to get a better result.

scratched aluminium

masked, clamped aluminium

uneven rivets

The new aluminium shell left

In the final picture I had reverted to using only 3 rivets as they were secure and gave the plate rack a more minimalist look.

On completion or semi completion of the final products in my case I wish I had read my first statement of this section thoroughly during the manufacturing process.  I detailed exactly what I should and shouldn’t do and what I needed to show so that it was apparent that quality control and quality assurance had taken place.  Unfortunately in both ED216 and 7 I think I failed to deliver fully on both pieces.  Although I did utilise quality control and assurance on  Bhav’s project I failed to do competently on Deans.  In admission I was unlucky with Bhavs as after spending a lot of time making sure the project was up to scratch I managed to break one of the sides attached onto the plate support whilst cleaning it the Sunday before hand in.  Although it was an accident it maybe illustrated that if the project was to be marketed then this could be an initial downfall of the design.  Had I chosen to test this sooner I could maybe have avoided the accident and used metal hinges screwed on rather than acrylic ones which were glued and saved time in having to try to quickly re-do it and submit a substandard finished product that had little to no quality control or assurance.

This almost had a Domino effect on Deans as I was trying to quickly re-create Bhavs and in turn neglected finishing off Deans light before the final deadline.  One of the problems I had with Deans was the original leds I had ordered.  When I wired them up to my circuit they simply didn’t look bright enough.

I had only ordered them after New Year and by the time I realised the problem it was too late to change my whole design to accommodate many more leds and I had to make do with sourcing some even brighter lights that would fit the 3 led format.  Had I applied quality control and assurance earlier on in the project this simply would not have been a factor and I could have sourced the necessary leds and altered the design to accommodate them.

One thing I failed to mention in my initial statement to this segment is  that time is of huge importance when wanting to analyse and improve certain aspects to an initial design.  The sooner the problems are noticed the sooner they can be fixed and allow time for further improvements if necessary.  I am disappointed with myself for not implementing this sooner and I led only to my own downfall really.

In reflection had I reverted back to reading this audit whilst designing and manufacturing  I would not be in the position I was in on the final day before hand in which is fighting a losing battle with a feel of dread I never want to experience again!  I was unlucky in certain aspects but with proper application of  quality control and assurance luck would have had nothing to do with it.  If anything writing this has brought  to my attention the importance of reverting back to this audit  in order to approach projects in the proper ways to achieve the high standards I do set myself. I will certainly learn from the mistakes I have made, and although I appreciate there is an aspect of this being a learning curve the problems I encountered were through my own failure to apply the quality control necessary earlier enough in the process to achieve the standard I want to, in the allocated time.  All in all I can look to the next 2 projects with my eyes wide open as to where I need to improve and only strive to achieve the best and this time practise what I preach!!

nearly the finished article just before 'snapgate'

In Ed320 the functionality of my design was based around the stability of the chair and desk frame.  Having researched different joining techniques and appropriate materials I decided upon using mortise and tenon joints.  This was unfamiliar territory and so before producing the frame I made sure I was well practiced in their application.  I produced a number of prototypes both hand and machine made until I felt confident I could apply them confidently when producing my frame.
Once I was confident in the production of the joints I needed to ensure that they were going to be stable enough to support my weight so I put together  a small frame using the practice joints to indeed see if they were strong enough, by applying this practice at the earliest opportunity I was able to see that my design would function and now felt confident that I would be able to apply quality construction to my final product.  In reality there were a couple of joints that I simply was not happy with and so before clamping and gluing my frame these were replaced in order to obtain the most stable result possible.  The timber and joints that were not used did not go to waste as I was able to use them when practicing using the hand and table router and again was able to gain an understanding of the nature of the machines in order to produce quality results when producing my final piece.  Had I not applied this quality control, then I feel I ran the risk of producing substandard results.  As it was I ensured that the joints were all produced by hand and was able to tweak them slightly to maximise their success.  By dry clamping the frame before gluing it I could see which joints needed slightly altering and was able to manipulate them to produce what turned out to be a solid unit.

dry fitting the frame to get rid of any gaps

testing the joints