Friday, 29 October 2010

Good design, Bad design.

Today, our lecturer Jonathan Baldwin, tried a little experiment on us. Male vs female. Some of you may have heard of it, others not.
We watched a video of six people split into two groups of three. One group is wearing white t-shirts and the other group is wearing black t-shirts. Both groups were passing a basketball to each other. So everyone in the lecture had to count how many times the people in white passed the ball around between them.

Seems simple doesn't it? It was. Too simple, but there was a catch. Before Jonathan played this video though he told us something. That some people he knew discovered something - "Females cant count". So as we were all watching this video all the girls were concentrating extra hard to prove this statement wrong. During the video though there was a gorilla walking between the two groups and dancing. Surprisingly when our lecturer was asking us questions about the video there was quite a lot of people had missed the gorilla, they hadn't noticed it. Jonathan revealed to us that what he had said before about females not being able to count was a lie. He told us it so we would focus more on the video, therefore missing the gorilla.

I find this really strange but also fascinating, that some people focus so hard on something that they filter other things that are happening around them out. There was another experiment that we were told about. A bunch of people who thought they were either lucky or unlucky were asked to go through a newspaper and count how many photos of people there were in it. But in the middle of the newspaper there was a plain advertisement with no photos, just text, that said "once you see this advertisement stop counting the photos and go claim your £200". All of the unlucky people missed this advertisement because they were focusing so hard on finding the photos and all of the lucky people saw the advertisement as they were just casually looking through the paper, taking everything in.

After the lecture I thought about these experiments and about how they affect everyone. Its scary to think about what we could miss just by focusing too much. I never knew it could be possible. I've always considered myself as unlucky and to know that I would have probably been one of those that had missed the advertisement is kind of gutting. Missing out on £200 just because I was concentrating too much. So from now on I'll definitely be taking everything in. Make sure I don't miss anything that goes on around me.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Patterns in Nature: Research.

I have eventually gotten round to taking some photos of my sketchbook work so thought it was about time to post some of it on my blog.It took me quite a while deciding on what to do for this project. What kind of natural pattern I would branch off into. Branch being the important word here, I finally decided on trees. In my drawings I tried to portray a sense of pattern within the shapes and textures found in trees. Here us a little sample of some pieces of work:

In this piece I have focused on the shape of the tree and drawn it using masking tape. I then put a light wash of watercolour over the page and removed the masking tape. Last of all I added some more detail to highlight the shape using brown ink and a dip pen.

I have concentrated on the texture in this particular piece. Even though you can't see it very well I have layered masking tape to create lots of texture. I believe this worked quite well but next time I'd use more masking tape to give it a more 3d effect.

In this piece I tried to recreate the image thats stuck on the left sketchbook page. I first put down a ground by rubbing in small flakes of charcoal with some newsprint. Then I stuck down some ripped up pieces of masking tape and painted over them with some white and cream coloured paint. And after I pulled off the masking tape I was left with the effect shown in the photo above.

In this sketchbook page I first put down a painted background, then I did a left hand drawing on top using black ink and a dip pen. When I closed my sketchbook I also managed to get a mirror image printed onto the opposite page.

For this piece I applied paint using a small plastic spatula, I really liked the effect it created and the paint also dried quicker than usual which was a plus. On top of it i drew the shapes made by branches of a tree using a fine liner pen.

Assignment 1 - Annotated Bibliography.

As the last part of the first assignment, we were asked to create a bibliography for the section of “The Tipping Point” that we chose to focus in on. For me this was “The Power Of Context”. The bibliography was to be in Harvard Style, this I found quite difficult but I think I have managed it. Each of the references were also supposed to be annotated, so I'm hoping I've done it right.


Fletcher, G. (1988) A Crime of Self Defense, New York: Free Press.
  - Bernie Goetz became a symbol in New York History, when the crime problem had reached epidemic proportions. He was treated as a hero, the “Subway Vigilante”.

Rubin, L. (1986) Quiet Rage: Bernie Goetz in a Time of Madness, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  - Gladwell has included this reference as it backs up what he says about how Goetz wasn’t acting normal when approached by the four men. He acted viciously and savagely, his field of view had changed.

Massing, M. (1998) “The Blue Revolution” New York Review Of Books, pp.32-34.
  - This book has been referenced as it gives a good summary of the New York City Crime Statistics. This helps backup what Gladwell is saying about the state of the streets and the underground, and how it could only be described as chaotic.

Kelling, G. and Coles, C. (1996) Fixing Broken Windows, New York: Touchstone.
  - The Broken Windows Theory was the brainchild of James Q. Wilson and George Kelling. They believed that if a window was broken and people saw it then a sense of anarchy would spread. Minor problems would escalate into more serious crimes.

Friedman, M. (1985) My Neighbour Bernie Goetz, New York.
  - Gladwell has referenced this so he can tell the reader about the background of Bernie Goetz and provide them with some information of what he was like before the shooting.

Miller, G. (1956) “The Magical Number Seven” Psychology Reports (vol. 63, no.2)
  - This “Magic Number Seven” Miller speaks of has come about from the idea that we have some sort of limitation built into us. This is a limit that keeps our channel capacities in a general range.

Buys, C. and Larsen, K. (1979) “Human Sympathy Groups” Psychology Reports (vol.45) pp.547-553
  - This reference backs up what Gladwell says about the people on your sympathy list. The people that we devote most of our attention to, people that we have invested our time in.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Assignment 1: Mapping Meaning

Our first assigment in Design Studies was all about creating a mindmap to summarise Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point. I have to admit I was a little wary of this assigment when we were first told about it as I'm more a bullet point type of person. I found it a little hard to get into at first but after a while I managed to get the hang of it. This assignment has also helped me to condense how many notes to take as I usually make far too many and end up with pages and pages of them.

This first mindmap is a summary of what I thought were the main points in each of the chapters.

My second mindmap is a much more detailed version than the first mindmap. It is also only based on one chapter, the one I found most interesting, The Power Of Context.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Patterns in nature.

For my main project I have been looking at the patterns found within the way in which trees grow, in the shadows they create and also patterns found in their bark. So far I have been experimenting with different materials and techniques to show these patterns. Here are some examples of the photos that i've used in my sketchbook so far;