Design board 3 – Experimentation

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Whilst conducting research into different materials and processes, looking into what they are, what they do and contemporary uses for them, I stumbled across a designer who used upvc straws painted in polyeurethene paint to create 3d structures and models. I found the work quite inspiring, and have decided to investigate it further by experimenting using techniques that would achieve the same outcome. Obviously I could replicate the work seen in the sculptures, however I feel it would be more beneficial to investigate the methods used and develop my own through experimentation, to come up with something similar, but not the same, and get there in a different way. I believe that the UPVC structures I found are a lot larger than the modelling you will see on this board, as I will be using party straws as oppose to the UPVC pipes seen in the models.

PVC Structures, click to view



Adv: Very cheap, see through
Dis: Difficult to bond unless double sided, see through but still visible


Adv: …None?
Dis: Too chunky, very visible, impossible to combine more than two/three at a time in any kind of orderly fashion

Pritt stick

The first adhesive I used was an ordinary glue stick. This was probably the cheapest next to string out of the adhesives I chose. Applying the glue was easy. However, getting two straws to stick together and stay stuck together was not. The glue was weak even when dry, and getting to a dry state took so long that it wouldn’t be worth using it if I was constructing a model out of this material.

Adv: , easy to apply, cheap, invisible when dry
Dis: Quite a weak bond

Super glue

Adv: incredibly strong bond, invisible when dry
Dis: potential to glue everything to your fingers, expensive compared to the alternatives

Here is the board based on my findings:




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Just doing some research to get a better understanding of the subjects I need to talk about in my essay.

Jenkins on Participatory Culture

This may come in handy

The Civic and Political Significance of Online Participatory Cultures among Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

Found this book which talks about the challenges of participatory culture in the 21st century

Confronting the challenges of participatory culture in the 21st century

This book may help me understand political satire a bit better.  Not the full book, its a shame that there are no visual examples

Political Satire and its Censorship around the world

I’ll use this to define political satire in my essay


Again not a full book, but this may help me

Defending Politics

This has a lot of visual representation for what I want to talk about so it could come in handy

Doomed by Cartoon

Plenty to read from that! I should have a very clear idea about what I want to write by the time I get to writing the essay. Once I have read through all of this I will start looking for relevant sources to put into my essay, if I don’t find anything worth using out of these anyway!


Design Board 2 – Materials and Processes research

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After finishing the first board, the next had to show research into materials and processes. Luckily, I did a lot of work at Sixth Form studying materials and processes for product design, so I drew most of my information from old notes and my own knowledge to fill in the information (which we were told to keep brief). I focused on the visual aspect, namely the division of the page for the information and imagery I had to portray. I decided to be conventional by splitting the page in two, paying attention to keeping proportions, sizes and distances at relatively equal amounts.

Considering background knowledge, I chose three materials that I had a great deal of knowledge about – PVC, Aluminium and Paper. I also chose Carbon Fiber, as I wanted to find out a bit more about it and whether there were any contemporary uses for the material. Unfortunately I found very little contemporary work on this material, but it was worth researching.

For processes, again I chose four that I knew quite a lot about already – Die cutting, screen printing, blow molding and laser cutting were all methods of production that I had either studied in depth. or had the opportunity to use in practical work. I was quite glad that I was actually given the chance draw on things that i’d learned 2 years previously, for one of the first times since I left sixth form.

Here is the finished board using the template I made:


Essay Plan

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I have planned my essay thus, based on the ideologies and theories connected with my piece:

Introduction (approx. 100 words)

What am I trying to do with this essay? Situate the mash up.

Introduction of key terms and ideas (approx. 700 words)

Political satire has been a key feature of media consumption for a long time. Stark examples of this culture is evident in newspapers and magazines dating back to to the Great War
Participatory culture – new way of consumption for everyone.
Fandom – Something that everyone does, making it morally acceptable.
Copyright violation – mash up culture and authorship.

Introduction of the case study (approx. 200 words)

The case study I have chosen involves a photo manipulation of a cabinet minister at a fuel station, encapsulating the public dismay over rises in petrol taxation. George Osborne is being shown to literally pickpocket money from taxpayers, in the same kind of way the public see the rise in fuel tax affecting them. More specifically, my case study is centred on the 5p tax hike introduced in January 2013; a tax increase that was going to happen, then assured it would not, but nonetheless happened anyway.

[IMAGE HERE (fig.1)]

Analysis of the case study (approx. 800 words)

Talk about the key ideas aforementioned in the second paragraph, and how the public would interpret the image in terms of those ideologies.

Conclusion (approx. 200 words)

A summary of the key points, referring back to the original hypothesis.


References to any quotes, case studies etc. used in the text.

Golden Ratio

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During a lecture it was brought to my attention that the metrics of my website were a bit off balance when you consider the golden ratio. This is a standard ratio that proportionally distributes the width of the browser between the left and the right, giving you a visually perfect and proportionally accurate sidebar.

I worked out the pixel ratio for my width, and then translated this into percentage values so that my website would remain responsive.

golden ratio calc

The golden ratio has given me more space on the left, and because the sliders i’ve been looking at have been primarily landscape, it fits a lot better.

golden ratio


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In order to display and convey the content for each project type, I needed to find a slider that would allow me to portray thumbnail images of each project, and a main image. As planned, this main image would then be linkable to a page which would be used to discuss the project in detail if the user wished to find out more.

I searched for days trying to find a slider that looked exactly like the one on the designs given to me at the beginning of the project. Alas, I could not find one like this that had its own scrolling area. I decided to look at a few that had thumbnail scrollers or at least displayed more than one image at a time so that the user would know that there were more images than just the one they could see.

The first one I found was this: jquery Boxslider (below). As you can see, it looked awful. The thumbails weren’t big enough, the parameters just didn’t exist so I could barely change anything to make it suit my needs, and it just didn’t function as well as i’d hoped.

project slider2

The next was this resposive thumbnail gallery. Although it functioned well, it was, unfortunately, just a thumbnail gallery. There was no central or main image to focus on, although I could still link these to a main page which was the idea of the project page in the first place.


The Refineslide slider was one of the most visually appealing i’d found in my hunt. It allowed me to add html links, captions, all sorts. However, as you can see there is a distinct lack of thumbnails. It seemed as though I could find really good examples of both, but not together in the same slider!


I decided to take a different approach, and look for something like this (below). This is CoolCarousel. You see previews of the image before and after the main image, and there are navigational buttons to switch through slides and cycle through. The transitions weren’t brilliant, and the fact you could only see three at a time was a bit disappointing, however it was probably the strongest contender so far, and certainly one of the ones i’d planned to pitch to my client.


I found another similar slider, and incorporated it into a project page to see how it faired. Without actual images the visual appeal wasn’t strong, but the transitions were good.

project slider3

After many hours/days of searching, I finally found this slider (below). It’s called Elastislide, and contains a thumbnail gallery where the thumbnails link to the main image, which changes upon clicking any thumbnail image. Showing this to my client, he preferred this over any of the others. I began incorporating it into the site, but despite it being visually pleasing, coding it was a nightmare. It was virtually impossible to turn an image into a link. A function so simple, but impossible to word around the code used to allow the slider to function. This was disappointing, but I persuaded my client to allow me to search for a premium slider rather than a free one, giving us more flexibility as well as the increased likelihood of  locating a slider that does everything we want it to do.

project slider

Design board 1 – Design Museum Research [Template board]

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Firstly, I created a blank template board on which to display my findings and other work related to this assignment.


I then used the information (particularly the plaques that went with each piece) I discovered at the Design Museum, to create a board of research based on my findings. For this board, I chose to focus on Ted Noten’s ‘Tiara for Maxima’, Benjamin Lignel’s ‘Thinking of you’ and Susanne Klemm’s ‘Frozen’, simply because these were my favourites out of the collection I had photographed on the day.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information about the making of two of the three, so I emailed the designers directly before I republished this post, so click here to see this information.

I had to hand draw each piece that I was talking about – I haven’t got the best illustrative skills, but I tried as hard as I could!

Susanne Klemm – Frozen

photo (4)

Benjamin Lignel – Thinking of You

photo (3)

Ted Noten – Tiara for Maxima

photo (5)

Here is the finished board:


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