Aggiornato il: 30 giu 2019
Me, my journal, my process of thinking and my attempt to order my thoughts on paper
In my previous design career I wasn't aware of the benefits and importance of keeping a record of my design processes from start to finish. However as I look back over the journal I have kept since starting this course I can now clearly see my process from a critical point of view and I can appreciate the lessons I learned along the journey.
After my Research Sharing exhibition in February 2019 I took a break from practical work and I set the intention to clarify my process and methodology by writing about it. It was here that I first truly felt the positive affect on my work through the process of analysis and written documentation.
I discovered that writing by hand in a free intuitive manner without constraints meant that I could really begin to analyse my methods. I also feel connection between my hand, my mind and my heart when writing freely and roughly.
Subsequently I can take the time to arrange and edit these writings into tidier journal posts, which gives me further opportunity to refine and shape my ideas. This also gave me a chance to build my structure, documenting my aim, materials, process, problems and questions concluding with the outcome and following steps.
As someone that has many experiments and ideas working simultaneously, often discarding those that aren't working, keeping a journal has allowed me to set priorities and return to ideas that I had previously put to one side. It is also useful to remind myself how a project has been developed and, if I were to do it again, steps I could do differently.
In my previous career I always worked in a deadline-driven environments, however I have found it more challenging to work without a brief, ultimately playing role of both designer and client. The process of documenting my work has been essential in providing a linear representation of my process and allowing me to ask myself questions about why I am doing a particular thing, for who it is supposed to benefit or what effect something would have on a wider society.
Learning from my journal: tidy journal, tidy mind
While experimenting in the studio I need access to a variety of tools and materials to quickly be able to prototype ideas that come to me. This can result in a slightly chaotic work environment, with refashioned objects and scrap materials littering the workbench.
On one level, the habit of keeping a journal has meant that I have had to slow down a bit, in a positive way. If a quick experiment such as this one proves not to be useful in a particular project that I'm working on at that time, the fact I have it documented means once it is disassembled and forgotten about, I can always refer back to it.
I believe it is very important to step back from a project and "let it breathe". I don't see this as a waste of time, rather as a time to sediment and rest for a while. Revisiting a project after a while gives me the opportunity to consider it with a fresh critical perspective. If the sensations and thoughts seem convergent with my aim, then I can have the confidence to proceed, or decide whether a different approach is needed.
The importance of a journal in this respect is to be able to review my aims and thoughts, particularly when revisiting a particular theme or design.
For example, one of my final prototypes makes use of the light effect created when light is shone through a metal pipe. I have documented this technique in various posts such as this post from my interim show in 2018 and this post from the Research Sharing in February 2019.
Intuition and structure
Intuition is an important and ubiquitous part of my work and me. Sometimes I can't explain why I am doing something, I just feel that it's right. This way of working is great in some respects – as a trained eye and instinct for proportions and materials etc are very important skills for a designer.
However, I have found that the structure and answers that a well-maintained journal can demand from me during my process, serve to improve my concepts and decisions.