Self Progression – A Constellation Evaluation

Prior to attending Cardiff Metropolitan University I did not know of the constellation section of the course which I was going to be studying, I was not aware that I’d be writing essays or dissertations and that is probably due to me not applying until the very last minute. I was not convinced that these sessions would help me advance and improve as a Product Designer, I thought that I would just turn up and listen about something and not really interact or gain anything from the time but this was not the case.

‘Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal’ with Dr Mahnaz Shah – Term One

I remember choosing this specific group mainly due to Mahnaz saying that its almost impossible to fail the first terms essay, now that I look back I feel like I was misled in some way. The first lecture had me questioning my intelligence and why I had chosen to study at university, I found that the language and the thinking was like nothing I had experienced in High School. I began to feel more comfortable with what was being discussed in the lectures, we began to talk about Narrative within design and Dr. Mahnaz had asked us how we would tell a story through our field and I immediately thought of Form, Materials, Style and Ergonomics.

After the initial two lectures the following four sessions were located at the National Museum of Wales, I found this style of learning to be very interesting as I was able to think individually for the tasks and conjure up different thought processes that would cater to all of the design fields and not just my own. The task for each week at the museum was to define dimensions whilst linking them to both the text we were given and anything that was located within the museum, Week One is where I looked at Three Dimensions, Week Two – Two Dimensions, Week Three – One Dimension and finally Week Four where I took a look into Four Dimensions whilst making sure that the four were all phenomenal and not literal.

Throughout these four weeks I looked at the way I perceive design and most importantly a ‘Good’ design, prior to attending this constellation group I would have thought a good piece of design was something that looked aesthetically pleasing and was functioning in the way it was intended, now I see good design as something that conforms to the four dimensions that I wrote my first terms essay on – Form, Emotion, Material and Necessity. I have taken what I have learnt and implemented them into my current projects, prior to moving forward with a product that I design I first check whether they meet the criteria of these four dimensions.

Below are the four dimensions with a brief explanation: 

Form, this aspect of the design contributes immensely to market phase of Product Design, it is what an individual first notices. Emotion, as a product designer you must attempt to attract an audience that feels a connection to the design in order for them to want to buy the product. Material, a key aspect of design as it can familiarise you with the piece through previous experience and personal opinion which is key when designing something for a specific market. Necessity, how the design is beneficial to an individual’s life.

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ with Cath Davies – Term Two

The main reason for choosing this particular subject for constellation was my love for different genres of music and I thought that I’d be able to explore the culture behind some of the greatest years in both music and art.

I found that from the first lecture I was able to use the information I had learnt to help me understand design in a way that I had not before, this is always welcomed as I feel that looking into something from another angle helps shape a project with more of a structure than if it was only looked at from one perspective. The introduction to ‘Caths Columns’ has really helped me when it comes to analysing design and the purpose of the aesthetic connotations that go along with certain materials, styles and objects.

I believe that the lectures have helped me with understanding that everything that is designed and created has history that is linked through the creators choice of using the certain material, the form or the style of the ‘thing’. As a student of product design this aspect leaves me thinking about how I could easily take aspects of design from the renaissance whilst giving my product a modern twist, I think that the important thing about this for me is to be aware of what I will be doing and what connotations I will be applying to my designs in the future.

A part of the constellation lectures that I did not expect and struggled a little with were the large quantity of academic text that we had to read and take information from, I did not expect to be reading that much. I believe that the introduction to academic texts has helped me with understanding the language that is frequently used in these papers, I would like to think that I’d be able to take some of these attributes and include them in my dissertation for Level 6.

With the third term almost upon us I feel like I have the perfect opportunity to showcase what I have learnt through my work. I will have the opportunity to choose from a series of projects from the first terms one week projects to develop, I have to chance to incorporate the ideology that I have been learning about in the first two terms worth of lectures.