An Interesting Thought.

I believe that I am finally beginning to understand this study group, the first week really took me back and I felt as though I had chosen the wrong thing to learn about. I actually wrote a post about the first week but I took it down as I thought it was extremely vague and to be honest, I didnt really know what to think about it. 

The past two sessions I have really began to engage more and truly understand what has been said, what a surprise, these two sessions were directed towards Product Design and Products in general. When we talk about sustainability I laugh because of what we are currently being taught in our ‘Manufacturing Processes’ lectures (check out my posts on these). In these study group lectures we are being told about sustainability and how important it is to look at the bigger picture when designing a product, to look at not only the materials and the processes taken to create parts but the sustainability of the social aspect, what does this product destroy when making something simpler or cutting out a process previously used in history. 

Product designers are being taught about Injection Moulding, , a process that is the complete opposite of sustainable, we are being taught how to use these processes to our advantage without being given the freedom to think of a more sustainable method of manufacture. It is almost like we are being taught not to think about other ways of manufacturing, like Product Design students have not creative freedom when thinking about a product they want to design and make.

I recommend you read Todd’s blog post titled ‘Time to take a breath’ – where he explains the problem of designing without freedom very well.

Shall we get on with explaining these activities? 

We began talking about the sustainability of socialising and how products destroy as well as ease the life of its user, the example given to us was a small town called Levittown, this was the first town post World War II to symbolise suburbanization. Now rather than using a communal washing area, this being in the 1950s each household was given a new washing machine, this then gave each household no reason for using the communal washing area in turn completely destroying the social aspect of that task, this isolated each household from that one activity.

I am not explaining it fully but that is the gist of it.

Our task was to map the ways in which an object has changed the social relationships through being adopted or owned.

• On demand TV. (our object)

Below is the slide that we presented:


The next task following the first asked for our group to then Redirect the object so it changed social relationships for the better

What we came up with:


The final task was a lot more interesting yet surprisingly simple to comprehend, seeing as we looked at objects chosen for us we were asked to choose our our object, take a look at the advantaged and disadvantaged then redirect for the better.

This is what we came up with:


I really enjoyed this study group session, I believe that I am now beginning to understand that there is not only one or two forms of sustainability, Sarah mentioned that one of the key forms that is sometimes overlooked is the social relationship, it is interesting to me coming from Product Design because I dont really hear much about how a product can be bad for a persons social relationship with other people, an example of this being the fact that only a one week project was spent looking at Human Centred Design or User Centred Design. I also think it is interesting that the other forms of sustainability are being talked about but not this form, perhaps if we spoke about this and we were taught more about thinking about this, would products be better? would they be more advanced, more thought about.

It is an interesting thought indeed.