Sunday, 18 March 2012

Whitespace, Edinburgh.

Last week we had a talk from Iain Valentine creative director at Whitespace a design agency based in Edinburgh. Whitespace create and manage brands, build effective integrated campaigns and design websites. Some of their work includes the Fringe catalogues and Tennents adverts.

He told us about his journey from studying at DJCAD to working at Whitespace where he is today. He shared with us some advice on how to become a successful designer and rules to follow. Before you begin you will need curiosity, kindness, stamina and a willingness to look stupid. Here are the rules:

1. Do more than what you’re told to do.
2. Try new things.
3. Teach others about what you know.
4. Make work into play.
5. Take breaks.
6. Work when others are resting.
7. Always be creative.
8. Love what you do.


The main thing that I took away from this lecture is that hard work and being a good person will get you far. Even though sometimes if I feel like I’m struggling I’ll just have to work through it and have faith that it will become clear sooner or later as long as I keep working. Watch this video it makes sense!






Judging by the amount of questions asked everyone seemed to really enjoy the talk. Once again it was great to have someone in from industry to talk to us even if it wasn’t from my discipline, I still find it interesting to hear a persons story of how they got to where they are today, it makes me think that it’ll be alright in the end.

Design & the Market: Marketing & Social Media Strategy.

Friday’s workshop was all about marketing. Marketing is described as a management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. This workshop was based around book for form the ‘NESTA’ toolkit.

The Marketing Mix is commonly known for its four Ps; Product, Place, Price and Promotion but in some cases People, Process and Physical Environment are also included. Worksheet 4a is to clarify the ways that you can market your product/service to do this you have to fill in the 7Ps. As I mentioned on my previous blog I need to find out how much a designer would normally charge for their service therefore my ‘Price’ space is still empty. In class we each read aloud our ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ and all discovered they were not unique to our business. I have tried to amend mine and hopefully I have gotten a little closer.



I thought worksheet 4b was really fun as the things I must do are things I really need to get done now, I have given myself a time scale so hopefully I’ll stick to it!



Next Friday is our last ‘NESTA’ toolkit workshop for the year!

Design & the Market: Identifying Customers, Blueprint Modelling & Relationship Modelling.

After reading book three of the ‘NESTA’ toolkit ‘Choosing Your Path’ our workshop went over it in more detail and we filled in the worksheets provided.

Firstly we needed to identify potential customers for our business, if we can’t imagine or don’t know who they are then they won’t exist! My customer group would be business owners perhaps about to open a restaurant or shop. I found this sheet quite easy to fill out I particularly liked drawing a picture of my customer. However I did find the bottom section a little tricky as I’m not sure how much designers usually charge for their work and how many people in the area would be interested in the work I would offer. I feel that more experience and talking to people in industry would give me a better understanding of this.



The next stage was ‘Blueprint Modelling’ which is designed to help visualise how the business will function and describe how business will be done. As my business plan is to start an Interior Design company specialising in interior branding I felt most of my stages were similar to what I already do when carrying out a project. All the items in the ‘Backstage’ section; researching, reading, sketching, developing ideas, getting feedback, are all things I do now. The items in the ‘Onstage’ section I also do now but instead of doing them for a client they are for my tutor.



The next image is the map of my blueprint model including all the steps needed to deliver my service.



‘Relationship Modelling’ identifies the relationships needed to make the necessary steps when running a business happen. For example I may need to employ someone in P.R. to attract clients for me, I will probably need to employ staff or have a partner to produce designs and share the work load. When distributing my product I will need to hire builders and other contactors to carry out the final stages and build my design which is my finished product.



The business I have been working on for the past few weeks is not one I will start up straight after university as I feel I would like to work for someone to gain experience but I’m really enjoying the workshops. As the weeks go by and we’ve been filling in the worksheets they have made me focus and think in more detail about the types of things you must think about before starting a business.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Design & the Market: Evidence Modelling and Fake Evidence.

Last Friday using the ‘NESTA’ toolkit our workshop was on ‘Evidence Modelling’, ‘Fake Evidence’ and ‘SWOT’.

I have only ever done a ‘SWOT Analysis’ before but not on myself so this workshop was very interesting. I found the ‘Evidence Modelling’ a little tricky at first as I didn’t have a business plan; I think this task is more difficult when basing it on an individual, not a business. After discussing it with others in the class however I found it a lot easier. I began to think of myself as the business and managed to complete the sheet. I’m still not sure if its 100% correct but I will post my results below. I think this task will be useful not only if I’m setting up my own business but for future interior projects. It’s a great way to identify exactly what you’re doing, why it’s relevant and what problems it might face.





After we’d thought about our business we had to create ‘Fake Evidence’ for it. To do this you need to think of your business as a success. ‘Fake Evidence’ is basically a persuasive visual argument of your idea. As I want to be a successful interior designer having my work featured in an established design magazine would show my success. I would love to have my work feature in ‘Frame’ magazine or on its website so I made a mock up web page using some of my university work to create my ‘Fake Evidence.’





Lastly I completed a ‘SWOT Analysis’ about myself. This is quite a good way to solve problems as it gets you thinking about what opportunities are out there to improve upon weaknesses instead of ignoring them.




I think these tasks were all very useful as they get you to take the time to examine yourself and whatever it is that you’re doing properly and figure out what you should be doing or what you should do next.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Design & the Market: Scottish Institute for Enterprise.

Last week Dawn Shand from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) was our guest speaker.



I had never heard of SIE before, it is a company dedicated to helping students create their own business. It turns students into entrepreneurs by supporting, inspiring and encouraging them every step of the way.

In the lecture she showed us an image of a park and asked us to think of they type of business we could start up in this park and what products or services we would offer. Everyone came up with brilliant ideas that could be turned into real money making businesses. For example an umbrella stand when it’s raining, a stand selling ready made picnic baskets, exercise classes….the list went on. If you find a need for something then it will sell and you can make a business from that need.

She said that if you’re looking for a dream job why not create your own. At the moment I don’t want to set up my own business I believe my dream job exists I just need to be hired by the company, which hopefully one day I will! However it is good to know that there is help for students out there to turn them into real entrepreneurs and give them the best chance to make their business a success.

Design & the Market: Values and Mission Statements.

For our first group tutorial with our mentor we were asked to complete worksheet 2a from the ‘NESTA’ toolkit. This worksheet gets us thinking about our values and which values are most and least important to us. Here is an image of my final sheet below.



I then went on to write a mission statement. I looked online at some tips for writing a mission statement most are aimed to help businesses. I am writing one about myself but felt that the tips were still quite relevant. A mission statement should sum up who I am, what I do, why I do it and what I stand for and. I then wrote the following mission statement about myself;

‘I am an interior and environmental designer with a love for advertising and branding that I have yet to explore in more depth. I want to create spaces that are fun and exciting unusual from those we see in our day to day lives. I don’t want to live in a mundane world I want to be part of making the ordinary extra ordinary. Putting a smile on someone’s face would be a great bonus.’

After reading book 2 of the ‘NESTA’ toolkit and discussing my mission statement with my mentor I realise it needs to be tweaked a little. The most powerful mission statements are short and sweet. Richard Branson’s mission statement for Virgin Atlantic was;

 ‘To grow a profitable airline where people love to fly and where people love to work’

I’m going to try to think of my mission statement as my tagline, a few words that will some me up. People tend to lose interest in reading something that’s more than 60 words long anyway so the shorter and more to the point the better.

Looking back at my previous mission statement I have tried to sum it up in fewer words.

‘I’m an interior designer with a love of branding, aiming to create colourful, exciting spaces to make people smile.’

 I still think I will need to work on this over the semester. Hopefully as we go through the workshops and I get to know myself a little better the task will become easier.

Design & the Market: Assignment 2.

Design and the Market Assignment 2 asks us to write a 1,500- 2,000 word enterprise proposal that will outline work to be carried out further over the summer break. This proposal will then be developed into a 7000 word report. This report will either be; an in depth business plan, market research for the development of a product/service or analysis of a particular business market or model. I will most likely analyse a particular business market as I am not yet interested in setting up my own business.

In the next few weeks I will be reading the booklets from the ‘NESTA Creative Enterprise Toolkit’ and completing the worksheets. We will take part in workshops as part of the course to get us to focus on starting our own business and looking at a potential markets/business within which we want to be an employee. Even although I don’t want to set up my own business right now the skills that I will learn will be useful in the future when I may consider starting up a business of my own. The workshops are to get us to focus on our strengths and weaknesses, identify why we want to be designers, how we market ourselves and who our potential market is. I’m hoping that these workshops will force me to sit down and take the time to learn more about myself and what I want out of my course and in turn make me more employable.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Starbucks Fukuoka.

Another eye catching and unusual 'Starbucks' store has opened, this time in Fukuoka, Japan. Kengo Kuma the architects of the V&A Dundee project are behind the stores design.

The area of the store- which opened in late December last year- had a great impact on the final design. As it is on the road to a Japanese deity shrine Kengo Kuma wanted to ensure they didn’t upset the historical nature of the area therefore kept their materials and techniques quite traditional. Even although it is traditional and not intrusive it still has a modern look about it. He over laps 6cm squared blocks, some are suspended and some are also functional and act as a support for the ceiling. These overlapping blocks are similar to branches overlapping in a forest. The cafĂ© is supposed to feel as though it is nestled in a tree making the customer be at one with nature. The use of these blocks add a sustainable value to the building as the blocks can be recycled or the building can be dismantled and rebuilt in another location!







I love these unique Starbucks coffee shops that have been created recently. They’re different from the norm and each other but still manage to keep the brand recognisable to customers using more subtle measures. It’s also good to see that they’re thinking about the environment and the shops surroundings by once again using environmentally friendly materials and learning about the local area before designing. Check out my other blog on the Starbucks in a shipping container in Washington.