Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Today Ben Freeman from Ditto Press came to do a workshop with us in relation to our research methodologies we use in our personal practice. 


Your task is to develop your own research methodology and find a way to communicate that. It could take the form of a meta-project, or it could be more pragmatic and rounded in reality.

The important thing to develop in this project is a clear and defined way of looking at the world, filtering it and editing what you find to fit your interests and working practice.

Most successful designers have finely honed methodologies and this is your chance to really explore your own.


From this we went away in groups, and discussed how we each research and begin working on a brief, making note of the methods used.

My initial list is shown below:

- Read the brief
- Pull out tone of voice, audience and background details
- Pull out initial thoughts
- Library
- Internet (Pintrest, Google, Behance, etc)
- Studio Visits, Print Visits
- Exhibitions and Events
- Interviews/Reading Articles
- Photography (Primary and Secondary)
- Conversations with peers, tutors, target audience.
- Definitions
- Blog (Blogger, Tumblr)
- Surveys, Questionnaires
- Research into process, materials and production with experimentation
- Experimenting with stock, processes, binding, etc
- Sketches, handdrawn type/imagery
- Painting, Colour Matching, etc
- Sourcing photographers, relevant designers, context

I found that from this when discussed in a group, we all had very similar methods listed. Ben reiterated the aim was to push ourselves out of that comfort zone, and build on a methodology which can be applied to each brief in order to gain an interesting outcome. I usually work very visually, especially when researching and tried to make this focus within my methodology.

Further ideas were derived, such as:

- Collect at least 50 images from 5 different magazines.
- Take 10 photos a day of the subject topic/things which remind you of the topic and collate these on a blog.
- Create a research journal/mood board (ever changing, shows thought and refinement over time).

From this the group then went into a crit with Ben, where we exchanged ideas and discussed how these methods can be refined and specified over time, and act as a starting point for a way of working with each brief, as well as allowing for more innovative ideas.

Below shows a list of the ideas talked about during the crit:

- Method Acting
- Mood Boards
- Visual Mind Maps
- 'Cut Out' Technique
- Using random words with chosen words from the brief, to create new ideas.
- Links to science, theory, history, culture or art for example.
- Create an idea a day book
- Think of the brief in the perspective of someone/something else

I feel by the end of the day I gained a much clearer insight into more unusual ways of working, and do feel this will be beneficial throughout the remainder of the year, and afterwards also, however I feel my own personal methodology needs working on more and refining before putting into action.

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