Design Factory – Looking at the brief and making notes

This blog post is going to be a note-based/research one focusing on the brief I will be working on for the next few weeks, the Design Factory 2012/13.

The K College I was set I have quoted from: Follow the Design Factory Brief exactly, down to submission rules etc. You must submit to us on Friday 8th March at 10am (so we have time to email the entries to the competition). We suggest that you work out a brief that is to do with sustainable packaging OR type in the environment, such as signage or things like Why Not Associates Comedy Carpet and Flock of Words. If you have another idea you may negotiate with us as early as possible. ANY finals MUST include type as that is what you will be graded on.

The Student Brief set by the Design Factory can be seen here. One of the things it states is that I need to visit a particular exhibition to form the research for my first PDF board. I saw Unexpected Pleasures, The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery, of which my blog post about that trip can be read here.

Below are the notes I made from a session where one of our tutors went through the brief with us:


  • 4 research boards, to be sent as PDF’s.
  • The research boards are to be A4 sized.
  • The file size must be below 5MB.
  • The written proposal is to be separate. > most likely sent as a .doc file.
  • Boards should be numbered.
  • Name and Institution Name should be provided on every board. (Alex Greenhead/University of Kent at K College.
  • Boards must be sent to
  • Deadline is noon, Monday 11th March 2013. (However, K College want their project submitted the previous Friday, as only a set amount of the group’s work will be sent off)

Research Board tips: Each board is a design in its own right, so they must look good, being uniform and logical, and must contain a decent dose of creativity.

Board 1 – Exhibition Response:

  • A mixture of photography and sketching will work well.
  • 3 pieces are to be analysed.
  • Critically analyse them. How are they made and what does this do to the final piece?
  • Make content relevant, being careful to ensure that we are doing graphic design, and the brief will favour product design.

Board 2 – Identify and research materials/processes:

  • This is where the Kurt Schwitters exhibition may be of help with different materials/processes being used. My write-up about that can be read here.
  • The use of the word ‘industrial’ in the brief means that any design must be able to be batch or mass-produced.
  • Focus on experimental stuff, remember ideologies, and talk about processes used.

Boards 3 + 4 – Design Development:

  • By this stage the brief will be created and the written proposal completed.
  • Provide a concise description of the brief.
  • Ideally the design should be linked into the first couple of research boards produced.
  • Identify the audience of the design – maybe use personas as an example?
  • Personas: Imaginary ‘real people’ who would be the audience for a design.
  • Things need to be labelled, not too much text should be needed.
  • Board 4 should focus mainly on the final design.
  • While creating the boards, making will need to be done to allow for the photographs of the prototype to be added to the boards.

Ideas: I have had a few ideas, although I am not entirely sure how suitable they are. I will now need to spend some time developing ideas and assessing their suitability to the criteria I need to meet.

  • Potentially provide a ‘craft’ experience with packaging, but one that is produced industrially.
  • Packaging that is exclusive, high-quality and up-market for an equally similar product that is accessible to everybody. This would draw on the fact that customers want the most for their money, and why can’t they buy something that appears out of their reach but isn’t?
  • Artists books were mentioned, and I could use one to promote my work in, but I am not sure that this would count, as it would not be industrially produced.
  • An ‘art’ box with type and imagery on the outside, that is environmentally friendly, and can fold out to reveal a set of random objects which are environmentally friendly, which could be used for art projects etc… this would test the creativity of the buyer, I guess it could be like a challenge with people pushing the boundaries.
  • Printing on unusual materials for me as a graphic designer, say wood, or fabric.

My personal thoughts:

  • I think this product will be a difficult challenge as a prototype needs to be produced, which will not benefit me as a graphic designer, I have not really branched out into making prototypes and with the limited skills in this area, I may not be able to produce a design as good as someone else, even if I can think it up in my head.
  • Time scale, at best I will have a month to work on this project, others may have had several more than me, so it will be difficult to produce a great design in less time that meets all the criteria, including the additional criteria of type from the K College side of the brief.
  • Despite this, I will be trying my best to do well, as my interest in design, including my influences do extend beyond graphics.