Monthly Archives: November 2009

The 12 Mums of Christmas


I’m taking advantage of my festive mood and blogging about Dundee’s Overgate campaign – ‘The 12 Mums of Christmas’. I was starting my Christmas shopping the other day when I first noticed the large advert posted along the outside of an unopened shop. I think I must have walked past the ad maybe 5 times just so I could count the 12 mum’s and every time it made me smile!

I’m not a mum myself but it still had the desired effect on me, with each character of ‘The Mum’ you could see how the Overgate was saying it could meet their needs. In my opinion it was a very clever idea – a twist on the traditional ’12 days of Christmas’.

Throughout the centre I would occasional see a different ‘Mum’ character, and as if I was a kid again I’d look forward to seeing another of those 12 characters. It’s a great advertising technique, putting emotion into the design will create a memory; reflective design; it gets the message through effectively and quite simply, pleasing.

Christmas Spirit


I’m a sucker for Christmas! Like most people are at this time of year; whether it’s for the time off work, seeing your distant relatives or if your just in it for the presents! We’re all guilty off it, I mean who wouldn’t welcome an over sized, perfectly wrapped gift with a huge grin and a rush of excitement?

I’d like to think that I love Christmas for it’s atmosphere, its generosity and it’s ability to just make me smile but sometimes I think, would it still feel the same if receiving presents was a thing of the past? Would I still have a smile on my face if I never received an unexpected gift that I secretly wanted but was unsure to ask for? Or would I still feel the loving atmosphere if there wasn’t presents to give and receive? There has been a worry that we are all becoming too materialised at Christmas time, it’s all about the consumption of products, but without this would Christmas still be the Christmas we know?
I do hate to say this as I don’t want to sound materialistic but I suppose its the world we’ve been brought up in? Sometimes I think nothing of it and see no harm in it but when I hear of the accidents due to “Black Friday” it does make me think. I had maybe heard of Black Friday once or twice before our lecture a week or so ago and had not known much about it. In the lecture we were told that the Guardian reported there was a fatality in Wal-Mart because of the “out-of control” crowd built up in the store causing a stampede due to the Black Friday sale. They actually broke down the door so that they could shop for the best bargains! That’s the greedy side of Christmas, it’s hard to accept that it’s all part of the spirit of Christmas when it goes to those extremes. Still I’m sure it’s many people’s defense.

I think though that everyone, deep down, still knows the meaning of Christmas even if its shown in less conventional ways. But it always makes you smile when you see someones face light up because you got the present right, or the over indulgent feeling your get after the Christmas roast, somehow knowing that you still have room for one more chipolata and even when your embarrassing relatives suggest a game of Charades – you love it really!

It’s all part of it and I put my hands up and admit, I’ll be starting my indulgence tomorrow! (1st Dec) – you can’t forget the advent calender craze!

Social Networking


The world in which we call ‘social networking’ seems to be growing more and more into our lives, whether this is a positive thing is up to you to decide but you can’t disagree that an epidemic has spread.

Social networking is one of the best ways for word of mouth to start. Millions and millions of people log on to blogs and networking sites everyday such as Facebook and Twitter, each browsing their own interests, perhaps coming across something that catches their eye, they post it as a blog and suddenly 50 or more people know about it.

Advertisers have caught on to this growing fanatic and know that this is one way you can reach the public. But instead of just posting a blog about their latest product or deals many have came up with more innovative approaches.

The first time that Tmobile’s adverts emerged on TV they perhaps didn’t know that it would soon take them into the networking community. If you remember their adverts that asked passers by on the street what they would do if they had free texts for life, and one guy suggested that he’d text everyone he knew get them all together and have a massive jam. This guy was Josh Ward and T-mobile suggested that if he did create a ‘super band’ that they would like to follow him around and see how it goes. So it started! Josh set up a networking site on myspace. Allowed people to join him online and join the band, everyone told their friends to get online and join Josh’s band. He posted a song that people could learn to sing or play on their instrument, he set up dates for tours around Britain and he managed to create this ‘super band’ that was once a just a suggestion on the advert for T-mobile…

…and now i am goin to partake in the act we call word of mouth by telling you to follow Josh’s Band and see how he gets on!…

This technique whether deliberate or not was a result of word of mouth because of the the media frenzy we live in. It shows how much potential the Internet provides in order to advertise yourself as well as products, which leads me on to one person who takes great advantage of this service. Johanna Basford.

Johanna is an artist/ illustrate/ print maker that designs hand drawn patterns and motifs all in black and white. Her work is intricate and very beautiful, you can see how much effort she puts in it; however to broaden her clientele she joined Twitter and created a fantastic networking way to do so. She had the idea of the Twitter Picture, it involved people suggesting lots of different thing for her to draw within a certain time limit – was about 3 days – and in the end she produced a fantastic print and huge recognition! She planned to sell 100 limited edition prints of the Twitter Picture and gave 25% off to those who had a suggestion drawn into it. What better way to entice buyers, they were a part of the design and would want to show it off, plus a discount! Bonus! She managed to advertise herself aswell as producing a profit, took a simple idea and the help of networking and she created a success.

It’s encouraging to see the possibilities of networking approached in such a creative way. I think that there is still a lot of potential surrounding this world of networking that can help designers and those who are still students broaden their horizons pushing a little further every time so that we don’t end up going backwards and misssing this opportunity.

Or maybe not? You might think that Bebo, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are taking over our lives and eventually people will only communicate through the net, by leaving a comment on your blog. Lets hope we use it sensibly!

Annotated Bibliography


Assignment 3


COLLINS, Dan. 2007-2008. Social Networking for Learning Communities. Fate in Review. 29 27-39.

In this article, the potential of social networking for the ‘foundation art studio’ and how to make use of it is discussed. Explaining how the Internet and many of its features such as blogs can open up and highlight successful ways of networking. It strongly encourages the idea of social networking as it has its advantages to the art and design community.

FOGG, B.J. 2009. The Rules of Persuasion. RSA Journal. 155 (5538 June) 24-29.

In this journal article it highlights the idea that technology, such as social- networking, is becoming more and more persuasive. With this it allows you to pin point certain aspects of say your business, find out what is preventing it from growing and then apply your persuasion to the networking community.

GEER, J. G. GEER, J. H. 2003. Remembering Attack ADS. Political Behaviour. 25 69-95.

This article explores the reasons why certain methods of advertisement sticks more than others. Its takes a more political route into campaigning but explores the same principles as design advertising would. It talks about aggressive advertisement versus positive advertisement; comparing the success of each and whether one produces a better success than the other.

LOVETT, G. 2009. Google urges colleges to exploit digital design and social networking. Design Week. 24 (17) 4.

This journal article looks at research into social networking between colleges and universities. It will allow you to see at what research has already been looked at, in this case, research into finding ways of communicating with different audiences in a network of people. It talks about using networking sites, such as Facebook, to their full potential in order to network successfully.

NORMAN, D. 2004. Emotional Design. New York: Basic Books

This book explores the meaning of designs, how attractive things are perhaps better things. The idea that new things are not necessary a better design and that people respond better to designs that don’t complicate our emotions. Good design is design that we can easily relate to.

SYLAVAIN, L. 2008. Reading Generation Next. Applied Arts. 23 (Mar-Apr) 40-53.

This article relates a lot to the idea that advertising has to be stick in order for it to work. It explores the idea that the world is changing and so are generations so ad companies must adapt. Finding ways to connect to their audience, primarily the younger generation, such as becoming a part of the social network that is taking over the Internet. This is how this generation communicates so getting on the same wave lengths is a start to getting through to their audience. Techniques develop once this fundamental idea is met such and interaction with the sites and networks which encourages word of mouth which then makes it successful and sticky!

Design Websites

Society of British Interior Designers

Industrial Design Today

New Designers Website

WIRED Magazine

Wallpaper Website

Studio Unbound Twitter page

Other Websites

BBC News

Red Jotter

Science News from New Scientist

YouTube – Always finding something interesting on there.

LIFE Website

Ambigious Furniture?


Is a chair really a chair if you use it to stand on to change a light bulb or is a coffee table still a coffee table if you use it to rest your feet on? Does a piece of furniture become something different when it’s function changes?

I’m currently exploring this idea of mis-use of furniture and how people really use there chairs and tables or any other piece of furniture. Anything from using a chair as a place to dump your clothes, how you physically sit on your chair, to perhaps using your bed as a trampoline! These ideas and insights into people’s relationships with furniture will be interesting research for my project to design a piece of furniture and produce a finished piece.

Love this simple design by Philippe Malouin – The Hanger Chair, shows the subversion of furniture.

The Attitude Chair by Deger Cengiz is just another way to express how people really use their furniture – its quirky yet simple. Smart design.

The Todd Stool by Llot Llov, you know how hanging clothes up can be a pain, make use of your laziness and just dump them in the Todd stool making a comfy cushion! Clever!

This ones just in for fun! The Constant Shaker by Alice Wang is part of the range of Chairs for the Dysfunctional. It counts your loss of calories as you fidget, Brilliant!

So if anyone has any comments or photos of how they use there furniture, that may be useful to me, would be much appreciated!



As our first project in second year we got to experience working as a group, this experience is the start to understanding the real world of design as we will find ourselves in many situations where we must learn to work as a team. In other words I found it very beneficial!

We were to design an exhibition space in the DCA Centrespace based on Juteopolis. Verdant Works were involved and although they are an exhibition of this topic we were to come up with a designers take on the theme.

We worked together to research the themes of Juteopolis (the history of the Jute industry in Dundee) and found that the interesting facts all seemed to point at the idea of connections in the industry. Everyone was connected and knew each other because of the jute. Families lived in close quarters, literally living on top of one another in the tenements. Neighbours became your family and your co-workers your best friends.

We took this idea and developed it further. The was an average number of people that stayed in one house – 8 – and at that there was sometimes only one room! This brought us to the idea of there being 8 objects in the room that connect to each other in some way. Over lapping and occupying each others space as it represents that idea in the tenements.

As part of the brief we were design the exhibition so that it travels and is sustainable as Jute is a sustainable material. So our 8 object became cubes of different sizes representing rooms, and each were constructed out of flat-pack cardboard. This made the cubes lightweight and easier to transport as some of the cubes reached 3000mm x 3000mm.

Each cubed displayed a different element of connection between the people of Juteopolis. Some had coloured jute attached from one to another and showed elements of weaving, as the connections between the people weaved in and out of different families. One box showed a projection of a workers hands signaling the “sign language” that they had for the noisy mills. This showed the connection between the workers as it was like having there own secret language.