October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Image by Tomas Valenzuela-Blejer

This is my blog about my final year at Goldsmiths on the BA Design course. I designed a toolkit to help young women go on a self-discovery adventure into their well-being. The project is continuing beyond university – for updates on how it evolves, and for more images from Superhero Badge Workshops, go to my main website liorsmith.wordpress.com.

Well-being is one of the most important aspects of our lives, yet can be elusive and difficult to maintain. The New Economics Foundation, a think tank, summarises well-being as ‘Connect, Give, Be Active, Take Notice, and Keep Learning’. Every day I have tried to do something in each of these categories, and as a result I have found that in particular when I am giving to and interacting with others I feel better. To help me look out for opportunities to employ these strategies, I wore a superhero outfit in my community. Passing on what I’ve learnt might help other people maximise their well-being too: it’s not as easy to smile at strangers as you might think.

I also ran the blog for the degree show, www.goldsmithsdesign2012.wordpress.com. You can contact me at liorsmith@hotmail.com.

Images are my own unless otherwise stated. No further information will be posted on this website, please go to liorsmith.wordpress.com to find out how the project is evolving.

Superhero Badge Workshop: The Results

October 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

With the help of my wonderful interns Sophia, Amber, Tatyana and Gemma, the Superhero Badge Workshop ran four times during Design Week at the Southbank centre. The responses were very positive and people were stimulated to think more about their well-being. There were some very creative ideas about superpowers; it was interesting to hear about the variety of ways that people improve their well-being. Here are some images of the workshop. « Read the rest of this entry »

PSFK Conference

October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Image from PSFK website.

Have a look at what PSKF had to say about us here.

The conference was held in the Purcell Room in Southbank next to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. There was a fantastic line up of speakers coming from a variety of backgrounds – what they had in common was innovation. I was privileged to be included as a speaker, and I can only hope that I achieve as much as some of the speakers did in my career. There were stories about designing spaces with light and film from the Rockwell Group, and about how the Innocent brand was created.

The experience of speaking on the panel was useful for me; unfortunately I missed some of the talks because I was behind the stage waiting to go on, but I very much look forward to seeing the videos online when they come out. We didn’t have much time on stage so we probably gave out a very limited view of our experience as graduates trying to get work. Halfway through our session I realised that I hadn’t explained the superhero thing, so I tried to reasonably explain why I dressed up for so long to a very mixed audience as part of one of my replies to a question. It was a difficult task but a couple of people asked me about it afterwards in a positive way.

‘For Lior Smith, who spent two months dressed up as a superhero (as part of her final thesis), she wants to make the world a better place, an opportunity not often provided when starting a career, ‘maybe in 20 years we’ll get what we want,’ she commented.’

Video of panel to follow.

PSFK Conference

September 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Thanks to friends at Arts Thread, I have been headhunted to take part in a panel discussion at international inspiration company PSFK (the name I presume is taken from letters of Piers Fawkes’ name, the CEO).

I’m using the above images for the powerpoint that they are putting on during our discussion.

Tickets to the conference are £300 so I would not be able to go to it if I wasn’t speaking in it. I’m really looking forward to hearing the other speakers and meeting people at the drinks reception the evening before – I’m barely even thinking about what I’m going to say!

Our panel is made of young graduates and they want to find out what we find inspiring and our ways of working. From our initial conversations I reckon we’re likely to talk about interaction with people and doing something for communities. I’m much more interested in people than form of design.

Screen grab from the PSFK website – these are the people in my panel.

Here’s some text about the conference via PSFK:
Each year, ideas site PSFK.com brings its celebration of creativity and talent to London in the form of a day-long conference. Speakers come from well-known companies like Jaguar, emerging mega-brands like Rapha and the start-up community. Topics covered include brand storytelling in the social age, design at the intersection of technology, learning and the virtual classroom, and sustainability in the era of big data.

PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON promises to be an inspirational day for everyone across industries and job role. Speakers include:

The PSFK audience is made up of creative professionals-designers, advertisers, artists and entrepreneurs that are faced each day with challenging problems requiring innovative solutions.

PSFK conferences expose this audience to ideas that are literally and laterally related to these complex challenges, that together form the building blocks innovation is made of. Attendees walk away with tools and connections to make meaningful change.

I’m very excited, please let me know if you’re coming or if you would like to hear what happened if you can’t make it.

Superhero Badge Workshop at Designersblock

September 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

What are your superpowers? Drop in for a 30 minute activity where you can make your very own superhero badge based on your well-being superpowers. Everyone has strengths that contribute to the deep, meaning-of-life kind of happiness that some people call well-being. Identify your strengths and recognise that they are your special powers! Using your superpowers will make you happier. Making and wearing the badge will remind you to use them.

During the workshop, you will be guided in identifying one of your strengths and designing a logo based on it. Then you can make the logo come to life as a crafted badge.

Lior Smith is a recent design graduate from Goldsmiths. During her time there, she tried to maximise her well-being by making herself be super-giving to others. To do this, she created a superhero identity, ‘The Optimist’, and went around campus in a yellow cape, tiara and cuffs like Wonder Woman for a couple of months. Being giving genuinely improved her well-being. What strength can you maximise to improve your well-being?

Suitable for all ages. A small donation to cover the cost of materials would be appreciated. You don’t need design or craft superpowers to participate in the workshop.

20-23 September 2012
10am-7pm daily
Southbank Centre (follow signs to Designersblock) – the Superhero Badge Workshop will be in the Royal Festival Hall
Pre-register for free entry here

As featured on the Designersblock website

Arts Thread Portfolio just gone live!

June 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

You can have a look here. Unfortunately it’s quite a limited portfolio, and really it just directs you back to here, but it’s ok for a quick overview to my Adventures of a Well-Being Superhero project.

In other news, we’re currently working on getting a stand together for New Designers. It’s at the Business Design Centre in Islington, 4th-7th July. Our stand is in the middle. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates, and we’ll be keeping the blog and releasing a new website especially for the show.

Photos from the exhibition…

June 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Kirstin Todtling (all rights reserved on Flickr)

Martin and Lior
By Kirstin Todtling (all rights reserved on Flickr)

Lior Smith
By Kirstin Todtling (all rights reserved on Flickr)

We organised some gifts for our tutors. Obviously The Optimist had to present them…

Matt Ward and baby Ward

Laura Potter

The Adventures of a Well-Being Superhero Toolkit

May 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

This toolkit is the result of a year of hard work and design research as a superhero called The Optimist. All the objects help people go on their own journey into well-being.

Subjective well-being is the term for the deep, meaning of life kind of happiness. It’s called subjective because everyone reaches it differently. However, there are things you can do to help improve it. The New Economics Foundation, a British think tank, say that five ways to well-being are Connect, Give, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Be Active. Doing these things can make you happier.

So I dressed up as a well-being superhero around my university campus in order to look out for opportunities to give, so I could improve my well-being. I made myself happier by giving, regardless of how good I made others feel (and I have had many positive reports on that!).

In order to translate this experience for other people to do, I designed this toolkit. I don’t expect anyone to wear a cape – all they need to do is be their own secret superhero, working towards maximising their own well-being.

The guide helps you start a well-being journal through the five ways of well-being. After a month, you can analyse what activities you did and their effect on your well-being.

For a guide to what well-being activities you could do, there are 52 activity cards. They are a result of a great deal of research into positive psychology, my own personal experiences as The Optimist superhero, and user testing.

The Sunrise and Sunset times book is a Taking Notice aid, and can help you be more aware of nature.

The What’s Well Being? film explains the basic theories about well-being.

The pens can help you analyse your journal at the end of the process.

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