What I’ve Designed

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Film – communication of what well-being is

3D design – make-up box for superhero transformation (to aid confidence in stretching normal social barriers)

3D design/graphics – stickers for superhero trigger make-up and as memento of well-being superhero idea

Book design – guide on how to keep Five Ways of Well-Being journal

Card design – graphics, communication of conceptual idea, 3D, inspiration for certain kinds of behaviour. (Potential for a twin blank set of cards for people to fill in? Inc stickers for categories?)

Research methods – video diary of emotions related to activities, with analysis at end

Research method – acting as a character to find out more about self

New way of analysing well-being – user identifying activities that trigger emotions themselves, and through the frame of nef’s Five Ways of Well-Being, while becoming a superhero

Character – The Optimist, the first well-being superhero. Involved iterative costume design and make-up design.

Costume design – combinations of assorted clothes already owned, as well as designing and making a cape, tiara and cuffs. Tiara and cuffs based on Wonder Woman. Involved learning how to use a sewing machine.

Logo design – based on Superman. Learnt more about use of colour.

Make-up design – based on Wonder Woman comics.

Jewellery design – The Optimist earring. Not very good though. Used a type of card difficult to cut and nail varnish that made for a blotchy finish.

The Optimist make-up guide – graphics. Involved developing a process of scanning drawings and rescanning Adobe Illustrator versions of drawings, then colouring in sections on Illustrator.

Toolkit design – for how to become a well-being superhero. Objects in the kit evolved to complement each other. Sunrise and sunset booklet left out because it doesn’t work with the rest of the toolkit (apart from the activity cards – make sure to edit them before reprinting!)

Series of experiments within acting as The Optimist – mostly centred around being giving. Lending rose tinted sunglasses to a sad friend cheered them up. Offering Skittles as a prompt for conversation also. These two objects are now artefacts (I think).

Flash smile experiment – behavioural experiment to attempt to make people smile. It failed, showing that direct forced ‘trying to make people happy’ does not work. The more it was forced, the more the experiment failed. What works instead is being aware of giving things that can be done, and when the opportunity arises, to recognize it and do it.

Central to this all is the conceptual gearing of the project. What can a designer do to improve well-being? ‘Become a therapist’ is not a good answer because it defeats the point of doing design. Service design has been avoided for this reason – when a feedback loop between the user and the designer is created, it becomes service design. When this feedback loop is with regards to well-being, that becomes the service of therapy.

Rather, I have designed in order to remove myself in person from the user’s experience once they start the project (except to find out how successful the design is). I have designed a framework which users can teach themselves about their well-being. I present my experience as something that can be replicated. For each person there will be different results, but there are likely to be similarities in experience with other young women. A superlook helps – make up can help many young women achieve this. The giving activities that others end up doing may be different, but what I did (communicated through activity cards) serves as inspiration for the kind of things other people could start doing, before they develop their own behaviours.

The framework for analysis through the Five Ways of Well-Being is a particularly important part, even though it’s not about superheroism by itself. Without the rest of the toolkit, it could be used, but would not necessarily improve behaviour very well. It was a starting point for me. I realised that I could improve how much I was giving, taking notice etc, so I focused on improving these behaviours and the rest of the project emerged. It may work the same way for others, but I’ve made it much easier to start the journey with the rest of the toolkit. Well-being takes commitment – that’s the challenge – and the superhero element makes the journey more defined and ‘do-able’.


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