7-Design Week in Review

The first day of Design dove deeply into the idea of maps – both domain maps, and mind maps, tools that aid in the generation of exploration of new ideas. In class we asked to create our own mind maps, and add onto the maps of others. From there, we explored the overlap and the ways in which each map differed from one another (image below).

Day 2 started with a presentation of examples of both good and bad design. My presentation can be found here. Specifically, I focused on two separate maps of the same subway system, one that is considered “good design” by designers, but “bad design” by the people who use it. Interestingly enough, the users did not want a “clear and easily readable map”, but an accurate one that truly represented their city. This then led to a lesson about research, research methods, and the importance of research in design. Design without research is often misinformed and doesn’t achieve the goals it sets out (resulting in “bad design”). For example, had Vignelli asked New Yorkers what they wanted their subway map to look like, perhaps he would have included the landmarks, etc.


Day 3 started off with presentations that chose an existing problem in the world, and the ways in which we might attempt to solve them. Specifically my presentation focused on the idea that tools designed to deal with oversleeping, waking up on time, etc typically use punishment as the basis of the design. Could this problem have a design solution that utilizes reward, or even compassion to motivate the user? Although my problem only had one day of research, I was able to find examples of rewards used to motivate the users to wake up, but unable to find examples of compassionate “alarm clocks”.

We also learned about brainstorming and ideation techniques to further tease apart our initial round of ideas.


Day 4 focused on storyboards, and the ways in which laying out our ideas sequentially can helps us to identify new problems, and reveal the narrative behind them. We ended up creating our own narrative in class and storyboarding the entire sequence (image below). Through this exercise we focused on  how to make the character in our story as real as possible, with believable motivations and decisions.

Lastly, Day 5 jumped straight into presentations of the process behind our previous design projects. My presentation can be found here. While the majority of our class comes from a design background, it was enlightening to see the ideation, research, prototyping, etc behind a variety of different projects. Following the same set of steps can yield such different results and took much of our class in dramatically different directions. For example, my design process looked into a project my advertising agency created for Pepsi, which of course is an entirely different “problem” to address than something like infant mortality rate.




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