Concept Design: Diva Plavalaguna Suitcase

Week 1- Last term for field I designed a suitcase for women which opened similar to a wardrobe and had a very detailed design. I was very pleased with the response I received on my design, and glad that Gareth and Theo were able to give me some feedback in order to help me develop my suitcase design further. This was the feedback I was given-

“We really enjoyed seeing this refreshing and imaginative project.

It’s so avant garde – Who is this actually for?

There are some obvious questions regarding physicality: weight? Material choice? Etc…

Are you interested in concept design for movies? Might be a natural environment for this kind of work. I am trying to organise a visit from a concept designer for PD which I think you shouldn’t miss.

The film I mentioned was ‘The 5th element’

A really impressive model would take this to the next level…”

I have taken this feedback on board and have decided to change my target market and focus of concept design. I purchased the movie ‘The Fifth Element” advised by Theo and decided to design my Suitcase for the Character Diva Plavalaguana.

Week 2 I re-watched the scenes in The Fifth Element which included the character Diva Plavalguana and took note of the design styled used, I then used this to come up with some quick concept designs. Eventually I finalized my design and sketched it up neatly.


Week 4- I started modelling this week using a range of materials including Card, Foam and Wood.

Week 5- I finished my final model this week, unfortunately the measurement’s for the right door were incorrect s their are some slight issues. Although, I have learnt from this, and if I had the time to do anther model, I’m sure it would be much more successful.


Trandsbranding: Crocs Car Seat

Week 1- I have chosen the Transbranding brief for my term 3 project. For this one week project in term one I designed a suitcase in the Brand style of Crocs. I enjoyed doing this due to Crocs having a very distinctive design style which could be easily applied to objects other than shoes, making their new aesthetic look quirky and unique. Although I loved applying the Design style of Crocs, I wanted to use another product this term other than a suitcase.  I created a spider diagram of different objects that I could design, and came to the final decision that I was going to design a Crocs Childs Cars seat. My reasoning behind my selection is that Crocs Design seems to be more so aimed at children than adults, children love them due to their unique aesthetic, multitude of colour options, and fun interactive Jibbitz (the charms which can be added). I began sketching some quick concept designs experimenting with shapes, and continued research into materials and car seat safety. All materials used to manufacture car seats must not be flammable, and the Common material used to manufacture Car Seats bodies is Polypropylene. So I thought I’d remain with this material as the main body  of my design but add a thin layer of another material on top to make its texture seem similar to a Crocs shoe. During my research I discovered that the material used by Crocs ‘Croslite’ is owned by Crocs therefore I would not be allowed to incorporate this without the companies permission. So I did research into other rubber material alternatives. One material that seemed suitable during my research was Propylene-Diene Monomer. This layer of Rubber would also include the gaps which Jibbitz could be inserted onto the Car Seat in order for it be customised. And polyester seems to be a possibility for the fabric cover on the cushion area. Seat belts can also be made out of Polyester.

Week 2– At the start of this week I researched images of car seats and visited stores to view them in person, although I came to the conclusion that it would be best to purchase my own so I always have a car seat to look at to help with my designing. Buying a seat also helped me understand how a Car Seat functions. I have now sketched up my final idea, I will soon begin to created these creates in Solid Works to get a better understand of the 3D form of the product.

Week 3- This week I completed my CAD of the Crocs Car seat. I am not very experienced on Solid Works, so I am very pleased with the outcome. Creating 3D CAD was very useful, it make me realize that some of my design ideas were not going to work, therefore had to be changed slightly. Having a 3D CAD available will also make the model making much easier since I will have some thing follow, I am planning on starting to model make next week.

Week 4- This week I made a model out of blue foam, I chose this material since it is very easy to manipulate and alter. I am pleased with the outcome although would have liked to have produced a more finished model if I had more time available which is disappointing.

Week 5- I have used this week to prepare for the exhibition, I purchased an A1 sheet of paper and made a poster displaying my sketches, CAD and some research information.

Constellation Reflective Text

Constellation has widened my mind to things that before I most likely would not have considered whilst designing. Being in interdisciplinary groups has helped broaden my understanding of art and design as a whole, I now realise how my mind works differently in comparison to someone who studies a different disciplinary. In ‘the body in society’ whilst studying the architecture of Bentham’s Panoticon (which was a prison designed in order for the prisoners be seen but not to see from the ‘Peripheric’ building, but for the guard to see but not to be seen from the central tower), we were put into groups of different dispensaries and were asked what the idea of seeing and not being seen reminded us of. Typical of a product designer I thought of CCTV, whereas a fine artist in my group had angels as their first thought.

Both of my lecturers seemed very passionate about what they were teaching which I admired, they also both had a very different style of teaching. My ‘Creativity and Cognitive Development’ lecturer was very good in terms of keeping each lecture’s layout very similar, this made it easy to adjust and prepare for the lectures. Although when given a text to read, we did not read through it as a class, whereas my ‘Body in Society’ lecturer would read out loud and explain complicated terms as they were reading, which was much more effective since we understood more as a class.

A specific theory that stuck out for in constellation was Piaget ‘The Relation between Subject and Object’ which I studied in ‘Creativity and Cognitive Development’. Before Piaget’s work, the common assumption in psychology was that children are merely less competent thinkers than adults. Where in reality, children simply think in a different way to adults. Our lecturer then related this to Ikea’s Plush toys which were designed around 10 children’s drawing. The children could justify why they drew their drawings like they did, and this revealed that children do indeed think differently to adults. This raised the question, ‘Can adults Design Toys for Children? I explored this idea of adults designing toys further, I chose to do this because as an adult designer that is very interested in design for children (in the past I have designed baby bags, car seats and high chairs), I thought it could help me understand what is needed to be done in order to design effectively for children.

Another theory that was introduced to me in one of the ‘Creativity and Cognitive Development’ lectures which I found of great interest was Rudolf Arnheim’s theory of ‘Visual Thinking’ which was based around the concept that everyone’s cognitions work differently due to the fact we all experiences things differently due to our five sense. To explain further, nobody will ever be able to see exactly what you see from your perspective. This idea adjusted the way I think about my practice since it is proven that everyone thinks differently regardless of if they are the same age, race or gender, which makes designing for a certain category of people even more difficult.

The final theory I will discuss from one of my ‘Creativity and Cognitive Development’ lectures is Duchamp M’s ‘The Creative Act’, his theory was that a designers ‘intentions’ of a design idea ‘and its realisation’ can be very different, as a designer I can relate to this straight away, for example during my a-levels I had designed and made a baby changing bag for a mum with arthritis, once it had been completed I gave it to my target audience to use for a period of time and then gave them a questionnaire to fill out, and some of their reactions were very unexpected, for example, they said that the pockets which were initially categorised for bottles, they tended to use for storage of toys. I have unintentionally designed for newborns/children a lot during my design education; this year at Cardiff Met I am designing a car seat for a new-born. The reason why ‘The Creative Act’ theory is relevant to this is since it is based on one’s visual, and a child ‘Looks and recognises before it can speak’ (Beger). Therefore, children pay greater attention to the world’s aesthetics. To help differentiate between a child and an adults cognition in regards to ‘visual thinking’ , if you were to show an adult a box, all they would see is a box, but a child could see the potential for things such as a rocket ship or a car.

‘The body in society’ has influenced the way I think about my practice enormously. My practice revolves primarily around designing for people, therefore understanding the way people think about themselves and how others think of them is essential in designing effectively. One lecture we read the text ‘Identity’. I had never realised how complicated the term identity was until this lecture. It was more complex due to the fact that, for example, you may identify someone as a woman, but they may not choose to be identified in that way, they may choose to be identified as a man. And within that identity category of women there are many more categories, although binaries help simplify this, for example, you must identify as; man/woman, black/white.

We also studied ‘Ways of seeing’ by John Berger in ‘The body in society’, Berger discussed how the eating of the apple in Genesis made them aware that nudity brought shame, and most oil painting after had the women being subject and being shown that they are aware of being seen. Being educated about gender in art and design history is of use to me as I can see how things have progressed throughout time. In today’s world mass media not only focuses on the female form but now also the male form is subject to desire. I am now only more curious of what people’s opinion on gender will be in another century’s time.

Word Count: 997

The Body in Society- Reading Cyborgs

Some fear things such as cyborgs due to that fact that it challenges the stability of human identity.  This is due to identity depending on the notion of the other, for example; male/female. Since Cyborgs have both human and non human characteristics they are not like us but just like us. Due to the cyborgs dual nature it disrupts the persistent dualism that people recognise, for example, are they human/artificial. Due to cyborgs being different to human kind they represent otherness which arises humans fears and desires. 

The Body in Society- Affordance, Conventions and Design

We were taught about the terms ‘affordance’ and ‘perceived accordance’ in our week 6 lecture. I had heard of these terms before but could not recall what their meanings were so was curious to find out their definitions. To explain simply, affordance is the relationship between a person and an object which results in the way the person naturally interacts with it. This idea  discussed in the article we read ‘Affordances, Conventions and Design’ (Donald A. Norman) ‘When you first see something you have never seen before, how do you know what to do? The answer, I decided, was that the required information was in the world: the appearance of the device could provide the critical clues required for its proper operation.’

Norman then followed with discussing perceived affordance, he claimed ‘I will make a global change, replacing all instances of the word “affordance” with the phrase “perceived affordance”.’ he then continues to define the term- it is more about what actions the user perceives to be possible than what is true.

He later refers both of these terms directly to my disciplinary of product design, showing how relevant both terms are to my chosen subject  ‘In product design, where one deals with real, physical objects, there can be both real and perceived affordances, and the two sets need not be the same.’

Norman then followed to discuss the different kinds of constraints):

  • Physical- When you are limited to what you can do physically with the object.
  • Logical- This is often your natural reaction to things and most people will find that the answers are obvious.
  • Cultural- Cultures have conventions that they follow, and if two cultures follow different conventions, it could lead to confusion.

The Body in Society- Body Projects and the Regulation of Normative Masculinity

This weeks text ‘Body Projects and the Regulation of Normative Masculinity’ focussed on the male gender primarily and body modification they go through in order to look desirable, such as ‘working out (at a gym), tattooing, piercing and cosmetic surgery.’ It is mentioned that the male body has become much more prominent in terms of media, where as before it was always females. And since this has happened the male body has been viewed differently, which has put much more pressure on the men in society to look sexually appealing ‘male bodies in idealised and eroticised fashions, coded in ways that give permission for them to be looked at and desired’ (Moore, 1988; Simpson,1994).  They link this back to a text previously discussed in our ‘body in society lectures ‘men look at women and women watch themselves being looked at’ (Berger, 1972, p.47). The male (body) has become an object of the gaze rather than simply the bearer of the look.


The Body in Society- Identity, Cross Gender, Gender Performativity

The first piece of text we read as a class ‘Identity’ explained how identity was hard to define due to the fact that there isn’t  a ‘single over arching definition of what it is. But tends to be known as a combination of ‘sameness’ and ‘differences’ (how our similarities and differences with each other makes us ‘identical’ with ourselves).

It is then further discussed how difficult it is to define people into these identity categories. For example you may identify someone as a woman, but they may not chose to be identified in that way, they may chose to be identified as a man. And within that identity category of a women there are may more categories such as white, black, Christian, Muslim, atheist. Although binaries help simplify this, for example you must identify as; man/woman, black/white.

The next text we discussed fitted in well with the topic discussion, it was ‘Cross gender/ Cross gender’ by Mike Kelley. Out of the whole text read, the abstract below is what stood out for me the most.

‘As in the Cockettes, the Mothers’s version of drag was an incomplete version. But there are differences. The Cockettes, despite the ridiculous nature of their image, have a playful and positive quality that is absent in the Mothers. The Mothers’s use of drag has more in common with the traditional comedic adoption of female garb by the male, and in that sense it is an abject usage. In Western culture, men who dress in female clothes are considered funny, while the opposite is generally not the case. A woman dressed in male clothes has little comedic value. The sexism at the root of this difference is obvious, for why else should the adoption of feminine characteristics by a man be abject’

I found it interesting how the idea of being incomplete in terms of your gender category could be seen as humorous, and the suffering that Trans-gender people must go through, throughout their transition period. Yet Kelley brought up the fact that it is less humorous for a girl to be thought of and dressed like a boy and then explained how this is due to misogyny, as to be female is to be seen as less worth, where as to be male is not to be a joke. I would consider using this idea for my final end of year essay.