Module 4. Brief 1. Week 1.
The first project brief is called ‘Self Initiated’, which considers how to apply your design skills, research and thinking to answer a self-initiated project, that challenges your interests, identity or experience.
This is a tool to highlight my interests and passions to clients and fellow designers alike.
Week 1: Brief analysis | Aims, objectives, brief development and audience
By the end of this week I should be able to:
- Research and discover your personal interests, identity and experiences.
- Distill your research into your personal interests, identity and experiences to define one subject that can be developed into a self-initiated project.
- Communicate and deliver a clear project brief to outline the aim, critical context, outcome and designated target audience for your self-initiated project.
For our initial week, I was given a lecture to watch which included creative practitioners from a range of studios around the world.
Christoph Miller from Offshore Studio, Veronica Fuerte from Hey, Vince Frost from Frost Collective, Sam Bompas from Bompas & Parr and James Stringer from Werkflow.
They were all to answer the following questions, which I thought I should attempt to answer myself before watching.
- How do you identify the subject of a self-initiated project? – A project that you do off your own back based on a specific topic you are passionate about.
- How do you structure and plan the production of a self-initiated project? – I would normally try and follow the basic rhythm of a project timeline, and time each stage around my free time or in between client projects, making use of quiet spells.
- Selecting the project & audience,
I am new into the working creative industry and this topic of self-initiation is one I discussed heavily in Module 3, more specifically Week 4 due to the opportunities it may bring to me as a freelancer or if I set up a studio and am trying to find clients in a specific area of work.
- The responses from the first question were quite varied, with everyone getting inspiration or drive from different areas of their lives. Whether that might be a passion they wanted to dive into, an area of design that they haven’t experienced yet such as publishing their own book, or purely a new opportunity that is money-driven. I don’t believe there is a right or a wrong answer to this question as you can get the inspiration from anywhere, and that may take you down a path of opportunity that us as creatives should seize.
- Many people use the self-initiated project to develop themselves as a creative; without a portfolio and no propper projects yet one designer used this as a way to develop themselves in a direction they wanted. Using their time wisely to better their skills and gather enough work in the field they want to go into. Explained by many of the creatives, you need to outline what you want to achieve before delving straight in. One explained how the timeline of steps that I mentioned was a helpful way to fully structure your own brief. Without a client giving you a schedule or a deadline, I should make one myself to stick too. Otherwise, it becomes a project that is swept away once I get busy again.
Highlight the characteristics of your personal interests, identity, and experiences, to identify a subject to be developed into a self-initiated project.
1. List four potential self-initiated project ideas and add them to the Ideas Wall. Start by researching the subjects and final outcomes you generated during the Contemporary Practice module
Idea 1. Project Development Pocket Tool. A book that triggers ideas for future projects. This diary styled publication is used by creatives to aid their development in their next project. By asking simple questions that trigger thoughts you may have let slip, the book urges you to find what your next self-initiated project should be about.
I started by listing out each week’s topics and their outcomes, quite quickly from doing this I could rule out some of the weeks. Leaving me with some ideas I could develop on.
I took a handful of these and starting sketching out how some of these project ideas could look. With only one really standing out to me, the publication on how to develop ideas or who you are as a designer.
This idea for a project will actually help me find better projects to be working on. This is a self-initiated project to help develop self-initiated projects. This may start to get a bit confusing. I think this small mockup will help me to develop an idea that is more in-depth and related to my style and passions.
My Next Project:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you say no too?
- What are the priorities in your life?
- What keeps you up at night?
- Summarise your passions and priorities:
- What can you do to change this?
- What have others done to change this?
- Who can you talk to to help gather information?
- Who’s doing something about this already?
- Where can you start gathering information?
- Summarise how you will research this project:
- Who should know about this information?
- How can this research help other people?
- How can you share what you have found?
Idea 2. Frimley IBD Groups – IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an autoimmune disease similar to lupus, diabetes and Celiac disease. All are the body’s immune system attacking itself. However, the reason we hear more about diabetes and Lupus over colon related illnesses is not because of the number affected by it, but the taboo subject of it being a ‘toilet’ related disease. Nearly 1% of UK’s population suffer from this incurable disease. I was diagnosed 2 years ago and ever since I have wanted to do something about this illness that has been brushed under the cover.
In my local area alone, we have over 3000 IBD patients; with only 2 specialist nurses and 5 consultants to look after all these patients, it is becoming overwhelming difficult for them to give each patient the exact treatment they require.
I have been working with them for the last 6 months running patient support groups where patients can help each other, alleviating some of the workloads from the nurses, leaving them to help those who really need it.
I recently make the support group a website that has been useful to a number of the sufferers and their family and friends. A way of connecting people together away from social media as we found over half of the patients did not use Facebook or other channels. This also allowed for this part of their life to be separate if they did not want people to know about their illness. But I want to find a way to help do more for the patients, family and friends, the nurses, and our consultants. T
Live Competitions. I have been looking at some competition briefs that work around the theme of creativity for good. I found one brief that was based around the idea of an AI tool that aided health or chronic conditions to help us reach the age of 100 with a better way of life and aiding us to take better care of ourselves. This might also be a tool to help connect people together to aid loneliness within this community where their illness is taboo.
Develop a tool, project, or campaign that could bring together IBD patients to help them live a healthier, more sociable, and honest life. With this being a taboo and invisible illness, many of these patients who require disabled toilet access or blue badges are terrorised daily due to ignorance of the topic. Not only do I want to make a tool for the patients, but I also want to raise awareness for a cause that needs highlighting to the UK public and inspire empathy on this and any other disability that is invisible.
Idea 3. The Colour of Pain. My final major project from my BA was a publication to explain what chronic pain can feel like to someone who has never had to deal with it on a daily basis for weeks, months, and even years without prevail. I wanted to research the topic of pain further and how we can use colour to explain our pain. 1 out of 10 is a scale that the NHS is beginning to realise does not truely compare one person from the next, but compare individual pain limits as everyone can tolerate pain differently. How can we use colour to explain our pain?
Dotori: Wearable Chronic Pain Tracking Device 
Wearable Project, 2013. Dotori alpha is a wearable chronic pain tracking device.
Over the 100 million American suffer chronic pain and over 50 million lost work days per year in the US alone. Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability and notoriously difficult to treat, in part because it is hard to quantify and therefore impossible to track reliably.
Dotori provides patients with a networked easy-to-use pain-tracking device and data aggregator to obtain pain feedback so doctors and patients can make informed decisions about treatment.
Idea 4. Colour Theory. Investigating the importance of colour to aid mental health. Investigation how colours and lights can significantly make a difference in our mood and our actions. There have been many studies which tell us that being surrounded by blue light can calm our system and actually help physically with pain and inflammation as well as our cognitive reactions.
2. Select one self-initiated project idea you want to explore over the next four consecutive weeks
I have chosen to go with Idea 3. The Colour of Pain. I feel I had the most positive reaction to this idea. Many of my peers mentioned how they would find it useful themselves or for people they know to have a better way of communicating pain to those around them. Science and creative subjects are very much divided, but allowing both to come together to allow for better diagnosis and management of patients suffering from long term or chronic conditions.
The Spoon Theory.  Spoonies; a slang term for chronic illness patients. This term was derived from The Spoon Theory, a method of explaining their pain and tolerance to their condition at any given time. This method is explained best here. In short, every activity uses up a certain amount of spoons. Every day you have a certain amount of spoons, once you use up all your spoons you can do anything else, you have no energy left, you are done for the day. If you use too many spoons this becomes a problem because you start using the spoons for the next day. Which means you can’t do as much and you normally have to cancel activities, work, or other commitments.
DOLOGRAFIE.  A visual communication tool for pain therapy. A set of 32 cards with different photographic images to help illustrate the pain they are feeling. Mentioned by both Diare and Rebeca as they researched this project for their project. Rebeca managed to contact the creators of the product, who had some really wonderful things to say. One creator suffered from Knee pain and was a key inspiration for the product. After showing the product to a few chronic pain patients, some patients even cried due to an overwhelming sense of relief. Being able to explain their pain and see their pain physically in front of them.
This physical representation of pain is exactly what I am trying to achieve. However, for me, I want to see if the colour would help illustrate the feeling of pain, aching, and relief.
A Year in Pixels.  This diary themed tool is a way of reminding yourself that there are both good and bad days. By recording each day as a colour which represents how good or bad it went you can see the overall outcome of the year by looking over the whole colour of the grid. This idea can be easily translated into pain. Using colours to show how much pain you were in that day. Or maybe more specifically how much pain you were in every morning, lunch and evening, giving a weekly or monthly outcome of how much you were suffering and if it has improved over that period of declined.
Pain Heat Map. Geo Pain.  As discussed with Rebecca on the Padlet, the tool GeoPain allows a user to physically illustrate their pain using colour and paint onto a model of a body where it hurts and how bad. This is a wonderful illustrative tool to show to your friend, family, GP’s or doctors to show the extent and location of the pain.
I suffer from Visceral Hypersensitivity, which is a chronic pain condition in relation to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. My pain location is relative to where my diseased colon is. This app is a good way of explaining to my consultants where the pain is when I am seriously suffering and need to explain something is wrong.
3. Develop a detailed project brief to outline the question you would like to address, the project aim, objective, audience, critical context, and the anticipated final outcome
Chronic pain affects more than two-fifths of the UK population, meaning that around 28 million adults are living with pain that has lasted for three months or longer.  There are many pain scales being used around the world. [here you can see more unique scales7]. However, there lacks professional use of visual tools to the communication of pain, with the only method being used by most healthcare professionals is the 1-10 scale.
The communication between patients and their families, friends, carers and more importantly healthcare professionals need to be improved. Developing the current method of communication could dramatically improve a patient’s initial diagnosis, illness or injury management and overall mental health.
Many of these patients key struggle are not being clearly understood, heard, or believed by those around them. A tool needs to be developed to aid this line of communication.
How can we use colour in the medical profession to improve diagnosis and management for patients suffering from long term and chronic pain?
I produced a lot of ideas this week, all that had some great feedback from my peers and from my tutors. I can clearly see some ideas that I touched on had more potential than others, and more to develop into a full project.
The project that had the most potential to develop and had the best response to was, ‘The Colour of Pain 2.0’. The brief that asks, ‘How can we use colour in the medical profession to improve diagnosis and management for patients suffering from long term and chronic pain?’
There are a lot of routes for me to go down for this project, many different outcomes, and many more specific questions I could ask myself within this. Next week I hope to develop this brief further.
- Hyunjoo Beatrice Oh::UX/UI/Interaction Design. (2019). Dotori: Wearable Chronic Pain Tracking Device (’13). [online] Available at: https://hyunjoooh.com/2013/10/06/dotori/ [Accessed 24 Sep. 2019].
- Healthline. (2019). What is Spoon Theory?. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/spoon-theory-chronic-illness-explained-like-never-before#1 [Accessed 25 Sep. 2019].
- Europeandesign.org. (2019). Dolografie – A visual communication tool for pain therapy – European Design. [online] Available at: https://europeandesign.org/submissions/dolografie-a-visual-communication-tool-for-pain-therapy/ [Accessed 25 Sep. 2019].
- Journal, B. (2019). Year in Pixels. [online] Bullet Journal. Available at: https://bulletjournal.com/blogs/bulletjournalist/deep-dive-year-in-pixels [Accessed 25 Sep. 2019].
- GeoPain. (2019). GeoPain – Precision Tools for Chronic Pain. [online] Available at: https://www.geopain.com [Accessed 25 Sep. 2019].
- Britishpainsociety.org. (2019). The silent epidemic – chronic pain in the UK | News | British Pain Society. [online] Available at: https://www.britishpainsociety.org/mediacentre/news/the-silent-epidemic-chronic-pain-in-the-uk/ [Accessed 25 Sep. 2019].
- Verywell Health. (2019). 10 Common Types of Pain Scales. [online] Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/pain-scales-assessment-tools-4020329 [Accessed 25 Sep. 2019].