Ideas, Craft & Context

Module 4. Brief 1. Week 2.

This week I will be developing my chosen idea from last week. I looked at a range of self-initiated projects that were inspired by my interests and passions. I decided to develop my BA Final Major Project, The Colour Of Pain. Taking a look back at an old project and what I was trying to achieve then and how I can try to achieve that now and more.

Asking the new question, “How can we use colour in the medical profession to improve diagnosis and management for patients suffering from long term and chronic pain?”

Through research and developing a clear idea for possible outcomes for this project, I can define my route and where I want to go. I will be developing 5 routes I could go down and hopefully this will clarify my project.

I want to interview some chronically ill patients, people suffering from chronic pain, and hopefully some healthcare professionals to give me some advice and opinions on the project. This will aid the direction of this project.


Talking Heads lecture

This week the creative practitioners on the panel answer more questions about their self-initiated projects. 

How do you visualise and develop your initial ideas? Many of the practitioners believed that testing and trying out the ideas right from the beginning is the best way to see if a project idea really has potential. I believe this is areally important (and the most exciting) part of a project. At this point in the project, you know roughly what you want to achieve, but there are so many routes to go down, the only way of knowing what really is exciting and will work is by trying them out and seeing the outcomes. 

This I believe is the most creative part of the project. This is the opportunity to really push the boundaries, try something different, and venture into the unknown. Trying and failing these new ideas is the only way of producing innovative projects, which makes this the most crucial part of the development of the project.

What are your points of inspiration, theories and reference? Each practitioner and their project had quite clear ideas of inspiration or what they were referencing. This is very important as without reference, reasoning, and area to research there it is impossible to develop a project. To tackle problems and answer questions, you need to find out information. 

Research is key for a project to be successful. Usually where I need to look to find the information I need is quite clear, and gathering this research up prior to starting the development stage of a project is how a project can be prosperous.


Gathering initial inspiration and research for a project is key for its development. Although I do not know what I will need to develop this project yet I want to gather a collection of books, publications, and websites to refer back to.

  • Misbehaving Bodies [2] – An exhibition currently on at Somerset House, looking back at how healthcare has changed over the years.
  • Bouba/kiki effect [3] – The idea that the relationship between shapes and colour can work together to mean different things.
  • Secret Lives Of Colour [4] – A publication looking into the meanings of colours from cultures, how they are used around the world, and an overall deeper insight into every colour.
  • Ache Magazine [5] – This is a feminist magazine that promotes the conversation of health, relationship, wellbeing, and pain. Using art, exhibition, and poetry in their magazine to share their beliefs.
  • The Happy Newspaper [6] – This is a rare newspaper company that only shares happy news. Today we never hear about anything positive, we fill our lives with only the negative that is going on around us. By making ourselves aware of the good that is happening around the world only spreads joy and insentive to live our best lives.
  • #MyPainPointofView – Problem with the Pain Scale [7] – This link is to one of many posts from chronic illness patients telling us that the pain scale does not show a clear picture of how much we are suffering. This is one of many sources from the patients perspective, but I believe we need to understand it form a healthcare professionals point of view.


This week we were asked to design and create five visual mood boards to accompany your initial visual responses. Your mood boards should include points of reference and inspiration that clearly demonstrate how your self initiated project might be developed and applied.

& Develop and make five initial visual responses to your self initiated project brief. Post your design developments to the Ideas Wall, to gain peer reflection, and elaborate further in your blog.


Many chronically ill patients find it difficult to have to remind the people around them that they may look fine on the outside but we can be struggling on the inside. We don’t want to keep reminding everyone that we are ill but we just want you to be aware. A badge that translates how a chronic pain patient is feeling that day, that time of the day, or point in time using colour could be a fashionably discreet way of solving this problem. 

Mood Boards


This idea has its Pro’s and Con’s. The Pro’s include:

  • a clear visual explanation of how you are feeling without having to say it out loud
  • Only for people close to you to understand, for others, it’s a fashionable pin

The Con’s include:

  • Not everyone will understand what the colours mean (unless they are obvious, such as red/amber/green)
  • This would summarise how you feel before you leave the house; unless you carry around multiple pins to change while you are out, your pain might change and your pin may not demonstrate that. I wanted to solve this with digital technology by making a digital badge (a new and improved version of the old LED text badges) similar to the iWatch, where you have an app on your phone that you can update your interface throughout the day.


Inpatient charts and forms require nurses to monitor pain every 4 hours or whenever medication is given. This is to track whether the pain is getting better or worse. Although the 1-10 scale is currently used for clarity for the nurses, how could pinpoint yourself on a coloured pain chart aid the management of pain?

Mood Boards2

With so many different types of pain [3] there are level and areas that can be lost in the 1-10 pain scale. A burning sensation and an aching are very different but both very real pains. You may say burning is a 9/10 while aching is merely a 5/10, but this could easily be the other way round. The intensity of pain and the type of pain are both very important and cannot be identified under the same scale. Taking intensity as X and type as Y, we can place this chart alongside the colour chart I can begin analysing the colours as a type of scale.






Inspired by The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair [4], I could produce a pocket-sized version with colour based illustrations or competitions that would for as a guide to a new language of pain using colour. With explanations of how the compositions work with a key for what the shades, shapes, warmth of the colours mean. This might mean the outcome are gradients, colour swatches, illustrations, or shape compositions. This is similar to, DOLOGRAFIE photography visual communication tool for pain.

Mood Boards3

Image result for hex color paletteI want to develop the chart I previously made for the form idea, narrowing it down and clarifying the colours to deeper understand each colour meaning. Using an excel sheet I have been able to visually understand the colours better myself and it a clear way to explain to others.

Screenshot 2019-10-01 at 13.55.11.png

I have designed an A6 pocketbook that explains the information from the chart in a clear and concise way. I have not yet gone into detail for text on each page, for now, I just want to know how the outcome of the project may look. You can see I have designed something quite straightforward and easy to understand, which is the direction I want to go in for this project; clarity to read, translate, and use.


Similar to the eye chart you see at the options I want to create a pain chart. One that you may see in the GP, hospitals, emergency rooms or walk-in centres. This might be a more understandable way of explaining pain instead of 1-10. You can better describe the type of pain you are feeling and its intensity. Without having to describe the pain in words, the colour works as a better tool for diagnoses.

Mood Boards4



The Pantone colour chart of pain. This swatch idea links in with most of these visual pathways. I will be in some form of another making a new language of pain through colour. A physical swatch book of the different types and levels of pain can be a tool used by everyone and anyone. A unique item that will explain what each colour within it means.

Mood Boards5

Using the colour pallet I have previously been using. I have slightly redesigned my publication idea to work as a swatch book. I have altered the design and printed to mockup to visualise how the outcome of this route may look.


However, these block colours may be too harsh so I also tested out this idea with some other mediums. Unfortunately, these looked too childish and made the idea seem silly. This is a serious topic that needs to be addressed. I want my product to be playful with bright colours to gain attention, but draw the line at a childish design.


This week’s webinar we highlighted the fact that when I am trying to set my own brief I need to make sure I have got an exact question I want to solve. This not only gives my work structure, (an aim and a direction to go in), but it also allows me to give my work a deliverable answer to the work I produce. This means I am not producing work for the sake of making, but I am trying to achieve something; even if I do not successfully achieve what I wanted, it can work as a research tool. Although I’m not expected to solve the pain scale issue in only 4 weeks, I can answer my specific question with my own personal research.

To make sure I do this Ben gave us some questions for us to follow to make sure this happens. 

  • What is the problem you’re trying to solve? (what is your question. remember, your question should be answerable!)
  • What is your methodology? (the processes you’ll go through to help you find an answer / respond to that question(s)). There are lot’s of methodologies you can use – it’s just about finding a methodology that works for your project. Research, design, test.
  • What rigour will you put in place around your methodology (eg ethics – eg

My current question is, “How can we use colour in the medical profession to improve diagnosis and management for patients suffering from long term and chronic pain?” But instead of asking,how can we use colour’? I believe I should be asking,can we use colour’? or,should we be using colour’?

My current process is as follows:

  • Develop the question
  • Gather inspiration and research publications, articles, companies
  • Explore possible outcomes
  • Contact healthcare providers on why they use the scale and how they think it can be improved
  • Produce a clear final outcome idea
  • Begin mocking up the outcome
  • Meet with pain patients and test out ideas and the mocked-up final product
  • Look at the results – what have I learned from this?

Next week I will be developing my idea into a final piece. I will hopefully manage to talk to some patients and doctors about this and how they think colour could improve the pain scale.


  1. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Sep. 2019].
  2. (2019). Bouba/kiki effect. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Sep. 2019].
  3. (2019). Different Types of Pain | Action On Pain. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
  4. St. Clair, K. (n.d.). The secret lives of colour.
  5. Magazine, A. (2019). Products. [online] Ache Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
  6. Coxhead, E., Coxhead, E. and Coxhead, E. (2019). The Happy Newspaper. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].
  7. The Mighty. (2019). The Problem With the Pain Scale When You Live With Chronic Pain. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].


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