Module 4. Brief 1. Week 3.

This week I delve further into my self-initiated project and hope to produce a full outcome. With it only being 3 weeks, I expect it only be its first prototype. However, I have much more research to get done. I need to continue to ask myself how this product can be of use, who for, and where it will be used. 

Once I have produced this mockup I want to take it to medical professionals and show it pain patients to see what they think of the idea. More importantly, I want to find out if they believe colour could be a useful tool in the description of pain. If not with the product I produce, in what other way?


The talking heads were back again this week talking about the subject of development. I believe the development and reflection are key milestones to any project, but more so for self-initiated ones. The creatives agreed with me on this.

“Get messy. Get your hands dirty. Try lots of different routes but then develop a few of these at a more detailed level so you can clearly see what will and won’t work. “

“Print out ideas. Stick them on the walls and live with them and develop ideas as you go. Made notes on them. Explore other routes.”

With any project there is the possibility of risk. However, with a self-initiated project, you could argue there is less.

Self-initiated problems have less risk. You don’t have to produce work you don’t like, edit lots and have that conversation you man not want. You should be grateful for this opportunity. 

As mentioned by one creative though, all projects have risks. Some more than others. But even with it being self initiated, you have to think about the expense of time and resources. It take time to experiment, research and develop. You may even invest money as well as time for a new project.

Remember that even the worst projects, the ones we didn’t want to do, or dragged on for too long. You will always learn something from them, and if not. You will learn something from them. 


I need to continue to ask myself how this product can be of use, who for, and where it will be used.

What am I asking myself?

How can we use colour in the medical profession to improve diagnosis and management for patients suffering from long term and chronic pain?

What is currently being used?

1-10 pain scale and the smiley face system

Why does this need to be improved?

It doesn’t totally describe a specific kind of pain & everyone has a different pain tolerance

Who uses the pain scale commonly? 

Chronic illness and chronic pain patients

Why would they want an improved system?

Pain is such an individual experience. It’s very hard to communicate this experience to other people. By helping people feel less isolated we reduce the risk of mental health issues associated with chronic conditions

“Until I became a patient with chronic pain I never understood how complicated that scale actually is.” [1]

Why would colour help translate this pain?

With different hues and saturation, we can visually communicate the types of pain and intensity. This can be especially useful for visual learners and those with dyslexia also. It might not help everyone, but if it helps even one person feel less isolated then we should use it.

Where would this tool be used?

This tool would be used by pain patients to help explain their pain to family, friends, careers and medical professionals at home and as an added tool for younger or newly diagnosed patients at GP’s and hospitals


This week I was asked to make and produce my self initiated project idea.

Imagine and make one design response to your self initiated project brief, as outlined on your mood boards. Demonstrate your development. Upload initial ideas and sketches to the Ideas Wall and reflect on them in your blog.

Make prototypes and experiment with design and production techniques to ensure you engage with your target audience. Do not forget to record all tests, even if they fail, and add them to the Ideas Wall.

Design and deliver your final outcome, in line with your original aim and objectives.

Last week I had narrowed down my self initiated project to only 5 possible outcomes. It was quite obvious from the response from peers, friends and family that the swatch idea was the better choice. A colour swatch book was something everyone believed would understand. A tool you could handle and be able to visually compare pain levels as if it was paint swatch.

Screenshot 2019-10-01 at 14.04.55

Derived from my book idea I designed a mock-up of each page of the swatch book so I can begin testing how this swatch book could look.

I wanted to make a physical mock-up of ‘the colour of pain’ swatch book to have an initial look at what the outcome could be. I made it small and tactile for now. However, through this process, I learnt a few things. I wanted it to be small, however, this doesn’t seem to work. It needs to be substantial and heavy to feel important. Similar to how you pick up a hardbound book and without looking at the cover you already know it’s worth. So I would want this printed on some heavy card. The binding would also need to be important, as the elastic I used was flimsy and made the product look cheap. I need to explore the options of binding further.


I have been able to produce a mock-up that visualises the product that I want to produce. However, this mock does not serve any purpose at the moment. I need to revert back to the scale that I made. The swatch book is basically a more tactile version of this graph that I put together. So I need to design this book to successfully explain this information.

Screenshot 2019-10-01 at 13.55.11


Using a similar style to the Pantone and Dulux colour charts most people recognise, I wanted to redesign my swatch to look recognisable but explain this information. So I decided to break each page down by its hue for the type of pain. Then on this page, it starts from a deep ‘strong’ pain at the bottom, the colours (and the type of pain) then get lighter as it goes up the page, up to a ‘weak’ pain. I also numbered these – this could be used to reference pain over a period of time. This works on each page to simplify each type of pain.

I was then able to begin designing the final outcome. From this, I could then produce some digital mock-ups to visualise how this outcome would look.

Mock up

Mock up.45

Mock up.90

This design seemed to be very successful. I was very happy with the design, it is simplistic and easy to understand for anyone. I then began making the print-ready files and thinking about how I would produce this as a physical mock-up.

As I learnt from my previous mock-up, it needs to be a heavier material and have a more structural bind. Although I know I won’t be able to produce an exact sellable product right away, I wanted to make something as similar to the real product as possible.

Screenshot 2019-10-12 at 19.46.19.pngI had the files at the ready to begin printing. I had to consider what materials I could use that I could easily get my hands on to make this.

I couldn’t print this on thick card with the time I had, but if I had longer I think I would have printed each page on 400+ gsm. So using the digital printer I had to hand I printed on the heaviest card I could, 180gsm.

I then had to bind the pages together using something that would allow the pages to turn freely 360 degrees. After careful consideration and a lot of time thinking over this, I found a simple solution. Split pins. Although this is not a permanent solution this works for the mock-up. For the actual product I would’ve used a sophisticated button bind. The same bind as most swatch books.

Dual3 copyDual4 copyDual5 copyHorizontal copyVertical copyZoom2 copy






  1. 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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