Module 4. Brief 1. Week 4.
I have now produced an outcome for my self initiated project. I now had to get feedback for my work.
This week the creative practitioners how their self-initiated projects have helped shape their studio identity. Many of them agree that it highlights topics that they are really passionate about. You can learn about areas of work that you really care about – this can then develop into a new direction or ethos that a studio may follow. The direction of the design work you produce follows that of what you enjoy to produce. This also brings in the clients that want to be part of your clientele. As well as this, you can find a new route to go down, a new lease on life, somewhere you wouldn’t have ventured to unless you took the time to work on your own briefs.
I am extremely passionate about self-initiated project making my career and building my client network. As a designer, you attract people who are interested in the work you produce, so producing more of the work you are passionate about
They then went to discuss the main differences between self-initiated work and collaborative client-led projects. The responses revolved mostly around personal discipline. You learn a lot of self-organisation giving yourself a brief – you need to make time for it. Not only do you have to invest the time for yourself, but you also need to brief yourself a budget, give yourself a deadline, and keep yourself on track. I could easily get lost unless I set myself my own clear brief that I will stick to. With a client-led project, this is all given to you.
Similarly, there is always a hierarchy – someone is always control of the project outcome and its nearly always someone other than ourselves; whether its the client, project manager, a company board. I need to set my own limitations and I also need to be the person that makes the final decisions, which sometimes can feel like the most difficult part.
I need to remember self-initiated projects are an investment in myself. Learning new approaches, new skills, all that will help in my professional life and build my career. This all comes at a cost of time spent working on these as opposed to paid client work. There might be a budget for some self-initiated projects that I need to invest in myself. The freedom of producing my own brief and being the key decision-maker on a project is daunting. But as I have found during the last 4 weeks, it is all worth it in the end.
I needed to gain feedback for my final outcome so I can summaries my project and answer my question adequately. Through this project, I knew I wanted to talk to pain patients to understand the audience I was targeting better. I am a pain patient myself and based it on my beliefs, however, for this project to work I need it to work for a majority of pain patients – not just myself.
I organised to meet some of the people who attend an IBD support group that I run. Those with this disease usually suffer from pain on a daily basis. I wasn’t able to meet these patients until the end of the project, but I used this time to get their initial thoughts on the fundamentals of my project brief before showing them my final outcome – the swatch book.
This was a really great experience to openly discuss this topic with people that really understand it. I was able to get a range of feedback about the project idea and the outcome itself.
I put together this podcast of the discussion so I can reference this feedback for the future and when summarising my project. I also added comments on the video to summarise what was being discussed so I can recall the outcomes of this discussion.
Record a five-minute presentation to analyse and evaluate the development of your self initiated project and reflect on the different steps and evolution over the last four weeks.
You can record your presentation in the format or media of your choice (for example, a Keynote slide presentation, video recording, podcast or website).
Ensure you articulate the project’s relationship to your own personal practice, interests and creative identity.
I produced a lot of work in these weeks and documented my work through my blog posts, notes, sketches, presentations, physical mock-ups, photographs and videos. This meant I had a lot of content to work with. I decided the best way to produce this video, was to compile a transcript that explains the project and the process and outcome, which I can then read alongside a presentation.
- Hi, I am Sasha Mitchell. I am going to talk to you about my self-initiated project, The Colour Of Pain
- A self-initiated project is a great way of producing work that you are passionate about and for causes that you want to work with and for.
- By producing work you enjoy making, you are building a portfolio to entice clients that you will enjoy working for.
- I decided to start this project by listing my Module 1 project
- From this, I could see which project I could possibly take further.
- There were a few that could be developed; I decided to sketch some of these ideas out and imagine what outcomes could come from them
- I realised I was looking in the wrong place for my project
- I needed to ask a question about what I was passionate about, which led me to design a small question book for myself
- I asked questions such as:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you say no too?
- What are the priorities in your life?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What can you do to change this?
- What have others done to change this?
- Who can you talk to to help gather information?
- Where can you start gathering information?
- This seemed to be a project in itself – but I used these questions to lead onto my actual self initiated project.
- The Colour Of Pain – I care deeply about physical and mental illnesses and the awareness of diseases.
- After researching a number of project routes I could go down I can up with a question I was passionate about answering.
- ‘Can we use colour in the medical profession to improve diagnosis and management for patients suffering from long term and chronic pain?’
- This was a deep question that sparked an interest I already have in colour theory, giving the tool of colour meaning.
- 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.
- Who uses the pain scale commonly? – Chronic illness and chronic pain patientsWhy 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.” 
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
- I created a timeline for how I would achieve this project over the coming week
- At this point, I understood the brief I had given myself – I now needed to begin visualising how this brief could go.
- I looked at 5 routes that I could answer this brief with, a badge, forms, a book, a poster, and the most responded to the idea, a swatch book.
- Beginning to realise that this was the better route, I started experimenting with it.
- I began by talking a colour picker and looking at how I could possibly use the X & Y axis, competing the intensity of pain against the type of you might feel, such as burning and aching.
- I began designing the swatch book pages, with strips of colour correlating with the types of pain I gave to them in the graph I made
- From this, I was able to produce a small mock-up of this idea
- People were responding well to this visualisation; I learn from this that the piece had to be large and tactile. The weight and paper would be as important as the visuals. Similarly to a Pantone book or Dulux paint chart
- From what I learnt from this test, I began developing a final piece.
- I improved the shape, the layout of the colours, I named each colour and labelled them with their HEX codes.
- It was a large improvement. I was able to digitally mock these up to see how the design would work as a swatch book.
- Once I was happy, I printed the pages onto thick card and bound them with split pins.
- Although it was not a full product outcome – It was functional and I was able to see the success of the product.
- Now I had the product to hand, I decided to interview pain patients from an IBD Support Group that I run. I questioned them on their views of pain management, the 1-10 pain scale, and they agreed that there is a large deal being missed with this system.
- Their response to my product was a positive one, I also got a lot of critical feedback that I was pleased with that could help toward taking this project further if I wished to.
- Overall I found that colour can be used to translate pain for chronic pain patients, however, everyone responds differently and it may not work for everyone.
- If this product was to hand I believe many pain patients would find some comfort in it, even if it is a small one
- With even some of the people I interviewed wanting to take the swatches away with them.
Now I had this scrip that successfully explained my project, process and reasoning, I was able to put together a slideshow of correlating content that I gathered during the project to better explain myself.
After getting this content in place, I then recorded the transcript to produce a functioning podcast that successfully explains my project.
This has been an insightful project – I have learnt a lot about what it takes to fathom an idea for a self-initiated project and the process of producing work for a brief you have set yourself. It is clear to me now how much effort it takes to produce a self-initiated project, which now means in the future when I know I will need to produce work for myself to pad out my portfolio (or other reasons) I will need to dedicate enough time for it. I also need to remember how important it is to work on projects that I am personally passionate about. This will power will help me greatly in the future.
I am more specifically proud of this project and this podcast video I have put together that successfully explains my full process and reiterates the importance of these projects. I can return to this video in the future myself and remember why I have done this and why I should continue to work on self-initiated projects.