The Significance of Information: First Data Project and Brief

So now we all knew what information design actually was, it was time for us to do some designing for ourselves.

The First Data Project

Firstly we were set a half hour project on ‘sense-making’ of data to warm up before being given our brief for the next week. In order to create the data which we would be using, the whole class was given the same seven questions to each answer anonymously:

  • If you had to be stuck in a lift with somebody, who would that be?
  • What is your favourite book/publication?
  • If you had to listen to one song on repeat, what would it be?
  • When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What is your guilty pleasure?
  • Who inspires you?
  • If you won the lottery, what is the first thing that you would buy?

Once everyone had answered the questions, we were split into seven smaller groups of three and given one question each. My group was given, “When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?” We had to decide on a relative and suitable, but imaginative and creative way to display the data that we had in front of us. Some of the answers included professions such as “teacher”, “police officer”, “vet”, “cricket player”, “ballerina” and even some more unusual choices such as “Peter Pan”. We began by organising them into categories and broke them down into five: sport, academic, arts, public services, and unusual.

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And this is how we arranged it…

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We set the data within the scene of a child’s bedroom, with five main child-related items or toys located in different places around the room – each item represented each of the five categories that we split our data into. The toy stethoscope in the medical box represents ‘academic‘, the toy train represents ‘public services‘, the easel represents ‘arts‘, the cricket bat represents ‘sport‘ and finally, we have included Peter Pan himself to represent the more imaginative answers. We have used fingerprints around each representative items to display the tally of answers given within each category. For example, four finger prints on the easel show that four people wanted to have a profession within the arts sector when they were growing up. The illustration itself is in a messy style as it is supposed to look as if a child themself has drawn it, thus suiting the original question.

As we only had half an hour to sort our data and then both come up with an idea and construct our design, the final outcome is obviously not as good as it could have been if we had longer. However, I feel that by doing this short workshop, it will be of help to both myself and my group when it comes to fulfilling our next brief, as we now know how the process works and how we do it.


The Brief – Beautiful Systems Project

In the afternoon after the mini-project, David gave us our brief to work on for the next week of field on. In our same small groups of three from earlier in the day and asked to create a series of three outcomes that share a system or convention, and will revolve around a moment in time.

Initially, our group came up with the idea of focusing on brands. We wanted to focus specifically on: shoes, coats and facial/head wear. Within each of these sections we would look for the style, the brand and the colour. However, on speaking to David before going and carrying out our research, he pointed out that it was a huge amount of information to collect within the time we had been given of only one hour. David suggested focusing on just one of our three specifics. In the end, we decided on shoes.

Our survey that we then carried out between 3pm and 4pm, involved asking students what course they were studying on and then making a note of this and then also the style of shoe that they were wearing. We made a tally chart with options of four different shoe styles: skate (Vans, Converse, etc.), sport (Nike/Adidas trainers, etc.), boots, heels. Before carrying out our survey we had a rough hypothesis that the art school students would be the more quirkily dressed, so we set out to either disprove or confirm this. We focused on three different schools within the campus: the Art School, the Business School and the Health Science School.

Within the time boundaries, we collected an overall tally of about 150 students: 50 from each school. I am looking forward to laying out the data more neatly and clearly so we can see whether there is a trend at all between the shoes they wear and the course they’re on.

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