Initial Brief Review
Unlike the previous projects, translation & transmission will be a semester long and each brief will flow into the next. I'm excited to work on a larger scale project but apprehensive about picking a topic. I will need to build a strong foundation over these first few weeks to ensure that I can produce a developed project on a solid subject area.

The first brief - 'research insights' talks about selecting and exploring a research topic 'with a view to communicating research insights... in order to provoke an audience'. The brief goes on to talk about themes, scopes, lenses and aims for selecting research topics but I think this is a bit unnecessary and I won't fuss too much about conforming to these restrictions. I feel like it will be more important to find a suitably complex subject area to research but then to find a more specific angle to approach it from in order to 'reveal hidden perspectives'. This is a really research heavy project so I think it will be important to find some effective resources that I can work from. In past projects I've struggled to find an appropriately diverse range of sources so I will have to make sure that I'm using the internet as well as books, journals and primary sources.

For the first brief, the research insights we develop will form the basis for a risograph printed infographic. I really like risograph as a medium so I'm excited to use it for an infographic project. The clean lines and vibrant colour provide a great aesthetic when used alongside a strong visual style but I also feel that riso printing highlights the weaknesses of design if it is lacking.

Alongside the infographic and other visual outcomes, we are required to develop a piece of academic writing that will support and go alongside our research. This will be split up into short chunks of around 300 words that will be requirements for each brief. To me this seems like a really strange way to write something but hopefully it will mean the work comes more easily. However I imagine it will take some rewriting to form it into a cohesive piece.
Text to image workshop
The first workshop of the semester was led by Chris and was based around visualising information. We were given a selection of articles from science magazines that were text based and tasked with creating a visual from the information using basic paper techniques. My article was about 'rodeo ants' that ride on the backs of larger ants, laying eggs and tricking other colonies into looking after their young. I thought this was a fun idea to visualise but I spent most of the time drawing and cutting out ants from a sheet of paper. I think I should have gone for a more abstract style because in the end my graphic didn't really say a lot. I'm a big proponent of analogue working processes and I enjoyed using paper to craft the images. I think it's an interesting way of developing work, especially when thinking about risograph because it helps limit the shapes, colours and textures available in a similar way to two colour riso printing.
Rodeo ants paper infographic
Photo by me
What does politics mean to me?
Politics is an incredibly vague term so I thought it might be helpful to try examine what it means to me. It's easy to talk about the literal interpretation of politics - governments, prime ministers and political parties but I think politics covers much more than political institutions. I keep thinking about a quote from Lucien Roberts' 'curated by...' talk last semester that discussed the idea that 'everything is political'. The idea that politics influences every aspect of life is a really relevant one in today's world where it's nearly impossible to live your life without taking a political stance - through the businesses you support, the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the people you talk to.

Personally I like the political topic because I'm quite interested in politics in general. I'm fascinated by current US politics but I feel that I might be able to produce a more meaningful outcome if my project looks at issues closer to home. It's important to me to avoid cliches so I hope I will be able to pick a project that has a fresh perspective on things and will allow me to bring something new to the table.
Dr Knut Roder: Politics
Head of politics at Hallam, Knut Roder gave us an introductory talk about politics to get us started for the project. I was expecting it to be a really basic and boring discussion about the principles of politics and the political system but it was really much more of a free flowing discussion about contemporary politics and topical political issues including Brexit, identity politics, social politics and globalism. He talked about political trends and how things have changed over time as well as how things will likely change in the future. I was really interested in the discussions about political divisions; the gap between the left and the right as well as between the young and the old. He mentioned that the older you get, the less likely you are to care about the things like the environment and that your age massively influences how you will vote, more so than many other factors. The amount of young people who have come of age as well as well as the older people who have since died since 2016 would mean that if we repeated the controversial brexit referendum today with all other factors remaining the same, the outcome would look very different. Last semester, I looked into polarisation in politics and Dr Roder discussed the increasing gap between the political left and right, with the rise of populism through figures like Donald Trump & Boris Johnson. Although he briefly talked through some of the basics of politics like ideologies, governments and political theory, most of Dr Roder's talk was him taking a shallow
Winter Infographics Review
After Dr Roder's talk, we discussed the different infographics that we produced over the winter break. My infographic was called 'does my dog hate me' and aimed to quantify an abstract idea in a numerical and visual way. Over a week, I tracked incidences where my dog was overly friendly to me as well as incidences where she was less friendly and ranked them by severity. I also tracked the times when other family members were in the house as a way to determine whether or not my dog acts differently around me vs other people. I'm not a huge fan of my infographic and I really think I could have done it more effectively. Looking at the finished thing, the topic just isn't that interesting to me and I think the way I tracked it is neither engaging nor meaningful. I wanted the infographic to look minimal and sophisticated but I think it looks too simple and it's not very easy to understand it's meaning. If I were to repeat the task, I think the visuals should either be more abstract and interesting or more figurative and meaningful. When all of the class' infographics are displayed on the wall, mine blends in and I should aim to produce eye catching designs. Despite my issues, hopefully this task has allowed me to stretch my infographic muscles so that I can produce something really effective for the risograph brief.
'Does my dog hate me?'
By me
Possible Research Ideas
Looking at this semester, there's not a huge amount of time afforded for each project so I think it's really important for me to decide on a research topic quickly. During my past projects, my least effective outcomes came when I did poor research or when I took too long deciding on topics so I must work quickly here.

So far, the ideas that have interested me the most are based around political divisions. I've tried to tackle similar projects in the past looking at bridging the political divide but I still think there is interesting things to examine outside of the classic left wing vs right wing ideologies. The age gap that Dr Knut discussed is one but I could also investigate geographic division (things like the north vs the south), cultural division (religion & traditional ideology) and social divisions (rich vs poor, class divide).

I don't love the way the brief tells us to pick topics but I'm pretty sure I want my project to be based around present day politics, probably in the UK.
Concept Mapping
Politics Concept Map
Photo by me
We did a concept mapping workshop in the studio to help us develop our projects and come up with project ideas. Concept maps give me major flashbacks to first year because I never really figured them out and we did them to death but I'm starting to figure them out. The key difference between a concept map and a mind map is that the concept map illustrates a concept and the connections between each aspect of it. We made a concept map about politics in the session but I found it really difficult to map our ideas with much coherency. Concept maps still feel pretty arbitrary to me but I might try produce one for my project and see if it helps.
Inequality & Social Mobility
I think I've landed on a general research theme for my project. Inequality feels like a nice vague thing to look into but I think it's important enough for my project to be interesting and there is plenty of ways I can narrow down my research. A while ago I listened to a podcast that discussed the idea of social mobility in the UK and I think it might work well to look at social mobility in relation to general inequality. The Sutton Trust, one of Britain's leading charities regarding social mobility defines it as follows:
"Social mobility is about ensuring the opportunities open to a young person are not dependent on the economic and social position they were born into. High levels of social mobility mean that people from all backgrounds are able to access the opportunities suited to their talents and aspirations. It's crucial for creating a fairer society, fostering social cohesion and boosting economic growth.
Yet social mobility in Britain is low. For a child born in the UK today, their chances in life are strongly linked to their parents' background. Those from high-earning families are more likely to end up going to the best universities and getting top jobs later in life. "
In short, social mobility is the movement of individuals between layers of society. In a fair society, somebody born poor should have equal potential to get rich as somebody born into a rich family. But that is frequently just not the case. The class divide in Britain may have gotten smaller over the past decades but the gap between rich and poor is stronger than ever.

Social mobility is a key aspect of inequality and is an important marker of how fair a society is. The problems of inequality are in the vicious cycles it creates for the people at the bottom who, through a lack of opportunities never have chance to improve their situation. The dream of capitalism describes a society where hard work and perseverance will lead to success but this facade is crumbling: If we want to create a fairer society, it's vital that we study and improve social mobility.
Educational Inequality
One of the key factors that seems to influence an individual's potential to succeed is education. Consistently, children who achieve higher levels of education as well as attending higher quality schools are more likely to get better jobs and earn more in the future. This is important when we compare access to education between different social strata - people born into poor families are far less likely to attend high quality schools and (as a result) are also much less likely to do well in their GCSEs & A levels and are less likely to move on to higher education. According to the Education Endowment Foundation's 'Closing the attainment gap' (2018) report, 'a majority of 19 year-olds who have been eligible for free school meals leave education without a good standard of recognised qualifications in English and maths'. Furthermore, when compared to their more advantaged classmates, disadvantaged students are twice as likely to leave formal education without GCSEs in maths and English. Much of the attainment gap stems from the simple fact that schools in economically disadvantaged areas tend to be significantly worse than in wealthier areas. A 2018 Labour analysis revealed that the poorest students are nine times more likely to attend a school that ofsted rates as 'inadequate' .It is undeniable that a student's economic background will influence their academic achievement and as such, it is completely unfair to suggest that all students are offered an equal chance at success.

On the other end of the educational spectrum, the most privileged members of our society are offered unfair opportunities in life through their access to high quality private schooling. These exclusive institutions gather children from the wealthiest families in an environment designed to nurture networks of elitism and to perpetuate privilege. On top of smaller class sizes, access to high quality facilities and well payed, world class tutors, private schools teach children how to speak, how to dress and how to act in a way that will ensure they reap the benefits of their class. Despite only 7% of all students attending private schools, privately educated individuals make up 39% of the country's leading figures (Sutton Trust, 2019). 29% of all MPs were privately educated along with 57% of the house of lords, 33% of all newspaper columnists and over half of the Sunday Times' 'Rich List'. Private schools produce generations of advantaged individuals that are massively over represented in the most influential positions within government, business and the media.
Income inequality & Wealth Distribution
I also think it would be interesting to do a project on general economic inequality. You often see statistics about the distribution of wealth and I think it might make for an effective, impactful project.

'We are the 99 percent' is an slogan that arose from the 'Occupy Wall Street' protests of 2011. It's based on the idea that 1% of the population are super-rich, elitist individuals who benefit from low taxes and over-representation in politics while the other 99% are hard working, tax paying individuals who are suffering because of the inequality. I think talking about inequality through the lens of wealth distribution might be an interesting idea because it allows me to take a stronger stance against the issues. When we talk about rich vs poor, it's very easy to get bogged down in the politics of it all. At the end of the day, it's difficult to make a convincing case that people who have earned their money don't deserve it. However, when we talk about wealth distribution, we are talking about a tiny tiny proportion of people who possess unfathomably huge amounts of money. Unless you spend like Bill Gates on charity endeavours, it's almost impossible to actually spend all of your money if you are a multi billionaire. As I write this, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world is hovering at around $150 billion as Amazon rockets towards a trillion dollar valuation. These levels of wealth are inherently unethical and unlike your day to day millionaire, they're much harder to justify. A project criticising this aspect of wealth distribution might make for an interesting concept.
Union Jack Graphic Experiments
Working from some data I found about wealth distribution, I started playing around with representing it graphically. Based on ONS statistics about the distribution of household wealth, I found that the top two percentiles (20%) control almost two thirds (61%) of the country's wealth between them. I really like the idea of corrupting the Union Jack flag as a representation of our country's wealth so I used it as a jumping off point to create a kind of square pie chart.

I've used the flag to represent 100% of the wealth and then expanded the central red cross to make up 61% of the total area. I also made an alternate version using the blue triangles instead. I really like this concept because the flag is such a recognisable image that it becomes really impactful when it is corrupted. Because people are so familiar with the usual shape, the altered proportions feel uncomfortable and magnify the effect of the graphic. I think the red version is more effective because although the blue triangles are sharp and violent, the expanded red creates a bloated, claustrophobic feeling that works really well with my message of a bloated and greedy upper class.

My main issues with this context is the subtext that comes with using the flag. If I'm using the St George cross to represent the upper classes, am I implying that the English possess all of the wealth? The same thing applies if I use the blue triangles from the St Andrew's Cross. The graph is based on the proportions of the final image but I think there may be an implication that it's based in some way on the proportions of the original flag. If I'm representing 60% of the wealth being controlled by 20% of the population, do I need to find a shape from the original that makes up 20% of the flag to demonstrate the disproportionality?

Furthermore, I'm not convinced by the statistics I found because I can't find a clear definition of household wealth within the study. I want to be really sure about the statistics I'm using because the message should be clear. Am I saying that each percentile should proportionally be in control of wealth (1% Controls 1%)? Because that suggests that there should be no difference between the rich and the poor. I think it's more important to look at the richest 1% and what influence they have. The main issue behind economic inequality is the massive amounts that billionaires and the super rich control. I will need to do more research about this but I have a feeling that this number, although important, might not work as well for the flag idea. If 1% of the population control 10% of the wealth, that is an important statistic but it might not look very impressive if the flag is expanded to 10%.
Educational Inequality & Private Schools
I've decided the stuff about wealth distribution is interesting but won't be enough to carry the project. As a result, I think for my infographic, I will look more generally at inequality and the divide between rich and poor, with a focus on social mobility, education and the barriers between classes.

I've been looking towards the Sutton Trust a lot for my research. They are an interesting organisation that investigates issues surrounding social mobility in a range of areas. I've been reading reports of theirs such as 'Elitist Britain' which investigates the backgrounds of various members of the nation's highest occupations.

Unsurprisingly, the report finds that in many areas of society, the leading roles are overwhelmingly taken by people who were privately educated. This suggests that these people come from wealthy backgrounds and are well connected with other wealthy individuals; in other words, the elite. The report has a bunch of interesting statistics in it that I think I will use for the basis of my infographic. I want to communicate the advantages that are offered to the elite individuals who come from privileged backgrounds.
Risograph Poster Development
Although I'd like to spend more time researching and refining my research topic, but I need to get cracking with the design if I want to have anything ready by Monday when we will be printing. I think it might be interesting to approach the poster from two angles; One looking at the challenges faced by less fortunate members of society and the other looking at the upper classes and the unfair opportunities that they are afforded. Initially, I played around with putting one part upside down so that the poster needed to be rotated but I decided that it was a bit unnecessary and would make for an annoying wall poster so I instead used opposing colours to represent each side. I think this will work really well for a riso print. In my initial design, I made some long, diagonal rectangles that bisect the page and spread across it as a visual representation of 'barriers'. I selected some statistics from my research that demonstrate the difficulties/advantages of being born on either side of the line and the rectangles are partly filled to create bar charts representing these ideas. At this point, I quite like the reduced, overprinted style that I've been working with but I don't love the poster itself. The statistics feel a bit random and don't make very effective points. I think it might be overall more effective if I can refine the topic or if I include some paragraphs explaining my poster.
Further Riso Development
After developing the poster a bit further, I settled on a few visual motifs for my risograph. The 'privileged' side of the poster features a series of straight lines diverging from a single point before reaching a series of boxes. The directness of this imagery represents the simplicity and inevitability that ensures rich children can succeed. Between the lines, the wedges are partly filled in with diagonal lines. These are used to represent the data I gathered about privilege. Lines diverge in all directions from a point that is surrounded by concentric circles. These represent the barriers in place preventing the underprivileged from succeeding. These wedges have likewise been turned into bar charts representing data. I really like the idea of visually representing the struggles/advantages but I think I could do this in a more successful way. The lines coming from the poor side are mostly going straight up which I think confuses the message. I think the two sides should be less similar.

I put most of the information on the page into text boxes that are overlaid. I wanted the page to feel busy but I'm not sure this makes much sense for the overall communication. The text boxes in blue are in neat little boxes and have a white background to make them easily legible as opposed to the red text boxes which aren't enclosed and are overlaid directly onto the graphics. This is a subtle way to again represent the struggles of class. I really like this idea but it's not obvious why I made that decision in the final image and it could have been done more effectively.

I added some photos to illustrate my points. The data about rich children is represented by Eton college and the Houses of Parliament whereas the poor children are represented by a generic comprehensive school. I think the architecture of these places is a really interesting symbol of class and works well to illustrate my points. The photographs are halftone filtered which works well for risograph but I made the mistake of scaling them down after filtering them which means the dots can't be seen on some images. I also feel that the images look way to dense in the final image and draw the eye far too strongly. I think either the whole poster should be designed to be the same density or I should think more strongly about the visual heirarchy. For example, the titles should be in solid colour.
Final Riso Poster
Risograph feedback review
In the studio, we collected our risograph prints and assembled them for a feedback review. I think one of the strengths of riso prints is that they look really good when assembled together. It's one of my favourite printing processes because the colours and subtle textures can really elevate a design.

I feel like my infographic didn't look great compared to everybody else's. There were some really effective, eye catching pieces of work and I think mine looked too busy in comparison. I think the most effective posters made by peers where the ones that played to the strengths of risograph which I think are the bold colours and crisp shapes. I really liked Lydia's psychedelic mushroom poster and Louis' black and pink media infographic.

I generally find these feedback sessions a bit hit or miss because mostly people just try to find compliments but I thought it was really useful to be able to directly draw on people's work and critique it.

Risograph self evaluation
I definitely need to go back and work on my riso print again. The annoying thing about the process with this project is that it's hard to make prototypes and see what it will look like in the final version. My largest issue with my infographic is that the actual information isn't very strong. I think I should go back and develop my research further so that I have a really solid foundation to work from. The infographic needs a clear goal and message which it currently lacks. It might be neccesary to reduce the scope of the infographic in order to make a simpler point more clearly.

Secondly, I need to further refine the visuals. I don't hate them but they definitely don't work massively well within my poster. The abstract ideas I've used are good but they need to be clearer and more logical. I need to adjust the visual density to give the infographic a sense of rhythm and balance and I need to organise the text in order to clearly define my message. This probably means representing my data differently or choosing different data sets to represent. I think Garamond works well as a 'posh' and 'sophisticated' font but I think there could be a better typeface for the working class elements that works well and harmonises more with Garamond.

Hopefully I will have time in the next few weeks to refine and reprint my infographic.
WPA Studio Visit
To help us prepare for a sandwich placement year, Charlotte organised us to visit WPA studio in Leeds. I'm starting to stress a little about placements for next year so I really appreciated the chance to do some active work towards placements. WPA are based in Leeds which makes them an absolutely ideal place for me to look for a sandwich placement. On the day, we got the train to Leeds and wandered over the studio. There we were met by a couple of members of their team (and offered ample refreshments). They gave us a presentation with some case studies they've worked on in the past and then a couple of junior members of their team took over and went through some projects they'd worked on personally in more detail and then finally we had a tour of their studio which is in an amazing old library.

I'm really glad I took the opportunity to visit WPA and I'm really grateful for Charlotte for organising it for us. It's made me think a lot more about what I want to do next year and I definitely will be approaching them with a placement inquiry soon. They have a portfolio crit session coming up in a couple of months which sounds like a great opportunity and I've got some interesting ideas about a mailer I could make to send them.

WPA studio
Brief review
Brief 2 sees us designing a 3D printed 'data object' to represent data. To help communicate the research, the data object will sit upon a printed key that will contextualise the shape.

I quite like the simplicity of this brief and I'm excited to get started with it. I think I will have to refine my research quite a bit because although I like the social mobility/inequality stuff, it seemed rather ill defined and I didn't reach a clear direction. The data object itself is quite a limited form of data representation so it will be important for me to pick a really specific area to look at. I should probably look at a small aspect of inequality that has a clear, easily communicable point that can be backed up with a single set of data.

I'm eager to start the 3D aspect of this project because I've only dabbled in 3D modelling before and it's a skill I really want to develop. The printed key feels a lot like the infographic we have just done so I will have to find a way to make the projects distinct.
Private Education Statistics
In my research for the last project, I came across a Sutton Trust cabinet analysis that contains some interesting statistics. It states that (as of 13 February 2020) over two thirds (68%) of the people within Boris Johnson's cabinet were privately educated. I think this is a really interesting statistic that goes really well with my research about private schools and social mobility. It

doesn't exactly apply to the whole country but I think it's a telling indicator of the links between the government and the upper classes and I think this might be an interesting jumping off point for my data object. I could use the object to discuss disproportionate representation of the wealthy within the government and question how well the government stands for the people it represents. My risograph infographic discussed private schools and their contribution to social inequality but for this brief, I will shine the spotlight on the government and it's relationship with private schools and the wealthy
I really like this statistic but Paddy did mention that we should be aiming for data sets with a range of data points so that our objects could more meaningful and so far all I really have is one percentage. While researching I came across another report by the Sutton trust and the government's social mobility commission. 'Elitist Britain' assesses the backgrounds of Britain's elite figures and determines where inequality lies in the upper echelons of Britain's government, business and media. There are a lot of interesting statistics in the report but the main relevant one I found was that in contrast to the 68% of people in the cabinet (and 48% of MPs- the lowest number on record) who were privately educated, only 7% of the wider population were privately educated. This means that if you graduate from a fee paying school, you are nearly 7 times more likely to get into government and nearly 10 times more likely to become a cabinet minister than your comprehensive school peers. Flipping this statistic on it's head - this means that 93% of the population are represented by barely half of the government and under a third of the cabinet. I think this is a really significant figure and will work really well for my data object. If I can compare and contrast the two, I could create a really meaningful object that discusses over and under representation in our government.
Data Object Development
In the studio we developed some ideas for out data objects. I'm fundamentally going to be working from the two sets of statistics that I researched. 68% of Boris Johnson's cabinet were privately educated while only 7% of the population were privately educated. It's a fairly simple set of numbers but I think the contrast between the two is what is important.
Now that I know what my object is representing in terms of the data, I need to decide what it will represent figuratively. A 3D pie chart is hardly an interesting and engaging outcome. I've been developing some ideas based around imagery from private schools. To me, that means trophy cases, embellished plaques and boater hats. Sports like lacrosse, horse riding and rowing, grand historical architecture and fashion from an Enid Blyton novel all paint the image of the classic public school life and it's this that I want to draw from for my data object.

I initially sketched out some ideas for a 'trophy' that could represent my data, with the top half representing 68% and the bottom half being 9.7 times smaller to represent the 7%. I like the symmetry of this idea and the whole 'trophy' thing works well as a poke at the self congratulatory nature of people who started with a huge advantage. Chris gave me a really great idea and said that I could use the imagery of a mortar board hat in some way. I really liked this idea because from the start of this project I've been wanting to make something that is some way interactive or dynamic. The mortar board shape with it's flat surface and round base could work as a pivot and I could 'balance' things on top. It might be interesting to give people multiple data pieces that they can place on top of the hat in order to balance the scales - with the real data set being horrifically off balance. This idea might also work well as a continuation of some of my ideas from last project because I got really interested in the architecture of schools and how they relate to the schools themselves. I had the idea of building a miniature school on the top of the mortarboard, with a bland rectangle for the comprehensive and a more sophisticated, elaborate structure for the private school.
I had the idea of representing my two data sets on two axes, giving the object different meanings depending on how you looked at it. From the side, the heights of the two buildings will represent the proportion of the cabinet that were privately educated. It will serve as a bar chart with the smaller 32% looking like a short but wide comprehensive and the 68% serving as a taller but much thinner tower that might be found on a historical private school like Eton.
From above, the object will act as a sort of square pie chart (I think similar to a waffle chart) where the area of the shapes will reflect the data. The smaller private school tower will represent 7% of the total shape in contrast to rest of the shape which will obviously represent the 93% of everybody else. I think realising the data in a physical form like this will really help highlight the contrast between representation and reality.
3D Print Workshop & Fusion360
At the end of this project, we will hopefully be 3D printing our data objects and placing them on a printed design that will explain and contextualise the object. To get us started, we had a workshop with Joe the technician where he went over the process of 3D printing as well as the basics of fusion360 which we will be using to develop or designs. I'm glad we got chance to go over the basics here because although I'm an advocate for the 'teach yourself' mentality with software, it's helpful to get a head start with short term projects like these. In the past I've had the opportunity to experiment a little with modelling and 3D printing so it's not entirely new stuff to me but the work flow is quite different here and it was nice to get refreshed. I've never used fusion360 before but I was really surprised by how lightweight and intuitive the software is. It's got some odd fiddly bits and pieces but overall I really like it and definitely think it will become a useful tool in the future.

Data Object Production
When it came to actually producing my 3D data object, I was surprised that it was actually a fairly quick and painless process. I think it was really useful that I developed strong sketches of the design before starting so I needed to do less experimenting while making it. I started by sketching out the base and extruding it to the correct height. The base was designed to be exactly 60 mm wide so the tower was initially designed to be 7% of that (4.2mm) however I thought that was a bit too thin to stand on it's own so
I made it slightly larger. I also added a

gap separating the tower from the main body to make it clearer that it was a separate body. I extruded the tower to be 1.8 times the height of the school so that the side view bar chart would make sense. To add detail, I put some little windows on the sides of the tower and gave it a slanted roof, also with windows. I wasn't sure how well the detail would come out in the final print so I didn't go overboard but I wanted to make sure that it was at least visually interesting. In the same vein, I added lots of very basic, very boring windows around the edges of the main school. On the roof, I added some ventilation ducts and skylights. I'm not entirely sure why I thought this was neccesary but I actually really like the way it looks. Certain details like this have a huge effect on the final outcome. Once the main component had been designed, I had to make the
mortar board that would be the base of the model. I gave the school a base layer that would be the flat part of the hat and then made a large sphere underneath, cutting it in half to form the hat. I knew that I wanted to try make the model tilt dynamically so I created a kind of ball and socket joint that would sit on the inside of the school with a gap allowing the top part to move around it without it falling off. I made it by creating a sphere above the base and connecting it with a chamfered cylinder. I then moved the base so that it was clipping inside the school and using the sphere as a centre point, created a new sphere to

cut out a cavity from the main model. Because the hole in the base is smaller than the sphere itself, I shouldn't have to worry about it falling out. This is the kind of thing that would have been really helpful to prototype to get working correctly but with this project we probably will only get one shot shot so I'm forced to design it and hope it works. I kept the joint clearance fairly small because I didn't want it to flop around much on it's own and if the mechanism doesn't work, I want the model to still function. Below is a technical drawing that explains the pivot mechanism in a simpler way.
3D printing & renders
We got our 3D prints back and I was super happy with how mine turned out. I was actually surprised it came back at all because it wasn't until after I submitted it that I realised it went way over the 60x60 mm cube we had been given but a lot of my model was actually empty space. The detail came out okay and especially in the areas where the you couldn't quite make out the details, you could at least tell that there was something there and that it wasn't just a white cube. The one disappointment I had was that the ball socket joint didn't work as intended. I'm pretty sure what happened is that the printing software filled the cavity with a support structure that was intended to be washed out but that didn't quite get dissolved with the rest of the model. I'm very tempted to just wiggle it around loads and see if I can get it to come loose but I'd rather not risk snapping the entire model and it's not at all the end of the world if my model is static. I'm still very happy with it.

I've gotten into the habit of trying hard to formalise and polish projects off before I move on from them so I really wanted to make some nice renders of my model so that I had some high quality images of the design. Fusion has a fairly straight forward render environment that I found quite easy to use but for some reason struggled to get a great render of my data object. I think it's partly due to the shape because you have to zoom out quite far to fit it all in and it gives the camera a slightly weird angle. I played around with materials for a while and the best outcome I got was this one which renders the model in a nylon material, similar to what 3D printers produce. I really like the slightly translucent, glowing effect it gave the model and I think it looks quite accurate to what the finished thing looks like.
Printed Key Development
Now that I've finished print, I need to design a printed key to go with it, explaining and contextualising the data object. Right now I like the title 'The Education Imbalance' because it seems like an explanatory but intriguing way to frame it. It also helps that it's not an overly sensationalist title and talks about the issue in a rational way. The whole imbalance thing is based on how my object is designed to tip towards the over represented privately schooled politicians and even though the model itself doesn't move like it should, I still like the idea. Because my data object revolves around the perspective it is viewed from, it's important that my print key reflects this idea and makes it super clear what elements refer to which data. I looked into orthographic projections and technical drawing styles because these are often based around a primary viewpoint and then secondary viewpoints defined from the first. I threw together a super basic print key for the studio

feedback review session but I'm really not sure how much I like it (The model was leaking a lot from the acid was). The horizontal lines in the background are meant to invoke the school theme without being too explicit. I considered ink splotches or doodles in the margins but figured it would be too much. I quite like the way the type interlocks and the large black serif works well but the layout doesn't really do anything for me. I might have to rethink the orthographic projection idea or at least make it more obvious. From the feedback, people liked the way the model worked but others didn't think the layout made the data clear enough. People in the session enjoyed the colour scheme - I designed it to invoke the conservative party as well as being two colour risograph ready. I think I will definitely have to rethink my printed key (and certainly print it in the correct scale next time).
Further Key Development
I wasn't satisfied with my initial key design and after sitting on it a few weeks, decided it was time to come back to finish it off. I threw out my initial design because I really wasn't happy with any of it and felt it would be better starting from scratch. My main issue with the first prototype was the layout so I started by sketching out alternative designs. I tested this vertical layout and decided that it works quite well because it keeps all of the important information in one line and I can more clearly direct the attention towards the data object. I found that by using arrows with dotted lines, similar to ones found in instructional diagrams, I could explain the concept in a really effective way. Simply by curving the arrows, I can suggest that the model is being flipped on its side in the diagram instead of being simply translated horizontally. I also added a dotted line around the edge of the model as it sits on the page and used that to clarify the perspective of the graphs. On the birds eye view, the dotted line is the same as on the model but on the side view, it is a single line below the graphic. It's not super noticeable but I think it subconsciously really helps the eye place the image. I added some more explicit graphs that clarify the shapes of my model and I think it works really well as an explanation of the data object.

Mortar Boards vs Blobs

Mortar Boards vs Blobs
The key is split into two halves with the top half representing the government and the bottom representing the populace. Initially, I was going to put silhouetted figures arranged in the top half but I realised that photos would be more effective to represent and hold to account the individuals in power. I took the photos of the cabinet from the parliament website (which was a huge pain) and ran them through a greyscale filter before arranging them in a grid. The photos also contrast a lot better with the bottom half where symbols are arranged to represent
the entire country (if the population is 66 million, each one represents 660,000 people). I decided to colour code the symbols in the margins to better communicate my point. People in red went to comprehensive schools and in blue, were privately educated. I also debated about the symbols used to represent the wider population in the bottom half. In the end I decided that mortar boards would be a more interesting replacement for faceless blobs and they would help reinforce the educational imagery of the poster.
I wrote some paragraphs above and below the two graphs to try and explain what the project is about. I don't love the copy here but I think it more or less serves it's purpose and makes the poster more understandable. Just before finishing the poster up, I added some little bars of solid colour below the cabinet member photos. This helped because the photos themselves are all shot slightly differently and don't sit on a grid nicely unless you keep the widths the same. I made sure that any shapes in the design were set to less than 90% opacity because I wanted to run it through a halftone filter before printing it and to have texture it needs to be less than solid colour. To apply the halftone, I separated the colours into different files and used photoshop bitmap modes to give it the lines. This never produces a perfect halftone effect but I think it looks really good when riso printed so I'm happy with it.

Testing Halftone Effects
Data object polish & presentation
Unfortunately, because of all of the coronavirus shutdowns, I won't be able to riso print my key like I had intended so this project won't be as finished as I would have liked. Furthermore, I foolishly left the 3D printed data object at uni (I've since moved home for the quarantine) so I will have to rethink how I present this project.
Paddy mentioned some software called 'adobe dimension' which allows me to insert a 3D model into an environment and create quick and easy renders. Dimension's USP though is that instead of a 360 immersive environment, it's backgrounds are static images which it uses to align the model and lighting, making it seem like the model exists exactly in that space. In dimension I created a flat plane object with the correct dimensions of my key and then pasted the design as a texture onto the object - allowing me to create a fairly convincing mock up of my project. I didn't have a huge amount of luck with the auto-alignment stuff but after some fiddling, I think my outcome looks passable. I couldn't find any great background images online so a shot of my bedroom window will have to do. After the render completed I took the image into photoshop and added an unbelievably subtle shadow to the bottom right corner as well as a very slight drop shadow. I think the effect of these is huge and massively helps sell the scene.
Curated By Jim Sutherl&
I feel like there have been fewer Curated by lectures this year which makes me kind of sad because I really enjoy them. The scheduling has been extremely annoying because they are always in the middle of our afternoon sessions so we have no choice but to skip the lecture or the session but I've made sure to go to the curated by lectures. Class sessions are usually quite interesting and helpful but I always find the curated bys to be extremely useful and interesting experiences.

This lecture was run by Jim Sutherland who founded studio Sutherl& in London. His talk was really interesting and he went through a number of case studies he has worked on, explaining the concepts and development along the way. I like the typographic influences that are present through his works, especially with projects like his branding for Pallant House museum which uses the square and round bracket motif throughout the logo as well as a wide range of elements throughout the museum. The main thing I found interesting about Jim's talk was his exhaustive exploration of a single theme or concept within each project but developing and remixing it throughout. His branding for Agatha Christie's estate repeatedly used punctuation marks and typography to express the content and were reused throughout.
Provocation & Interaction
Brief Review
Brief 3, Design Provocation revolves around using our research insights to generate an interactive experience with the intention of provoking an audience. It will be split into two phases: the first creating a 'pocket provocation' that will prototype the concept on a small scale before moving on to phase 2 where we will develop the idea into an ambitious final form. The provocation we produce in phase 2 can either be a interactive printed design, a series of time based designs, or a programmed interactive design piece.

I'm actually fairly excited about this brief because it seems to work really well with the kind of work I produce. I'm really interested in interaction and design as an experience so hopefully I can produce something interesting here. I've also been looking for a good opportunity to do some interesting digital work with coding and this seems like a great way to incorporate that into a physical brief. At the moment, I'm not sure exactly how I will use my research insights into this project but I'm sure I will be able to develop something that works well.
Project Development
For this project I think I want to move away from the educational inequality angle that I looked at previously. It's an interesting topic but I think I will get bored if I do more on it. I also feel like although important, it might be hard to find an approach that will be 'provocative' enough as it is more about nuance and systematic change than outrage and emotion. This time I think I want to zoom out slightly and look back to my research about social mobility and the class divide because I think there might be a more emotive angle I can take. I want to highlight the differences between classes, the difficulty in bridging the divide and the attitudes people have towards class that solidify the societal boundaries.

It's hard to come up with ideas at this stage because I really have no idea what I should be working towards. The strikes are ongoing so it's difficult to discuss with tutors/peers. Nevertheless, I've been looking at some symbols of class and thinking about how I might be able to apply them in a provocative way. In my research I found that some of the issues around class and private schools especially are that they teach you how to signify to other people that you are wealthy - how to talk, how to walk, what to wear. Signs of wealth and class are everywhere, especially in today's brand focused culture where people of all backgrounds try their hardest to appear wealthy.
As a very literal symbol of wealth, I think currency is really interesting. There are a lot of social and cultural codes wrapped around currency from the way people use it to the people that use it to the physical forms it can take. Money in general might traditionally be seen to represent the wealthier members of society but when we think about physical cash, it is often the poorer members of society that use it the most. Our currency is often seen to represent part of our national identity but it is interesting to think about what it really represents. The Queen appears on every bank note and coin in the country and is a blatant symbol of Britain's aristocratic class. I really like the idea of working with currency as a medium for my pocket provocation. Maybe I can create something that is more representative of the UK's working classes. Alternatively I could provoke people by highlighting the class divide in Britain with a set of coins to be used only by the working/upper classes. It would represent the social, cultural and economic division with a literal, physical division. The rich and poor spend their money very differently anyway - could this be represented in the form of the currency?

I really like the idea of minting some actual coins for phase 1 of this brief. I could use fusion360 to design them, wax 3D print them and then cast them in metal. I've been looking for excuses to use this process and I think having some nice heavy metal coins would be a really great outcome for this project.
Idea Development
I've spent a few days developing my coinage ideas and thinking about how I want to use them within the wider context of my project. The main issue I've been grappling with is what angle I want to take with how the coins represent the working classes. Some of the ideas I've been working with are based around using characters like Vicky Pollard to represent the working classes as a replacement for the Queen. My thinking here was that by looking at people through a negative, stereotype-laden lense, I would be highlighting the injustices of the class system as a whole and provoking a reaction against the rich elite who are actually the ones looking down on the poor. However, my main issue with this is that using stereotypes, even ironically, perpetuates the issue and maintains the idea that currency isn't representative. I can't expect people to associate with a currency that demonises their class and culture. I don't think it would be as effective as a provocation but I think it's important that I refrain from punching down with my project. I might be able to work around this by framing my coins as representative of our 'national identity'. Ant & Dec on the back of a coin is a more universal representation of our culture but still allows them to be removed from the traditional upper class setting.
Initial Coin Sketch Ideas
On the complete other hand, I think stereotypes are a key part of identity as well as a symbol of the divisions between classes. If I were to shy away from the harsher symbols of economic identity I would be missing an opportunity to have a really provocative project. If I were to make two sets of coins, one for the rich and one for the poor, I could highlight the issues around the class divide without seeming like I was punching down.

At this point I think I might be overthinking my problem and will take a few days before coming back to it.
Tanya Circuit Playground Workshop
To get us started with the interactive elements of Brief 3, Tanya came in to do a workshop with us using circuit playground controllers. Tanya works at pimoroni which is a Sheffield based company who make and distribute programming & engineering tools such as the rasperry pi and circuit playgrounds. In the past I've been able to learn some basic programming bits and pieces but never had the chance to work with physical boards like this so I'm quite excited about it all. In the workshop, Tanya took us through the basic functions of the circuit playgrounds and demonstrated to us how to assemble basic code using Microsoft's code block tools. I thought it was pretty fun tinkering around with this stuff but it did get a bit boring after a while. Although I'm sure it get's much more complex, I feel like I won't be using these tools for my project. It's silly but a part of me feels like using blocks like this is cheating and I should figure out the code properly if I want to do it. A big part of the brief requirement is producing something interactive and as much as I like my coin ideas, I don't think they count as a particularly deep interaction. I'm quite interested in using python for something so I might go away, brush up my skills and have a think about ways I can incorporate digital interaction into my project. Tanya is in again on Thursday so hopefully I'll have chance to ask her about the tech it might involve.
During the workshop I played around with the digital tools and made a little dice game. It randomly selects a number and then lights up each LED in turn until it reaches the corresponding number when it changes colour and plays a little noise. It's a silly little thing but I realised how much I enjoy tinkering with this kind of tech. I definitely want to use it again even if I'm not able to for this project.
It has been announced that the University will be closing due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Although a sensible decision, it is incredibly frustrating and will likely heavily affect my work for the rest of the semester. From this point onwards, all work will be done remotely and with little/no access to university facilities and resources. I will have to think about the correct approach to the rest of my project but it may mean I will have to work speculatively in regards to the physical work.
Defining My Pocket Provocation
I've been struggling a lot to juggle work with all of the chaos so I still have a way to go with my Phase 1 pocket provocation. At this stage, I usually find it helpful to clarify my goals within the project so that I can more easily see where it is headed and what the outcome might look like.
Because I can no longer physically produce the coins for my pocket provocation. I imagine my primary outcome will take the form of a document in the style of a royal mint press release that will showcase my coin designs while explaining the concepts behind my project. I will produce 2 sets of 3 coins each depicting stereotypical representations of the rich and the poor. The coins will feature figures that are representative of their respective class as well as cultural imagery.

Using the skills we developed on the second brief creating data objects, I will produce 3D models of each coins using fusion 360 and then create high quality renders from these designs. I've been playing around with blender and if I've got time, I think it would be really cool to create some simulations or more complex renders from the models. Looking ahead to brief 4, this kind of thing might come in really handy.
Coin Concept Development
I've decided that because my project has taken the general aim of protesting against social and economic inequality, it wouldn't make sense if the imagery on my coins celebrated each side of the argument. I think it would be more effective to highlight stereotypes and demonstrate the negative perceptions that inequality perpetuates. For each coin I've decided that I will select a key figure that represents that social class and on the reverse of the coin, I will select an appropriate image. The value of the coin will be based on the value of whatever the image represents, for example I considered representing sports betting on one of the 'poor' coins and in that case I might have made the coin worth 10p- the minimum bet on Ladbrokes.

I've decided to start with one of the 'rich' coins because of a news article I saw about Jacob Rees Mogg and I figure that he is a strong representation of the negative traits associated with the rich. Mogg was privately educated at Eton and comes from a lineage of privilege and wealth. He is currently leader of the house of commons and is well known for his socially conservative views. Outside of politics, he founded a hedge fund and is estimated to have a personal wealth of over £100 million. I think this firmly establishes Mr Mogg as a member of the elite establishment and therefore an effective symbol for my coin.

On the flip side of this coin, I have chosen to pictoralize Eton College in Windsor. For hundreds of years, this elite private school has been a representation of the 'superior education' that is awarded to those in our society that can afford it's tuition fees. Eton College is considered a pillar of the establishment and has educated 20 of our prime ministers - including current PM Boris Johnson. From my research I found that Eton charges a tuition of roughly £14,000 per 'halve'. For some reason Eton has 3 halves so I calculated a yearly cost of £42,501 not including expenses. I think this is a good number for the value of my coin because for most it is an absurdly high amount of money but for certain members of the elite, it is pocket change.

A lot of my work for the previous two briefs have largely focused on social inequality in regards to education and although I want to change my scope slightly for this project, I still think it's important to cover education - particularly in regards to the education received by our political leaders.
Coin Imagery
I've brainstormed some ideas and I think I've landed on the people/things that I want to feature on the next three coins.
For the second Rich coin, I've decided to feature Prince Charles as a representative of the elite. Although he is a member of the royal family (who are already well established on our currency) Charles, unlike the queen, hasn't managed to maintain quite as clean a public image. In a book I came across the 'black spider memos' - a series of 27 memos sent by the Prince of Wales to senior politicians and members of parliament. According to his former private secretary the Prince "routinely meddled in political issues and wrote sometimes in extreme terms to ministers, MP's and others in positions of political power and influence". These memos included issues such as farming, global warming, genetic modification and architecture. An un-elected member of the monarchy making clear and direct attempts to influence our democracy are huge here and are an important example of the establishment getting out of control. Putting Prince Charles on my coin is a chance to criticise the monarchy and the elite whilst avoiding cheap stereotypes.
Amongst the many 'black spider' memos was one sent in 2002 to prime minister Tony Blair that strongly opposed Blair's fox hunting bans. In the letter, Charles said he had "... complete bewilderment that the Government is apparently responding to calls to ban something which is... completely natural - in that it relies entirely on man's ancient and, indeed, romantic relationship with dogs and horses." I think fox hunting would work really well as a representation of the archaic and barbaric pastimes of the rich and alternating it with Prince Charles creates a really neat link. I did some research and found that Prince Charles once rode on the 'Quorn Hunt' in Leicestershire. After some digging, I found that the hunt charge around £2860 for their full membership so this will be the value of my coin.
For the 'poor' coins I wanted to embrace the same kind of imagery I used for the rich coins and highlight the division between rich and poor. I've decided Danny Dyer might be an appropriate figure to go on the face of the poor coin. I can't remember who said it but I heard someone once describe him as 'the prick's prick'. I think on a lot of levels he represents the classic 'working class man' (despite him being incredibly rich & not at all working class). A lot of his personal brand is based around being the 'tough guy' and I think that lines up fairly well with the (obviously false) perception that working class people are cigarette smoking, binge drinking, football hooligans. Furthermore, from the start I thought about including a soap star on one of the coins. In addition to being historically hugely popular in Britain (largely amongst the working classes), soap operas are a staple of modern British culture because they represent our society in a way that is uniquely British. Of course they are melodramatic but I think there is an honesty to soaps like Eastenders & Coronation Street that is hard to find elsewhere. The fact that I don't really watch any Soaps but I still have a fairly good awareness of the faces and characters surely speaks to their pervasiveness in our culture.
On the flip side of the Dyer coin, I've illustrated two crushed, empty cans of Stella Artois. I debated for a while about whether or not to include something like this on my coins because it seems overly cheap but I decided that I wanted the coin to be about working class representation in media and stereotypes more than in real life. I think the beer cans serve to clarify and solidify the idea that Danny Dyer represents Britain's working class 'thug'. One of the UK's best selling beers, Stella Artois is commonly referred to as 'wife beater' due to perceptions linking binge drinking and domestic violence. It's this association that makes the coin concept work.

Finally, the last coin I designed features an image of a tin of baked beans. I think this is the weakest coin symbolically but I decided to do it anyway because I like the general idea. I think Heinz beans work really well as a symbol of British culture largely because they are fundamentally non-British. Baked beans and the 'Heinz' brand are both American (and the Heinz name is German) but like many foreign foods have become iconic of British working class cuisine. I really like the idea of illustrating a foreign, cheap, microwavable, not actually very tasty food as a symbol of UK culture.
I was stuck for a long time on who to put on the reverse of the beans coin. Initially, I considered putting Little Britain's Vicky Pollard on one of my coins but I figured that it would be needlessly negative. Furthermore, putting something already stereotypical on a stereotypical coin felt a bit redundant. Ant and Dec were people I considered from the beginning because as well as being really significant figures of working class British Culture (I'm a celebrity etc.), they come from working class backgrounds and cannot be said to stand for the upper classes. They are wealthy but it's hard to find somebody who is famous and not wealthy. It was also important to me that the figures not be too highbrow in their significance. I'm sure I could find a Dickens character that represents the spirit of being poor but it wouldn't have meant anything to the general population. Despite the other (arguably better choices) in the end I chose to feature Mr Bean on the back of my coin. I can't explain exactly why I picked him - Rowan Atkinson was oxford educated and hardly working class and Mr Bean as a character doesn't exactly relate to class in any meaningful way. Mr Bean as a franchise is certainly one of Britain's most widely successful creations and I'm sure the general population would associate more with him than the Queen but at the end of the day, the main reason I picked him was that the juxtaposition between Mr Bean & baked beans was simply too good to pass up, even if it meant the concept was weaker as a result.
Coin Production
I've started throwing together some initial 3D prototypes. The illustration on the coin has been an interesting challenge but I think I've found an effective solution (pictured below). In adobe illustrator, I drew the illustration with a single, fairly thick stroke. Then, I used illustrator's 'outline stroke' tool to convert those lines into shapes defined by two separate strokes. This is necessary because fusion requires defined shapes for lines to be extruded. Then, I merged all of the shapes together to create a complete illustration that I then saved as a .svg file and imported into fusion 360 (I found out fusion treats svg files really strangely and for some reason you need to expand them by 1.33 to get them to be the correct size). After some tricky work lining up the illustration with the model, I used the extrude tool to raise the entire illustration's silhouette by 0.2 mm. This creates a 'shadow' effect that makes the illustration stand out from the coin a lot better. Finally, I selected everything in the illustration except the lines I had created and raised it by 0.6mm.
After finalising the line art for the Jacob Rees Mogg side of my first coin, I went back and redid the model. Because all of the current UK coinage is made from regular polygons with varied numbers of sides, I thought I would do the same thing. Although very round, the Mogg coin is actually a 36 sided shape - 3x as many sides as the regular pound coin. I wanted the rich coins to look fairly traditional in their design but aim to make them subtly more complex/valuable than the standard coins. I decided that the most effective way to produce the coins would be to do all of the outline shapes in illustrator and then import that in fusion360 to be extruded and developed. I added a subtle zigzag texture to alternate edges of the rich coins which emulated the details on the current pound coin. I ran into a slight issue with the reverse 'Eton College' side of the coin when the illustration got overly detailed. I found that fusion got overwhelmed if there were grouped objects in the image so I had to be very careful with the drawing and spent a while fixing things before extruding.

I'm fairly happy with how the JRM coin turned out in the end. I did some preliminary renders that look pretty good. My one concern is that the linework doesn't show up incredibly well at this scale. I think it would come out fine in a physical cast coin but I might have to pull some tricks to get it to work better digitally.

Once I had completed the model for the first coin, the process for the next ones went much faster. To save time, I did all of the line work in one go so that I could make each model afterwards. After doing the artwork, I created an outline design for the shape and size of the coins with the text included. I decided to set the type in Garamond which was the closest approximation to the face used on the current UK coinage. Although I considered using a different style for the 'poor' coins with something like comic sans to highlight the low value, I decided the coins would work better if they looked like one complete set.

A while back I had the idea to make the poor set of coins functional in some way to increase their value to the people they represent. If you are pinching your pennies it makes sense that the pennies be worth keeping in some way. I really liked the idea of turning the baked beans coin into a tin opener that could be used on baked beans. The classic tin opener pen knife attachment works really well for this because it is more or less exactly coin sized. I traced a photo of the attachment while designing the coins and then in fusion, rounded/sharpened the edges to make it work. I really like the look of it on the finished render and I'd be interested to see if it actually works if I were to cast the coins. I considered putting a similar bottle opener on the Stella Artois coin but decided against it because it felt redundant next to the tin opener. Instead, I looked at the textured edges I made for the rich coins and turned them into a hexagonal pattern to put on the side of the poor coins. This pattern is based on match lighting strips and even if it might not be very functional, I think it's a fun way of differenttiating the coin sets.
Coin Presentation
Once my coin models were completed, I needed to finalise them for presentation. Like I've previously mentioned I had originally planned to 3D wax print these models and then use those to cast the coins in metal. I really hope I get the chance to do this in the future because I think it would be the perfect way to polish off this project but for now, I will have to settle on nice looking digital renders of the coins.
Fusion360 has a render environment built in that is fairly easy to use and creates renders that look pretty good. I applied a glossy brass material to the body of the coin to give it that nice shiny look but to create some visual contrast, I applied a matte texture to the central circles. The central artwork was originally a shiny silver texture
but I found that the shine made the details quite hard to see. I instead used an aluminium texture that didn't contrast as much. I also found that replacing the bottom surface in between the lines of the artwork with the matte brass texture increased the contrast of the lines and made them much more visible. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the renders I came out with, even though with more time, I'm, sure I could have made them look far more realistic. I made sure I had a set where each image was at the same angle so that they could be used for my interaction and those renders can be seen below. If I have time at the end, I

Coin render with overly shiny silver texture
would really like to come back and add a bit more polish to the presentation of the coins. I might try to make some presentation pages explaining the concepts behind the coins to make the project more accessible and I would like to try getting some even higher quality renders. I've also been playing around in blender making some simulations with my coins. The software has a really steep learning curve but I managed to simulate a coin flip and I think it might be an interesting way to utilise the designs practically.
Final renders of each side of the 4 coins.
Phase 2 Interactions
Now that I've completed my phase 1 pocket provocations, it's time to move on to the phase 2 design interaction. For this part of the project, I'm tasked with developing an interactive design provocation that should be relevant, ambitious and facilitates an experience. It can take form in one of a number of ways: Firstly, a printed graphic design with a physical mechanism that allows for the revealing of information, secondly it could be a programmed design piece that reveals information through interaction. This could be entirely digital or it could use the technology introduced to use by Tanya. Finally, I could produce a series of 'time based designs' that reveal information as they are viewed.

Initially, I was excited about this phase of the project because I really like the idea of interactive projects and was eager to work on an ambitious design piece. However, after all of the coronavirus shutdowns, I'm starting to get a bit worried about how I will produce this part of the project. It seems like we are allowed to produce 'design proposals' for what we would ideally be producing with maybe a tech proof of concept but I really hate the idea of simplifying the project like this. I'm intent on producing something that works, even if it's not as good as what I would have produced if we were still at university. I'm thinking about buying a rasperry pi or similar technology to the stuff Tanya introduced to us because I think I could figure out how to get it to work at home. Alternatively, I have some very minor python experience so I might choose to do it all digitally and create some sort of coded software. I've been experimenting with blender simulations (pictured below) and I might even try to make the entire interaction a digital simulation of what I would have produced physically.

This means that in regards to the brief, I will almost definitely be working on the second option - a programmed design piece. I don't have any strong ideas for a printed interaction and honestly I'm not really sure what 'time based designs' even means. I think programming my interaction will allow me to produce something that is appropriately ambitious and engaging as well as allowing me to develop some of my digital skills.
Coin flip simulation in blender
Interaction Idea Development
The main requirement I have for my interaction is that it must in some way be based around the coins so it seems fairly obvious to me that I should build some sort of coin operated machine. I've considered making vending machine kind of things in the past but right now, my mind is mainly thinking about slot machines and the kind of
coin operated games you might find at an arcade. I think it might be really effective for me to compare a 'rigged' game of chance to the 'rigged' nature of class in our society. There is a certain false perception of fairness to some of these games like the slot machines, coin pushers and prize grabbers when in reality, your chances of winning are carefully controlled by the machine. I want my design interaction to explore the idea of chance in society and 'reveal' the fact that as much as it might seem like we live in a fair, meritocratic society, behind the scenes that simply isn't true. I don't exactly know what my interaction will look like, but I know it will revolve in some way around inserting the different coins (ie. being a rich/poor person) and having the outcome be largely dictated by the coin you insert.

Sketchbook slot machine sketch
I've been researching different coin operated machines to try to decide how my interaction will work. I like the idea of producing a 'Zoltar' style of fortune telling machine that tells a story of what your life might be like based on the coin you put in. It's a very literal interpretation but I think it would be a solid opportunity to relate the coins to the wider world. The main issue would be that it's not a hugely engaging interactive experience. It might be more interesting to incorporate the fortune aspect as an output of a different machine.

'Zoltar' in 'Big', 1988
I like the idea of producing a 'wheel of fortune' kind of thing where the user can spin it and the machine will pick a fortune. I had the thought of connecting a physical wheel to a raspberry pi and a motor so that the outcome could be easily rigged. I think I'm on the right lines with the flashy aesthetic but it's still a bit un-engaging. I thought about
inserting the coins into a 'plinko' kind of machine like on 'the price is right'. It's not massively more engaging for the user but I really enjoy the visual of a coin bouncing down through the machine in a pseudo-random manner. It might be fun to combine the 'wheel of fortune' with the 'plinko' board by spinning a wheel behind the board to decide what outcomes are available at the bottom. Part of me

'Plinko' - The price is right
wants to combine all of these elements into one giant, hectic machine that turns an input into a whole range of wacky processes and outputs with moving components, flashing lights and distractions. It might represent the idea that a system that seems varied and random is actually systematic and predictable with the 'poor' coins losing each time.
Interaction Production Methods
I've decided that for my interaction, I'm going to attempt to program it digitally in python to create an on screen interactive experience. In an ideal scenario I'd like to incorporate a rasberry pi to produce a physical interaction that is programmed digitally but I don't have access to that tech right now and python is my best bet. It's been a very long time since I've used python and I never learnt very much of it but I think I know enough of the basics. I think the real challenge with this project will be quickly learning how to code the things I need to produce and making the interaction as I go but I've always thought this is the best way to learn software. People complain about not having enough pure software tutorials but I think it is a lot easier to learn software by setting yourself an ambitious challenge and learning how to do each step towards your goal. I've quickly skimmed through an online basics course to refresh myself with the general principles and from here I will tackle each obstacle as it comes up. From my research, I've found that a python module called tkinter seems to be what I should use. It is a graphical user interface (GUI) module that will allow me to create a window on the screen with text, buttons and images.
Slot Machine Development
I've had to massively simplify my ideas for the interaction because at this point I'm not sure how feasible it would be to produce a gigantic, complex interaction. That's not to say it's not still my goal, but I think I should aim to produce an incredibly simple interaction that works well and then add layers of complexity once that is achieved. This way, no matter how long it takes me to figure it all out, I will be able to make a finished, working interaction. If I have to cut it all short and move on to the next brief, it should be playable and working from an early stage.

As a result, I have decided to produce a basic slot machine style game. It should allow the player to insert a coin, spin the wheels and then receive a prize based on the outcome. The initial roadmap of complexity will look like this:
Stage 1: Figure out how to use tkinter to create a window with buttons & text. At the press of a button, the program should randomly decide on an outcome and display it to the user as a text string.
Stage 2: Figure out how to display images. Create 3 image frames in the centre of the window that 'animates' to cycle through a set of images after the user presses start. When the user presses stop, the images should freeze and the computer should interpret that as a win or a loss and display an appropriate message.
Stage 3: Incorporate some mechanism for inserting the coins. Allow the user to press buttons (ideally displaying the coin renders from phase 1) which will add that coins value to the pot. The program will use this pot as the user's bet, multiplying it if they win or removing it if they lose.
Stage 4: Allow the user to place bets with their money. Inserted coins go to a bank and the money in the bank can be used to bet on the slot machine in smaller amounts. This will allow the user to have a consistent bank of money that will get added to if they win, creating stakes.

At this stage I'm unsure how feasible this will all be to implement so I will go slowly. Hopefully it is an achievable aim and if I have time once it's complete, I will add more complexity and make the game more interesting.

Initial GUI layout sketch
Python Interaction
At this stage, my slot machine interaction is more or less complete. It has taken me about a week of work to learn how to make it but I now have a fairly good grasp of the code and could implement more elements much more easily. At this stage my slot machine has four buttons at the top of the page corresponding to each of the coins I designed. I figured out how to change the image while the button is pressed down so when you select a coin, the image on the reverse is briefly revealed. Once a button has been pressed, that value is then added to the bank. This is the amount of money the player has inserted or won. On the right of the screen, the player can bet some of their money on the outcome of the game. It can be done in increments of £1 (which is useful if the player is poor) or if they have more money, can be done in increments of £10 and £100. The player can also go 'all in' and bet all of their money or they can remove the current bet. Once the player starts up the machine by clicking on the 'spin' lever, the money is removed from their bank and stored in the machine until it stops. The central image slots cycle between images of Baked Beans, Jacob Rees Mogg and a Pound symbol. These were initially placeholder images (especially in earlier builds where they were extremely pixelated but I decided to keep them because I think they represent the rich and the poor sides of the machine.

The slots needed to spin unpredictably and land on a random result every time. In a real slot machine, the rotations of each reel are truly random but I wanted there to be some slight element of skill to my game rather than randomly spitting out a number. At the begging of the game, the program imports each of the three possible images (M,£ and B), puts them each in a string and then makes a list of those strings. The program draws three images in the centre of the window that each have a variable called 'iterate' which decides which image from the list is displayed. By default, iterate is set to 0 so each image displays the first image, B. When the player pulls the lever, each of the slots 'iterate' variables is set to a random number between 0 and 2 so that the slots start from a random position. The slots then cycle through the list of images, pausing for a fraction of a second after each one. The amount of time each slot pauses for is also a random number between 100ms and 500ms that is generated when the lever is pulled. This ensures that the slots cycle at different rates and creates the opportunity for the images to line up. Finally, when the player pulls the lever back up, it freezes the slots in place and sends a message to generate an output for the player.
The output message is generated by a complex series of 'if' statements that checks what each image is displaying (0, 1 or 2 as the computer sees it) and then determines whether or not there are multiples of the same image and if so, which image. Depending on the result, this function then returns a number out of 0, 1, 1.5, 2, 3 and 5 which serves as the multiplier for the users bet as well as the message for the output. Once the output is generated, it displays a message to the user and multiplies the bet by the outcome to calculate their prize. This prize is then stored in the 'cash out' button at the bottom of the page, allowing users to play the game multiple times before collecting their winnings and putting them back in the bank.
Overall I'm fairly happy with the place my slot machine is at right now. I think the functionality is pretty smooth and effective and it serves its purpose nicely right now. The main issues I have lie in the randomness and the complexity of the machine. Firstly, the point of the machine is to highlight the fact that society is not fair and it is also not random - it is rigged and the people who start with an advantage almost always end with one too. I think my program is effective in the way it represents risk between classes. This is the idea that even if the system is fundamentally fair, any element of risk present in the system gives the rich a huge advantage. In my game, somebody inserting a rich coin could then make a bet of multiple thousands of pounds quite happily without needing to worry about losing it all. On the other hand, somebody inserting a poor coin is likely risking most if not all of the money they have and will be stung much harder by an unlucky roll. I like how this is represented in the game but I think I could do more to explore how society isn't just unfair, it's often rigged in favour of the rich. If I were to improve the game, the first two things I would add would be features that directly affect the difficulty based on the coins you insert as well as features contextualising the risk. Firstly, I might add more slot windows for the poor, requiring luckier presses to line them all up. I might even add literal cheats for the rich like a button to 'nudge' the machine and change the outcome. To contextualise the game, I think it might be helpful to incorporate some sort of 'shop' that would allow the user to spend their money. This would mean the rich players could buy yachts and houses on their first roll but the poor players might have to roll many times (and risk a lot) to save up enough to pay their rent or feed their family. The different prizes would relate to what is important to the different players (ie. survival vs luxury). If I have chance to go back and add more features to my game, I think these would really help elevate the outcome and make it a provocative, revealing piece of design.
Slot Machine Feedback & Development
Once I was at a point that I was fairly happy with my brief 3 work, I reached out to my tutors to get some feedback about how effective my work is and where I could take it for it to be more effective. They agreed that the weakest area of the interaction was the way it contextualises things and that to improve I should find a way to relate it to the real world/ real stakes. One idea I received was to separate the coin insertion stage from the rest of the game. I didn't notice before but it now seems super obvious to me that by restricting the money the player has while they are playing, it encourages real stakes. If they lose all their money, they have to start over from the begging. Furthermore, if I were to separate the two coin sets it would mean players were restricted to using only the rich or poor coins - therefore putting themselves firmly in the seat of a rich/poor person. My tutor mentioned how I could ask the user to define themselves with something like their postcode or salary and then use that to dictate what coins they are allowed to enter. I think this is an interesting idea and would be a solid way to add complexity if I have time. I couldn't find any solid resources relating postcode to wealth but I think I could simplify it by asking the user to locate themselves approximately on a map of the UK maybe even on a sliding scale that could be used to determine relative wealth (further away from London = poorer). I think it would be important to ask a few different questions that were varied in nature and obscure how the users 'wealth' is determined. Questions like 'champagne or prosecco' or 'football or cricket' might be used as a quick quiz to assess a general background with each question adding to or removing from a 'rich quotient' that would determine where you start the game.

These are all really interesting ideas and I hope I have time to implement them. For the time being, I will try to move on to brief 4 and the other work that needs doing but I plan to come back if I have time and add these extra features. Namely, I want to add a separate window that you start the game on that decides which coins you can insert and how many and I will also add a 'shop' function that allows the user to in some way spend the money they have earned.
Brief 3 Polish & Presentation
Once I was pretty happy with the layout/function of my slot machine, I went back and made some nicer looking images for the slots as well as a title card and a lever. The visual style is super basic but I think it's necessary because tkinter doesn't allow for much visual complexity. I found a module for python that allows the project to be packaged in a neat file with an installer which means I can distribute my game and allow people to play it on other computers. I don't imagine anybody would really want to play my game (it's not exactly designed to be fun) but it's helpful to be able to tie it up nicely like this.

I took a moment and quickly whipped together a press release style document showcasing my designs for the Eton College /Jacob Rees Mogg coin. The visuals aren't exactly exciting but I think they serve their purpose well, effectively showcasing the design of the coin and explaining some of the symbolism behind it. I went for a bit of a snarky copy style, similar to what I wrote on my protest posters in semester 1. This highlights the 'comedy' behind the coin and ensures that nobody thinks the coins are meant to be seriously representative. I'm not 100% sure how well it works as opposed to something simply explaining my project in basic terms but I don't hate it and if I get chance, I might make some for the other coins.
Documenting & Showcasing
Brief 4
The final brief involves consolidating all of the work from semester 2 into a set of outcomes, documenting and showcasing the work. It requires us to produce:
1) The digital RPR (This blog)
2) Written Work (The paragraphs of formal writing we were set for the previous briefs)
3) Video Abstract (Audio/Visual piece based around the abstract from the written work, summarising the project as a whole)
4) RPR Summary Webpage (Interactive website, showcasing and summarising each element of the project)

I'm not sure how excited I am for this brief in all honesty. I think it would have been a great way to triumphantly end the semester had everything gone to plan but with all of the quarantine shutdowns, the other briefs have been a bit painful to complete and this all feels a bit redundant. My plan with the writing was to leave most of it for the end of the semester to make sure that it was a coherent, well written piece of work but that has slightly backfired on me because in addition to having less time than I would have liked, most of my research was done weeks ago and it won't be easy to put myself back in that head space. That said, it was a really weird and annoying way to plan out a piece of work and I don't think it ever would have worked well. The video abstract shouldn't be too difficult but I'm conscious that video editing always takes longer than you anticipate and it will rely on me having written the abstract before I start it (which itself relies on me having finished most of the writing) so I''m locked into a pretty rough timetable for the next couple of weeks. The RPR webpage is another odd part of the brief because it feels quite arbitrary. This RPR blog is supposed to be a live summary of the work we are doing which we are then summarising in the written work which itself is being summarised by the video abstract. Summarising it all again for the RPR webpage feels like one summary too many. I understand that the original intention was to go over web development skills for this which would have been really interesting and helpful but because we aren't getting those skills, I feel like this part of the brief should really have been written off. Moaning aside, I've worked hard this semester and it would be foolish to waste it all by half arsing this brief so here we go.
The writing
I feel like the writing has been needlessly confusing this semester. We were supposed to be writing a paragraph as part of each of the other briefs but this was such a strange way to do it in my opinion. I think it was supposed to be an 'easy' way to our first piece of formal writing but it was unnecessary to draw it out over the semester. Furthermore, I think it has been really unclear what the point of the writing is actually supposed to be. By writing it over the whole semester, I got the impression that it was intended to be a summary of each piece of work we've produced but I recently found out that in terms of the projects, it's only really about the interaction we made for brief 3. This means the research I've been doing all semester doesn't make sense because my work for brief 3 was a development and a step forward of the previous work. My work for briefs 1 and 2 were largely based around private schools and education as a factor in social mobility but the interaction I made took a much wider view of social mobility and inequality. If I had been writing each paragraph with each project, none of it would have made sense by the final part.

Confusion aside, it's time to sit down and actually write the thing. I found it difficult to bridge the gap between what I researched when I set out at the beginning of this project with where it ended up and I feel like it makes for a rather dithering essay. One issue I've had throughout this semester is that I struggled to clearly define the scope of my project, in it's subject area as well as in its overall goal. I've retrospectively decided that my goal for this project has been to shine a light on issues surrounding inequality and social mobility and to try to get people to think critically about the issue. I think it's important that I avoid taking too clear cut a stance on the issue and I allow people to make up their own minds. Instead of saying 'private schools should be banned' I opted to discuss the advantages offered to private school children as they enter the working world and leave it more up to the reader to decide if that's unfair. I concede that I don't exactly take an impartial stance on the issue but I think it undermines my position if I present my arguments solely punching up at the elite and complaining that things are 'unfair'.

I was also a bit confused by the whole work vs practice thing. I get that the work is supposed to be a literal description of the work and the practice is an explanation/justification but I feel like I need somebody to explain why it's necessary for them to be separate. Also like I've mentioned, it's strange to me that we are only supposed to mention the third brief outcomes. My interaction was a development upon the work produced for brief 1 and 2 - not a culmination it all If the first briefs were intended to be stepping stones towards the interaction as an ultimate goal, I would have produced the work very differently. I found it hard to justify the influences for my outcomes. I came across a project called 'the people's pound' that was an advertising campaign run by poundland a few years ago that was painfully close to what I'd been developing for my coin interactions. I decided that I'd list it as an influence because although I discovered it after developing the ideas, it informed me to steer away from what they had produced. My interaction was quite a pragmatic outcome in the end with a lot less thought put into the visual style than I would have liked. As research I talked about games like 'papers please' because it is the kind of digital interaction that informed the project through its mechanics and concepts more than its visual style.

I think my overall confusion with the whole writing thing Is apparent in the fact that the introduction, body, conclusion and abstract all say more or less different things about what the project aimed to do. I figured that with the abstract, it would be better to speak vaguely about the project and do so in an interesting way to benefit the video abstract. The conclusion attempts to summarise what is an extremely disparate project but I don't hate what I wrote. Overall I'm happy with what I managed to salvage in terms of my essay but I think that under more favourable circumstances, I could have produced something miles better. In the future I think it will be really important for me to consider my research more for projects like this. Having less direction allowed me to look at a wider, more diverse range of things at the begging of the project but I think it harmed me in the long run when it came to defining what I had actually achieved with it all.

The full essay can be found under 'Written Work' on the RPR webpage.
The Video Abstract
Now that my written piece is more or less complete and the abstract is finished, I can move on to producing the video abstract for the fourth brief. It's worrying me a bit because I don't have a ton of time to get this done and I find video editing like this takes far longer than you expect. I think the abstract/script I've written is fairly effective and should make for an acceptable video. I tried to keep it unspecific but interesting enough to entice you towards the rest of the project.
My initial plan was to look at websites like the British Pathe website for archival footage that I could base my video on. I found some interesting old footage of private schools which might be useful. This one features some boys from Harrow from 1920 which is an especially good example of a private school because it has a distinctive aesthetic with boater hats and blazers that is just alien enough to make private schools seem insane to the regular person. However, I realised I was unable to use found footage for this project because I couldn't find anything that would let me use it for free. I remember using British Pathe last year but that was because I stole the audio which didn't have a watermark.

'Founder's Day at Harrow' - British Pathe
Because of this, I'm forced to rethink the aesthetic for my video abstract. The whole 'vintage found footage' thing worked well for me because it fit in fairly nicely with the rest of my work this semester which admittedly doesn't have much of a coherent visual style. The vintage video worked well with the images of Eton from the infographic as well as the halftone images elsewhere but I think I will have to go with a more graphical style for this. The benefit of not having a distinct style with the other pieces is that this can look fairly different and still more or less fit in.

I started by recording the abstract that I wrote for the written piece. I did this on my phone and with the help of a blanket next to my head and some tweaking in post, I'm fairly happy with the quality I managed to get out of it. I recorded each line separately so that I could do multiple takes (I found that my writing style of long long sentences is actually fairly hard to speak out loud) and then edited the lines together in after effects to preserve the pacing of the original script. At this point, I sketched out a basic storyboard in my sketchbook and then used those sketches to make a really rough and ready animatic that I would be able to animate over. I didn't waste much time with development at this stage because I felt it would just be easier to get it into the computer before faffing around with the actual visuals. I tried to be much more agile for this project and I found that it was a much more enjoyable and free flowing process. The animatic can be found below.
Once I had the timing and pace of the video set out within the animatic, it was time to go back over it and add the actual video. Initially, I thought it was going to feature much more type because that seemed like an easy way to fill out the video but I just found it a bit boring and wanted the video to at least add something to the audio. I went for a blue and white colour scheme because I thought it went well with the economic theme and the blue works well as a representation of the upper classes/elites (aka the conservative government). The font used is 'Neo Sans' which I heard about from Seb Lester's curated by talk. I feel like it gives the video a nice contemporary aesthetic, plus I'm really sick of using classy serif fonts for this project. Initially I had planned to utilize a lot of 'kinetic typography' because I like the style but I found that there weren't many solid phrases used in the script for me to animate. In the end I used type for the key statements about how the UK is one of the most unequal countries in Europe but for the rest I used animation to illustrate the points. For the imagery, I chose to use a symbol heavy, emoji inspired set of images that i developed on illustrator before importing them into after effects. In addition to it being a slightly lazy way to have an aesthetic, I thought the simplistic aesthetic would work well with the dry, economic theming of the video. The simple shapes also work really well for the 'smooth' motion graphic style I went for and it's evocative of the kind of graphics you might see as a cutaway of a news report.
In my head, after effects is always tricky and a pain to work with but this project was much easier to produce than I remembered. I almost exclusively used simple animated translations for the motion with some scale animations thrown in and it did the job nicely. Using easy eases gives each motion a really nice clean acceleration and adds a ton to the finished effect. For the type I did a character offset animation and more or less managed to align the motion with the audio. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out but in the future I'd like to attempt some more interesting and engaging animation techniques.

Overall, I'm really happy with how the video abstract has turned out. Especially for how fast I managed to turn it around, it definitely could have been a lot worse. Motion graphics isn't something I'm very familiar with at all so it would be nice to do a bit more of this in the future. Given more time, I would have liked to tie it in more closely with the visual style of the rest of my project but like I said, there isn't much of a consistent style anyway. Alternatively, It would be nice to develop a more unique and interesting visual style. Something that used halftones and a reduced colour pallete would have worked pretty well.
The RPR Webpage
Finally, we are on to the RPR webpage. This element of the project has driven me absolutely insane over the past week and has proved to be incredibly frustrating. Like I have already mentioned, it seems to me the intention for this part of the module was originally going to be do develop it using coding skills or at the very least a more in depth web development process. I would have really liked to spend some time on that kind of thing but at this stage, I just needed to get something finished so I opted to use Tilda. I've been using Tilda so far for this RPR blog because I find it's a way more versatile way to write and present. This was actually really lucky because it means the blog is incorporated really nicely into the interactive webpage. My main issue with the webpage is that it's not entirely clear what it's meant to contain. The video abstract is the homepage, the finished written work is on one page and this blog is on another but we are also supposed to present a summary of the RPR with the research, development and outcomes explained. I've scoured every available resource we've been given but I've no idea what this summary actually means. This blog is a live, informal summary of the work we've produced and the written work is a formal summary so I'm not really sure what the webpage summary is supposed to be. Furthermore, It's really difficult to break down the entire project into research, development and outcomes. I think I might have done it slightly differently than was originally intended but my research has been a dynamic, developing process throughout each project and it's hard to summarise that in one go. Additionally, each project was developed differently so it feels arbitrary to explain it all in one go on the webpage. Regardless, I've attempted to summarise the RPR on one page but if it isn't sufficient the meat of the work is throughout this blog.

I really wish conditions had been different for this because I would have liked to spend time designing a webpage to be an effective and aesthetically pleasing interactive experience. As is, the webpage is a fairly straightforward set of Tilda pages. It is a very pragmatic approach but I felt that rather than attempting to make a poor website look nice, I should leave it fairly plain and allow the work to speak for itself more. The website is certainly the work I'm least proud of throughout this project although I'm sure that's visible by looking at it. As much as I would have enjoyed ending the semester by triumphantly looking back at all of the work produced and presenting them in an engaging way, I will have to settle for this.
Sketchbook Scans
Putting my sketchbook scans here to be looked at. This semester I've been experimenting with different sketchbook techniques. I've carried around a fixed set of stationary with a pen, a pencil and three coloured pencils and tried to exclusively use those in the sketchbook. I really like how colourful some of the pages are and I think restricting the tools I can use to develop ideas allows me to focus more on the ideas than the presentation of them (although I think it looks nice all the same). This has worked really well for me this semester and I will definitely be continuing this in the future.

Reflection and self assessment

Brief 1 Evaluation
I'm pretty split on how I feel about my infographic. In a lot of ways it's one of my weaker pieces from this semester but I don't entirely hate it. I think the main issue is that it's a bit confused in the message that it is actually communicating. This is largely because I it took me a long time to solidify my research and meant that the info portion of my infographic was just a few loosely related facts.
It received mixed feedback during the review session in regards to it's visuals. I think it's main strength is a really strong visual style but people felt that it was confusing and messy. For this piece I tried hard to justify each visual element with symbolism within the theme. The straight lines reflect privilege and ease whereas the circular lines represent the barriers to social mobility. I think symbolism is an important element of any design but that I took it too far with the infographic and it harms the visual style in the end. Another issue is that the density of the page isn't balanced with the images attracting a lot more attention than the text. I really like the aesthetic of the outlined text but I agree that it's difficult to read. I think the issue is that all of the lines on the page are the same weight.
Looking back at the infographic, I like it better than I did at the time but it's flaws are still very obvious to me. I really wanted to redo this piece and made a few attempts (in my sketchbook there are some initial collage pages with images of schools) but never got chance to make a real attempt. I find this kind of work surprisingly stressful because without extra layers of complexity, it's simply about basic graphic design skills and it can make you doubt your skills. Hopefully I can learn from this project and apply these lessons to future projects.
Brief 2 Evaluation
My work for brief 2 is certainly some of the stronger stuff I've produced this semester. I think it's main strength is it's conceptual clarity which allowed it to communicate a simple message in an effective way. It doesn't express a particularly complex set of data but I think the interesting contrast between the two statistics makes it a really effective piece. I also really like the 3D model I produced and although it doesn't move dynamically like intended, it still looks good as it is. The school imagery works really well to contextualise the data and make the whole project a nicely encapsulated piece.
The initial printed key I produced was just a really poor piece of design so I'm really happy I took the time to go back and redo this piece of work. I wouldn't say what I made is a completely resolved design but it's much closer. The addition of portraits of cabinet members is a really effective addition and it works well for making the message of the piece

more impactful. The graphs above and below the model serve to explicitly state the information as well as helping to communicate the perspective idea with the model. The copy at the top and bottom of the page serves it's purpose well enough but I definitively don't love it.

Overall, I'm really happy with the work I produced for Brief 2 and I think it's probably the brief I completed most effectively. I'm really glad I got to play around with fusion for this because it has since become a useful tool for other projects. Playing around with Adobe dimension was also a really nice way to finish off the presentation of the model and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Brief 3 Evaluation
The coins I produced for the pocket provocation of brief 3 were my favourite pieces of work from this semester and definitely one of the projects I'm most proud of. It allowed me to expand upon the skills I developed in brief 2 and produce something that I think works really well as a provocative piece of design that could fit in somebody's pocket. It's certainly not a perfect project - I'm not sure how much I actually like the images featured on the coins, especially the poor coins. I also don't love the negative spin I chose to go with in the end but I think it serves it's purpose. I think the execution of these coins was done really well with the illustrations looking great on the coin models and the renders showing it all off nicely. The only thing that would have improved the pocket provocation would have been casting them in metal like I originally had intended but that might have to wait for another day.

In general I'm much less happy with how my interaction turned out in the end. I don't think it's entirely bad but for it to be an effective communication of my research, it takes a lot of explaining and it's not really apparent in the design of the actual game. I think I bit off a lot more than I can chew by making it in Python. This is the aspect that I'm most proud of about it - the effort it took learning to build it - but I feel that in the end, it meant that the slot machine wasn't nearly as developed as it could have been had I made it using a different medium. I think it would have been interesting to start again from scratch as some sort of mobile app instead of a desktop interaction. This would have placed it more effectively in the real world.
Furthermore, the whole 'slot machine' stuff works well enough but it's a fairly contrived way for me to incorporate the coins into the interaction. I think I might have had a better shot at an interesting interaction if I had known what I would produce from the begging. I also would have loved to produce something that actually looks nice which my interaction certainly does not.

Overall, I think I achieved a mixed degree of success with brief 3. One one hand the pocket provocation was one of my more successful pieces this semester but on the other, my interaction is fairly flawed. However, throughout this semester, and throughout my degree, I've been trying my absolute hardest to develop as many new skills as possible and with the 3D and coding skills used for this brief, I was certainly successful in that regard.
Brief 4 Evaluation
Brief 4 was probably the brief I had the hardest time completing this semester and I have quite mixed feelings about my results. I was dreading producing the video abstract but I'm actually really happy with how it turned out. I think it's partly down to the abstract script which is simple and engaging but I also think that embracing the reduced visual style for the animation helped it become a more polished final piece. The audio isn't quite as good as it could be but it's entirely serviceable. There is also a few frustrating errors that I've noticed in the final result

but nothing that can be seen if you aren't looking for it. If I were to do the video abstract again, I think my main challenge would be to try to get it to tie in better with the rest of my project. I would have gone for a more realistic style with the graphics, utilising halftoned photos which would allow me to insert images of my actual outcomes into the video. I would also consider music or sound effects but I don't hate the video as it is.
The RPR webpage produced for brief 4 is an entirely different story with every step of the process proving a huge headache. The video abstract page and the written work pages were straightforward enough to incorporate and the RPR blog fitted in nicely as it was made on Tilda to begin with. However, the 'summary' pages were really difficuly to produce, mainly because I couldn't pin down exactly what it was actually supposed to be. It seemed really redundant to be summarising the work I've done yet again and it's reductive to try to explain each element of research and development such a concise way. I think my main issue was that I've treated this semester as a series of separate briefs instead of one consistent one so when displayed all at once, my research is a huge mess. Looking back, it's more obvious what we were supposed to be doing but I really don't think it was made clear at the time that each project would be building up to a final piece and that the research needed to be consistent.

I wish I had left myself more time for the webpage component because I think I might be able to produce something really interesting given the chance to start from scratch. As is, my website is a series of black and white pages that aren't far from the default settings. I'm certainly not proud of any of it and I think it really does the work a disservice to be displayed like this.
Final Translation & Transmission Evaluation
Looking back over the semester, it's understandable why everything has been rather painful to produce. Everything has been such a mess since the start of the lockdown that it's easy to forget that we also missed a number of weeks as a result of the strikes. I definitely don't want to blame any of the tutors because just like us, they've being trying hard to adapt to distance learning but I don't think it's been very successful. One of my biggest issues was that I haven't been able to access blackboard collaborate very reliably so I've missed out on most of the seminars. I can just about access the recordings but trying to find important information spread throughout hours of video isn't a particularly efficient process. I would have appreciated a more robust set of written resources because I think the module guide we were given initially is really not a sufficient explanation of each brief. Obviously the original intention was to go over it in the studio but when that no longer became an option it would have been really helpful to get some effective resources explaining the briefs. I especially felt this during the webpage brief when I was limited due to time constraints and didn't have time to reach out for help - although that's largely a problem of my own making.

Moaning aside, I'm actually quite proud of the work I've produced this semester. The 3D printed data object was in my opinion the strongest all round piece of work I produced. I think the research, development and production was all done very effectively and the renders I made to polish it off work really well to tie it all up nicely. I also really enjoyed producing the coin provocations using the same skills and I think the renders are a nicely finished outcome. The infographic I made initially had some interesting themes but I really needed more time with it to get it to a place where I could actually be happy with it. The coded interaction took by far the most time out of any of my outcomes this semester which is frustrating because it's hard to be proud of how it looks visually. I'm immensely proud of the work I put in developing the skills but I think I could have produced a more effective outcome if I had approached it differently. The video abstract served it's purpose nicely and for a project with such a quick turnaround, I'm surprisingly happy with it. Finally, the website was by far the weakest aspect of my project and I'm extremely unsatisfied with the way it turned out. It would be easy to blame the coronavirus shutdowns and say that it never would have worked but if I'm thinking critically about my performance, I think I could definitely have planned my time better and produced something I could be proud of. Web development feels like a huge hole in my skillset right now and I will be eager to develop it further in the future.

Overall, with some exceptions, I'm extremely proud of the work I produced this semester. The main lessons I will be taking forward from it will be to think much more deeply about the research process at the beginning of a project and to really interrogate what I am setting out to achieve with each bit of work. I will also ensure to continue experimenting with new skills and techniques and pushing the boat out with what I can achieve with each new project.
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