Collection: Part Two

Reflection (Utility)

Designing for a specific client

For this project I have to design for a specific client - an allocated classmate. A bespoke tool is to be made to enable the client to better enjoy their hobby. As this product is specifically for an individual I felt it is fundamentally important to understand not merely the client's hobbies, but their personality, schedule, living environment, likes and dislikes.

My client, Blake JingXing Fu is from Beijing China, and is living in the UK as an international student in university accomodation. Most of her belongings are either fashion items (clothing, bags, jewellery) or arts and crafts tools. 
She does not have any particular hobbies. She spends her time watching TV shows, listening to music and shopping online and offline.
A significant amount of time Blake spends alone seems to be on her iPhone8. Watching TV is predominantly on her phone, although she does sometimes use her iPad.
She does however, travel often. She goes to Chicago once a month to see her boyfriend there. When travelling she carries one large luggage, a backpack, and a small cross-body bag.
She travels to various locations around London: mainly China Town, Euston, Oxford Circus, Knightsbridge etc, where there is a concentration of visitors and young people.
I wanted the final product to be something she can easily and often use in her day-to-day, ideally something she will use at least five times a week, so that it doesn't take up her limited student living space without any means. I knew I did not want to make her any sort of "niche" item that she won't end up using. 
In order to discover more about my client, I asked her to send me photographs of her room. Though she told me it is very messy, I said I would prefer to see it in its natural state. However, when I received the pictures I saw that she had only taken and sent me pictures of parts of the room that seems presentable: this was unfortunate as I wished to know exactly what state of living environment she is normally surrounded in. I learned that when dealing with one specific client, I need to take into account the client's feelings when finding out about them though it may limit the research. It is important not to embarrass the client by prying too much.
I did still see some signs of disorganisation due to lack of space in the corners of the pictures she sent me. Her accessories and coats were immaculately organised on her shelves, which showed her prized and treasured belongings. This evidence was important in developing my design.

A lesson learnt from sourcing the material

Wed, 17th Jan 2018

Having decided that leather will be one of the materials used in the design, I went to Dalston to source leather and leather working equipment informed to me when attending the leather workshop with JFFA.

I went to J.T Bachelors, at which an intimidating shop assistant got me the materials I asked for. I had to describe the specific equipment I needed, for which the assistant patronisingly taught me the names of such as a harness needle, a pricking iron, a rotary punch etc.

I bought two rolls of the leather from the clearance batch (each at 4GBP/lb) as this is my first time working with leather.  However, for one of the rolls of leather, although it weighed 2.4lb (and I told him so), the assistant calculated it as 2.5lb and charged me 10pounds. I felt that this may have been due to my obvious ignorance in the leather-working industry. Though it is only of 40 pence difference (+VAT), I should take note of this incident for future, when dealing with suppliers: if this were mass-producted, such 40pence could make a significant difference in profit. I will make sure I study the things I need to source thoroughly before sourcing materials next time, so that I won’t risk looking like an easy target to rip off.

Mon 21st Jan 2018

Upon printing from InDesign, I found that the quality of the pictures were not as I could see on the screen. I asked the technician who taught me that the problem is because the size of my images were not big enough. I learnt that I should not trust the image quality that the screen displays as the printer recognises the file in its pixels and pixelates the image on printing if the original image is not of high resolution.

Covering the magnetic clasp

I wanted to cover up the clasp as it is aesthetically displeasing, so I decided to cover it up with leather, to match the overall appearance. I experimented with various shapes that would suit the design. The most pleasing design that would sufficient cover the area of the clasp and also allow for extra stitching surface was an arrow shape, so I decided on this design. I took care to choose a clean part of the leather without any scratches or defects because this detail would most probably be the part that attracts the user’s eye initially, and impact the beauty of the design.

Wednesday 24th Jan 2018

When I tried out the unfinished product after adding the magnetic clasp, I found that when opening and closing, it is actually quite useful to be able to open out the unit completely to make the bras completely visible, and easy to put in and out. If I was to add the missing sides to the product to make it into a closed bag, the product would not be able to open up completely. Therefore I decided to change the design by omitting the sides of the storage unit so that it opens up completely. It occured to me that a rivet could also be added on the sides to make the side-view surfaces detachable, however this could be a waste of material when manufactured, and also adds weight to the product and could prove to be a nuisance for the user if not used so much, so I decided to leave this for now; The option can be added later if need be.