So this post is to reflect on my project’s process and outcomes, also to assess the strengths and weaknesses, and lastly what I learnt over the course of the project.
In the beginning, I had a vision of designing a bag that would inspire people into action to reduce food waste. Not knowing a lot about this issue and the impact it had on social, economical and environmental areas was the first eye opener. I delved deeper into knowing where my food came from, the concept of buying locally and ethical consumerism. The methodology of this project came back to John Thackara’s essay Make Sense, Not Stuff. It was here that I was to look at mapping assets, connecting locally and using a new language. I addressed these themes in my post here. However, as the semester moved my project changed from the bag to something quite different but still with the same overarching topic. In changing to re-designing seasonal produce wallet guide, I happened to overlook that the methodology was a main part of the project and would help direct my thinking.
Lucky enough for me most of my methodology thinking was still relevant but I guess I became more involved in the mapping assets and connecting locally and not so much in finding a new language. Though you could say that I did use a different language, as in the guide I was trying to use illustrations and icons to represent the information. Based on some of the feedback from my presentation the illustrations were attractive and it was laid out well but the bar graph was still was a little hard to read, especially since I had order the month from March through to February instead of the typical January to December. My reason for this was I wanted to use colours to represent the seasons so that users could identify quickly if a fruit or vegetable was in season at the beginning or end of a season. It may have been a little to subtle. Michelle’s feedback was that it might be a little complicated for the older customers to read as the average demographic at the markets is women between 40-60 years of age. Also being a physical printed version the size of the showing the information is restricted and therefore puts limits on the design. Whether it was successful in readability is up for debate. One of the special guests did says he would still pick the original over the one I did just because it was easier to read when produce was in season. But he did note that the illustrators did add a level of recognition not seen in the original. If it was a digital version I wouldn’t be limited by the “paper” space.
This brings me to the elephant in the room when it came to my project. It was also an issue when I was considering my bag idea. How does this project relate to digital design? A question I did keep bringing up and never really addressed. I was so focused on connecting locally that the major part of a digital design project should include digital design. I had thought about designing a digital version of the seasonal guide but when Michelle said she was super keen on a hard copy, I became quite focused on that as it would be the easiest to realise in the limited time I had left. I do have more experience and stronger skills in hand on physical type projects than computer based so I went with my strengths. And in hindsight did limit the scope and exploration I could have done with this project. Though I hope to still create a digital version anyway even if it’s just for my personal use.
Personally, I found this project had done exactly what I wanted to do, but more for myself than anyone else. I wanted to educate people about food waste, and I now I only buy what I need (not more bulk) and shop in my fridge before buy new food. I also look at food labels more closely for used by and best before dates. I found that I was going to the famers markets weekly and even a few times over the weekend so that I could check out the three different locations (Epic, Northside and Southside) and the different produce I could buy. These trips are now my regular routine and when I do have to go to the supermarket for food I check labels for locally produced goods as well them being ethical and organic. I guess I’m my best case model, and to a lesser extent I have influenced my parents to shop smart and buy locally and organic. Hopefully, I can help my friends and the rest of my family to do the same. I’m really glad I did this project as it has made me think about the bigger picture and how my actions, no matter how small, can make a difference.
PS Last week, I even asked a tea company if they produced their tea ethically as I know if they didn’t I would not have bought their tea. In the past, it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to ask that question 🙂