Online portfolio

The final outcome of Practices and Projects Unit 2 is  a portfolio of any format (printed or digital). I first defined portfolio as a collection of works that one is proud of. And by ‘to be proud of’, I meant those works need to be complete, in both content presentation, and most importantly, have to capture some sorts of personal aesthetic and professional skills.

Wrong! I was wrong. Not entirely wrong, but still wrong. It turns out that people as readers and employers, or in this case, my tutors, are more interested in the process of making and learning than the final outcome.

During the past one year, I have been on many different journeys with Projects and Practices. Through all the projects that I have done, it occurs to me that it is not only about what I have learnt, academically, but also, about how I have grown as a person. I sure learnt a lot. Projects & Practices has given me the opportunities to expand my horizons of understanding and depth of various subject knowledge and skills; and to explore my strengths and personalities as I set off each project. Through the making of this portfolio, I have spent some decent time for self-reflection. Though it does not cover everything I have been taught, this portfolio was set to capture my learning curves in the most honest way; and hence (I hope), give a sense of who I am as a design student, the one with that entangled curiosity.

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Objectified. Grids.

In today’s class, we watched ‘Objectified’ – a documentary directed by Gary Hustwit. The movie provided different perspectives of looking at the role of everyday non-living objects, and the people who design them, in our daily lives. It gave a glimpse into the process of design thinking, by directly interviewing designers who are acknowledged with ‘a record of achievement and accomplishment’, those who ‘indeed possess and use a high level of design ability’ such as Tim Brown (Director, IDEO), Jonathan Ive (Senior VP Industrial Design, Apple), Karim Rashid (Designer), Jane Fulton Suri (Chief Creative Offier, IDEO), etc.

Some of the topics discussed in the movie include: ergonomic design, democratization of design, design philosophy, interaction and sustainability. Despite the feature length, the documentary was very interesting to watch. It also caught me thinking about the role of design management in the creative industry. I see myself wondering if we are capable of designing a sustainable product, in term of both functionality and emotional experience; if we can improve everyday life experience by just a simple touch of design.

That’s what we’re really always looking for whenever we design, ways we can improve the way people do things without them even knowing or thinking about it.

-Davin Stowell, CEO & Founder of Smart Design

You can watch the movie here:

Second half of the class, we went back to our old friend, the Grids. I barely see myself working with grids that often, especially in term of Graphic Design. The theory of the grids: how to use it properly, what is a correct grid, how to use grid to maximize visual effect, etc, is still a myth to me.

We also learnt about the history of the grids, which I am currently digging in all over again. I hope to have a better idea of the grids by understanding the context of why the system was invented. I also think there’s no right grids and wrong grids at all, it’s all about experiment, and how visual aesthetic can be (mainly) decided by ingenious placement of separate design elements (images and texts).

My grid-based experimental poster design and sketchbook. 


Cross, N (2011). Design thinking: Understanding how designers think and work. New York: Berg.

Service Design

*Touchpoint: tangibles such as spaces, objects, interactions that make up the whole experience of a service

*Service blueprint: a process map used to describe the delivery of services

*Customer experience map:

+ helps develop a consistent, predictable customer experience

+ presents an overview of customers from their point of view

+ helps reduce the number of dissatisfied customers

+ can be used with different personas

Practices and Projects 1: Mind-mapping

First lecture of Design Practices and Projects is apparently, Mind-mapping.

“A mind map is a diagram used to represent the affinities or connections between a number of ideas or things. Understanding connections is the starting point for design. Mind maps are a method of analyzing information and relationships” (Curedale, 2013, p. 195).

My mind-map + timeline for what I’m up to in the future. I drew a lot of watermelon slides because I was craving for some during making this. My neighbor group made a mind-map about University. We tried to connect our mind-maps by picking up similar terms, words and concepts. The blue highlighted notes on my mind-map are from them, indicating the part where our connection joint; the watermelon slides I drew on their map does the same.