Mapping – Studio Day

Task one – Positionality

If you type “what is design?” into Google you will get roughly 103,000,000 results all offering different views and ideas, arguing what design is. I believe design is a vast and exponential field that encompasses an array of different fields, terms and practices (which can sometimes gets a little confusing). Tharpe and Tharpe (2009) argue that “Without a compelling…way of organising design activity, we are selling ourselves short; we not only have difficulty understanding the profession ourselves, but also in communicating to the world our potency, range, and potential impact.” They have categorised design into four primary fields; commercial, experimental, responsible and discursive.

Our first task was to consider our position in design by thinking about three past projects and and the categorises they fit into, where we currently sit and where our future selves would like to be positioned.


My positionality considering past projects, current position and future position.

Once we had identified or current position every member of the class mapped there position on a giant map – it was really interesting to see how other people in my discipline and others position themselves within the design.

mapping_02.jpgI think its interesting to see that the majority of the class positioned themselves between experimental, responsible and discursive design with only two students positioning themselves within one field of design. This clearly indicates that that the majority of people want to explore more than just one area design, to be a broader designer.

Task two – Mapping 

Mapping? A Map? What exactly is a map?

When I think of maps in a conventional way, various things spring to mind; the route, being lost, my destination, the journey, time and symbols that represent things. Mapping ideas and thoughts in a design process should embody the same things. It’s about exploring possibilities, finding alternative routes, being confused and lost, taking the time needed in order to make connections and helping us to figure out a potential destination(s).

Our second task was to take our 10 ‘things’ of inspiration and actively investigate potential connections and themes that emerge with a group of 3/4 people from different disciplines. Once we had explored the themes in 2D we then took it into 3D.

Discussing items we’ve brought in.
Mapping our artefacts making connections
Creating 3D forms to visualise ideas, data and connections.
My 3D model exploring physical  meets digital worlds.


This exercise was a useful and effective way to start exploring ideas and emerging themes. It was interesting to see and discuss other people’s inspiration and we were able to give each other mutual inspiration and topics of conversation. It is important to be creative through out the design process so turning ‘things’ into 3D models is a really effective way to explain our ideas to others we used various different materials and were encouraged to explore the Lego Serious Play method.

The role of Lego within the creative process has been proven to be very effective. The Lego Serious Play methodology allows people to effectively “explore relationships and connections between people and their world, observe the dynamics both internal and external, explore various hypothetical scenarios, and gain awareness of the possibilities.” For me, this method of story-telling is particularly useful, through out my design process the user is the central focus point, this method of role play is an efficient way to consider the users, scenarios, interactions and environments. Although I recognise the role that Lego Serious Play can have within the design process at this point I felt I was making for the sake of it, I didn’t get anything of any value out this exercise at this point however, it will be something I will return to when the time is right.


Lego Serious Play. Retrieved from

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