During my 3rd and final year at university, I was able to explore two topics that are very important to me. Arthritis and diabetes, two major diseases that cause many medical, physical and emotional issues for the people who have them, and also for those who are close to them.
Focusing on a change of aesthetic for adaptive grips directed at those with hand deterioration which has formed due to arthritis, was my first major project of the year. which was also my chosen topic for my dissertation paper, where i focused on discovering research on each topic of the question, and creating a concept design, which allowed me to develop further and a final concept later on in the year once my dissertation was submitted. In reflection, i believe that i was able to successfully produce a product that has a better aesthetic and a better material concept than the current adaptive grips or cutlery on the market. By changing the aesthetics of the piece it will hopefully make the users feel more comfortable in using the product especially in social situations.
After my viva presentation i felt that i was lacking in knowledge of the manufacturing and costings side, which i think is partly due to issues with communication with the company i had chosen to work with. I was able to find out as much as I could through information they were able to provide me with during quotes. Also after rethinking and reflecting on the project i have realised that i had over complicated the design on the piece and that it could of been four section and not six which would reduce the cost of manufacturing and the product.
Taking on projects during the third year does come with a major step up and increase in work load, from second year, which is of course to be expected. Though I feel that we still could of been better prepared by doing larger projects during second year where we either had to work with a client or towards a prize like most of us have done during this third year. As always standards are very high and get higher as you go through university and it is important to know and keep all students in line with what needs to be presented and what they expect from each student whether its for a presentation or exhibition models.
The second project i chose to take on was related to diabetes, using my brother as my main client for this project was very helpful as i was able to go back and forth to him with almost every recipe and part of the packaging design. Which is very helpful for a project because even though the designer is making the final say there is someone else who is making the decisions which allows for a better design in the end.
The final product i came up with for a solution was a different type of product then is usually used in product design. The problem i was solving was; there is no suitable snack or dessert food product for diabetics. The final product i designed was three flavours of cheesecake, which are low in sugar, decreased fat, carbohydrates and with increased protein. By changing the recipe of the cheesecake it does allow for a better product then is currently on the market, there are of course many sugar free or free from alternatives that are becoming even more available there is still a major gap.
This project did involve lots of experimentation which with any recipe or product is true. I’ve had lots of speculations for tutors and course mates telling me that i am not making a real product or I’m not doing product design by making cheesecakes. But these are false statements like anything we choose to have in our house or wear on our bodies it applies the same for the food we choose to put into our bodies. Those of the population who have intolerance or are watching there weight stick to certain food groups, it goes the same for those who are diabetics.
In reflection i think i was trying to pick an easier more creative solution for my second project, but like any project there is always more research and more parts to the project then the designer originally thinks. If anything through this project i have certainly managed to make three yummy cheesecakes, which i will be able to make without a recipe and less than an hours notice.
I think even though i may not of been able to complete the final models the way that i would of liked them to turn out. I am happy with where the project have ended and the products I have developed in the year. The other thing i am happy with is that i have been able to do two project i hold very close to my heart and have been a large part of my family life.