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Celebrating 10th year of DesignJournalSOS!

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Contact Daniel Lim:

Need help? You have a question? You have a request? You wish to feedback or give suggestions? Individual or group coursework consultation is available.

Email or send me a message via Facebook: more information

Note: It is compulsory to leave your school, your name and level & stream (e.g. Sec 2NA, Sec 3E, attempting 'N' or 'O' Level) when emailing for enquiries or when requesting for coursework consultations through email. Otherwise I will not respond to you.

Do note that response from me via mail consultation may take a few days to a week depending on my schedule.

P.S. Before you email me with your questions, please help yourself with the subject or topics you have difficulty with from the hyperlink labels on the right of this blog page first. You may end up not needing to email me for help. However if my posts did helped you, I would love to receive a note from you.

Click HERE for a complete Self-help listing of ALL the Design Components for Design Journaling.

Click HERE for "Cheat Sheet for Identifying Design Need | Situation | Opportunity"

Disclaimer: All information posted in this blog are original unless otherwise stated and remains valid for as long as I have not yet thought of a better way to present them. They are not meant to be prescriptive and used rigidly without forethought. Students are strongly encouraged to apply the principles in their design journey with discretion.

Sketches | Paintings | Bike | Drones | Cats :

Copyright © 2007 - 2017 by Daniel Lim.

20 March 2017

Pictorial Theme Definition to Design Specifications

What you'll see in this post are visual examples on 
  1. Theme Definition
  2. Mindmap on the Theme (exploring the theme)
  3. Theme Board 
  4. Tips on how to use a mind map to identify Design Needs/Situations
  5. Identifying and drafting Design Needs/Situations 
  6. Selecting Design Need / Situation for coursework
  7. Design Brief
  8. Design Considerations
  9. Design Specifications
  10. Pictorial Idea Generation and Development (Click here)
Disclaimer: These examples do not represent any complete section of a journal. Elaboration for each of these examples are conducted in my class and will not be written here. They serve as a starting point - an example - a demonstration - a suggestion - a recommendation - etc. to show what sort of contents may go into, say mindmapping, and how you can present your research and information in the journal. 

Use them as a reference and a guide to start or to improve your journal. Make informed choices on your own on what your takeaways should be after looking at the materials in here. Do not copy. 

If you find this helpful, I would love to hear from you. If you have suggestions, please do not hesitate to link up with me. If you would like me to explain to you please drop me a mail for a request.
Theme Definition

 Define the theme using either online or physical dictionaries. Use a variety of sources for richer scope of definition.

Including synonyms and antonyms helps. Antonyms give the opposite meanings of the defined word - which is exactly what you need for exploring design opportunities. 

Add photos and images to substantiate some keywords - images also serve to spice up the page - makes understanding the definitions faster at a glance.

Mindmap on the Theme (exploring the theme)

Every stage in the design journal is build up from the previous section. If you defined your theme diligently and understood it perfectly, you will have little problem mapping out the theme.

End the mindmap with identified objects followed by a brief description of the problems or issues associated with them. 

These 'comments' at the end becomes your identified design need and situations. Which you simply extract and write them formally in your Design Needs and Situations section.

Theme Board

A theme board is a collage of images/products/activities to illustrate what the theme means. There is no need for annotations or descriptions in a theme board. 

Remember that you got to understand and define the theme first before doing this. Use the keywords you discovered about the theme and find related images for the theme board.

You can use the completed theme board to help you in your mind map later (see below). Use the same theme board to help you identify potential problems or issues.


Tips on how to use a mind map to identify Design Needs/Situations


Identifying and drafting Design Needs/Situations

Identifying and drafting your Design Needs and Situation section should not be difficult because all the information you need are already in your mind map (see above tips on how to use a mind map to identify design opportunities).

Pick and choose the information you need and rephrase them in a paragraph or two stating clearly the context and the problems / issues. Finish off with a 'wish list' - that will pave your way to writing a design brief (see below).

Selecting Design Need / Situation for coursework + Design Brief

I use a modified Plus, Minus and Interesting (PMI) method to help select a Design Situation to work on later. You can use any other decision making techniques to do this.

Here the Design Need and Situation is repeated. Fine tune your paragraph if needed.

A design brief is quickly drafted by rephrasing the 'wish list' at the end of the Design Need and Situation paragraph.

Design Considerations

The design Consideration and Limitations (or constraints) is where you list out general points on what should be considered during the Ideaiton stage. Begin a mind map surfacing very general areas like e.g. functionalities - then move on to describe what do you expect in terms of functions.

The further you are from the core (centre of the mind map) the more specific you become. You'll reach a point at the far end where you need to research for data to be included. e.g. if it has to hold some pens, then research how many exactly do you need. 5 pens?

These quantifiable specific data / information you have at the end of the Design Considerations and Limitation mind map (again) automatically becomes a preview of your Design Specifications (see below).

Design Specifications

Remember you read in the previous sections that whatever comes after in your design journal stage, some, if not most of the information should come from the previous section. 

If you did your Design Considerations and Limitations as suggested above, making a list of Design Specifications is a breeze. All the information you need and want is already available and researched. 

Extract your quantifiable and researched data / information and then transform them into Design Specification points. Categories and order your Design Specifications beginning with Functional specifications. A typical design specification begins with 'The product must...'

Note that these points in turn becomes your guide for Ideation (see below).

Pictorial Idea Generation and Development 2016 (Click here)

18 August 2016

Working Drawing: How to Draw Dimension Lines for Orthographic Projection in PowerPoint 2013

You asked for it. So here it is.

This video tutorial shows steps to draw dimension lines and arrows in a Microsoft PowerPoint 2013. It assumes you already have a First Angle Orthographic Projection (either hand drawn or via Google SketchUp) image ready for import into the Powerpoint slide.

Create Presentation Board using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2013. (Click here).
(DIGITAL) How to draw Phone Holder in Google SketchUp 8 (Click here).
(ANALOG) How to draw Isometric / Orthographic view for Phone Holder (Click here).

17 August 2016

How to create your Presentation Board using PowerPoint Slides

This video shows six A3 landscape powerpoint slides on the various components that goes into a presentation board. If you print all the A3 pages out, that will make three A2 sized board.

The contents are suggestions only and must not be copied without forethought. Information are (deliberately presented) incomplete. Please consult your teacher.

(DIGITAL) How to draw Phone Holder in Google SketchUp 8 (Click here).
(ANALOG) How to draw Isometric / Orthographic view for Phone Holder (Click here).

15 August 2016

Phone holder Isometric | Orthographic | Assembly

In this document, I show how I 

a) Draw an isometric drawing of a phone holder. Label the parts and use the references in a Material List.

b) Use an overlay over the isometric drawing drawn in (a) to draw an assembly (exploded) drawing. I roughly marked the key points on the overlay and then rule them over to finish.

c) Draw a First Angle Orthographic Projection of the Phone Holder.

Note: It is actually easier to complete the First Angle Orthographic Projection first. You can then use the dimensions to draw on an isometric surface for the top profile. Use of the grid method is another convenient alternative. In this example I drew the isometric drawing first. 

You may also use 3D softwares to help you achieve the same effect see '

Step by step guide to draw a phone holder using Google SketchUp 8.'

View PDF steps for the above examples below:

Step by step guide to draw a phone holder using Google SketchUp 8.

I am not a pro. This is my first time drawing on Google SketchUp 8. So you might find faster and a more efficient way to draw those features of this two parts phone holderThis phone holder has a top wooden part to prop a phone at 30 degrees from the vertical and an acrylic formed bottom. Two screws jointing the two materials from the bottom are not show in this tutorial.

An example of an Isometric view for Labeling of Parts and Material List references

An example of First Angle Orthographic Projection for dimensions

An example of Presentation Drawing showing only the solution and the product in use


3D softwares like the Google Sketchup 8 is an excellent tool to produce and render drawings quickly. Very handy when it comes to creating 3D Isometric, 3D Assembly (or Exploded) Drawings and 2D Orthographic views to be included in your Presentation Boards. Not forgetting you can also use the same model together with the wealth of 3D warehouse to create your contextual presentations.

However, one must understand that using digital software for drawings are but an extension of our analogue drawing abilities. Drafting, preliminary ideas and the initial stages of refinement still require a substantial amount of quick and successive sketches with annotations. The software like the Google Sketchup 8 is good for presenting an end product after the refinement stage.

I  prefer to draw by hand if given a choice for Isometric and Orthographic Projections and whatever is necessary. It's not difficult actually.

Click below and you will find a PDF format for the steps to draw the smart phone holder.

Click below and you will find a YouTube video of the same steps to draw the smart phone holder.

Analog Drawing of the Phone Holder here: 

Phone holder Isometric | Orthographic | Assembly

28 July 2016

How to copy complex shapes + Converting 2D shape to (flat) Isometric 3D form

Drawing is easy. You just need to know how.

Here is an example on how you can copy a complex drawing easily. Look at the object and ask yourself what shapes do you see inside it. How big is this shape compared to the other one. 

3-dimensional drawings, especially flat ones, are also easy to draw. You'll first need a 2D drawing to copy from. Use the grid method to mark out your reference points. Draw an isometric surface and transfer those references point for point. If you draw 1:1 scale you simply measure the distances and mark your references. Finally draw isometric projection lines of equal length from the edges and join the lines up.

12 July 2016

Pictorial Idea Generation and Development

Updated on 2nd August 2016

This post is an extension and a supplement to "Coursework Experiential Journal Component 2016 Example" that was originally created as a guide and reference material for my Secondary 3NA student mini coursework. I will not repeat information I have already posted previously.

What you'll see in this post are pictorial/visual examples on Ideas Generation and Development (and refinements) in a design journal. The examples do not represent any complete section of a journal. They serve as a starting point - an example - a demonstration - a suggestion - a recommendation - etc. to show what sort of contents may go into, say development, and how you can present your research and information in the journal. 

Use them as a reference and a guide to start or to improve your journal. Make informed choices on your own on what your takeaways should be after looking at the materials in here. Do not copy. 

If you find this helpful, I would love to hear from you. If you have suggestions, please do not hesitate to link up with me.

Idea Generation / Ideation

Use of photos and images are starter and triggers for more ideas. In this case images of animals. Design Brief is about a storage solution that will appeal to children, that will motivate them to keep their toys.

Development / Refinement

Refining Shape & Form of a selected idea / concept. Some suggested ways that may help you start the process. Interestingly I use S.C.A.M.P.E.R. for this. Now you know S.C.A.M.P.E.R. need not be used only for ideation, but a great tool for development too.

Development / Refinement

Refining Jointing Methods on the various parts of the selected idea / concept. Some suggested ways that may help you start the process.

A quick summary on the decisions made for refinement of shapes & forms is quickly drawn at the top of the page. Three areas are then identified that require decision on the most suitable type of jointing methods. 

The page above shows examples on how options for different types of joints can be presented in the journal.

It's always a good practice to summarise all of your decisions every sections. (Above) To have a clearer overview of what I have done so far about jointing methods for the whole product, I consolidate decisions about the types of jointing methods selected for the various parts and draw them as a complete product..

Development / Refinement

Refining Overall Size and Proportions based on Anthropometric Data and Critical Dimensions. 

 To develop the storage size and dimensions , the product height, overall size and other detailed sizing of the other parts of the product, I identified and made a list on the areas that I need to decide on. Then proceed to work out each of one of them using researched Anthropometric data as well as Critical dimensions.

Development / Refinement

Stay tuned for : materials, etc...


07 June 2016

Research areas in Design Journaling

Most graduating D&T students will be completing their prototypes in the workshop by June. 

The faster ones would have completed theirs before the June holidays. Are you one of them? Please do not wait till July and find yourself still working on your prototype. Once your prototype (or artefact) is completed, it is time to revisit your Design Journal and make sure whatever needed to be in are in. 

One area I always find myself emphasizing to my students during coursework consultations is the presence of Research components in their Design Journals. It is tough to spot where they are or which is missing because Research is all over the place. Because it is so tough and lengthy to always repeat - I've decided to put on record what I would look out for for easy reference - which in turn also allows me to clear my thoughts about this matter.

As mentioned in the disclaimer section, the information you read below '...are not meant to be prescriptive and used rigidly without forethought. Students are strongly encouraged to apply the principles in their design journey with discretion.' The points below are also non-exhaustive. You can think of more areas as you work your journal.

Let's begin...
What exactly is 'Research'?

In the D&T design model 'Research' is linked to all four major design elements  - Identification of 'Design Needs', to 'Ideation and conceptualization', 'Refinement and Development' and finally 'Realisation/Prototyping'. 

'Research is everywhere'. I always tell my students. But what does that mean? What does that mean in terms of the extension of research work to be done in the journal? What are they?

Adding on to that, the marking component under Research is one score for the whole coursework. That means the final score you'll get for Research is a collective summary of all the researches and decisions you have made to discover, find out, investigate, clarify, gather evidence and data for the iterative design journey to take place meaningfully.

How do I make sure I did not miss anything out?

The Tricky Part

An authentic design journal has no specific page or place in the journal where you can point and a certain type of research can be identified there and then. It can be quite difficult to determine if the student did cover all or most researches comprehensively throughout the design journal. Only the immediate coursework facilitator (teacher) knows best and knows where to find them. 

If you know another teacher is going to mark your coursework make sure you indicate and highlight your research work done clearly at every design stage - especially those that you used to make important critical decisions to move on. Do not make the examiner find your work. You show them where they are. Do that as frequently as you can in your journal. 

Isn't it nice if you are able to justify your next move with researched information whenever someone asked you?

A quick example about the above point:

Say you have decided to choose Design Situation A over Design Situation B. You ought to be ready to present and record in your journal what justified that decision. Is it because Design Situation A is a more practical problem to solve compared with Design Situation B? Making it requires less time and is found to be more cost effective? More people will benefit from a solution from Design Situation A than B? Or Design Situation B is good but you do not have the knowledge / technological expertise or machinery support to realize the project, etc.

This example above makes up a part of research which will be considered in the end of your coursework as a whole. If this justification is missing, then there is no valid reasons for picking Design Situation A over Design Situation B. Your decision to go with Situation A is probably just random.

Do not make this mistake: Sometimes a student  might have done reasonably well in the initial stage of design. Say an excellent theme definition and exploration using a mindmap. It could be a Level 3 or 4 (pass score range) type of work at that stage. They get too delighted and immediately ignored the need to maintain that quality level of research work throughout the design journal. When the final research score turned out low they wondered why. 

You cannot just have an excellent start and think your research score is secured thereafter. It does not work that way for Research. You must have consistently good and meaningful research throughout. And then end well. Think in term of how Grade Point Average (GPA) works. You must Research and make Decisions well at the Situation stage, the Ideation stage, the Development stage as well as the Realization/Prototyping stage. You should maintain good quality research for all design stages to stay at average Level 3 score or better.

I need to clarify now that at no point throughout the coursework you teacher will ever give you a score as an indicator of how you fared. You might be told that it is either well done or more work need to be done. Maybe an indicator that you are a Level 1 & 2 or 3 & 4 range.

Let's break 'Research' down. What are they in the Design Journal?

Note: All researches done must have a decision made at the end. Researches with no conclusion are useless information because they do not help make a good decision. Types of Research required or expected in a Design Journal varies from one to the other. They can be a combination of a few or all of the following: 

(A) To arrive at Design Situation / Design Needs and Opportunities
  • When you define your theme.
  • When you explore your the theme via (for example) a Mindmap hoping to identify a good design opportunity.
  • When you study your Target User(s) to better understand where the problem lies.
  • When you study and learn from a certain process to identify what has gone wrong.
  • When you study and learn about a certain product that is involved in the problem to find out their limitations, etc.
  • When you assess the practicality of a potential design situation compared to the others.
  • When you obtain your critical dimensions and gather your anthropometric data to be considered in your Design Specifications.
  • When you justify quantitative values (e.g. exact number of pencils to store, maximum size of product, etc.) to be included in your Design Specifications
  • etc.
 (B) For Ideation
  • When you study and make decisions on functions, shapes and forms from existing products (natural and man-made) for inspiration to be incorporated in your ideas.
  • When you study and make decisions on why some products worked and why some failed. So you can make better decisions on the type of  functionality for your product.
  • When you include an image of an object from which you draw your inspiration from for your first sketch and the subsequent ones.
  • When you study and make decisions on colors, materials, texture, jointing methods to be incorporated in your ideas.
  • When you use of your image board for inspiration on how your product should look like or function in a certain manner, etc.
  • When you use of a theme board to determine color scheme for product.
  • etc.
(C) For Development
  • When you study and make decisions on alternative color schemes for refinement.
  • When you study and make decisions on alternative jointing methods for better quality joints or for quicker installation.
  • When you study and make decisions on alternative finishing methods or techniques that best suits your target user and the environment.
  • When you evaluate your refined solution with your Design Specifications.
  • etc,
 (D) For Realisation / Prototyping
  • When you research and find out the most appropriate tool and machines to use.
  • When you research and find out the best way / quickest way / most efficient way to finish your product.
  • When you research and find out the correct way to lacquer, spray lacquer or spray paint, etc.
  • When you research and find out special techniques to form or make your prototype.
  • When you test and evaluate your prototype with your Design Specifications.
  • etc.
Here you go. Research components throughout your Design Journal. Always remember to justify any way forward any time. As long as you can justify why you do this or that, you have researched. For sure.

All the best. Drop me a note if you disagree or find a mistake or have any other inputs. I'll be happy credit your efforts.

Coursework Experiential Journal Component 2016 Example

Contents updated 5 July 2016. 

The theme I created for my Secondary 3 NA (2016) students is 'Cracking'. Just journal. They do not make. Journal practice is more bare bone with only the essentials. Some pretty important research components are not in for now but students will get to do them when we come back again to beef up the contents. 

In my usual way of facilitation I try not to specify how many pages or number of this in my classes and also do not specify a certain layout for any design components because I want my students' style and character to show in their design journal. To do that students get to to think and struggle a little. It takes some time for students to get used to this and as a result it is common for some students to not to do so well in the beginning. However it benefits the students in the long run.

This coursework example in this post is not an instructional guide but a brief record of sample whiteboard instructions. Process for development follows a set of Scheme of Work which teachers must adhere to. Do not expect to find anything complete here.

Click on the image for an enlarged version.

Below is a brief overview:

Step 1:

I always like students to begin with the definition of 'Innovation'. No matter what the theme will be. This is to get students to understand that product solutions we see and experience daily in this time of the century are all innovations of some sort. They MUST be. In other words, even if the students might find a problem worth solving, the product will very likely a modification or improvement of a current solution - whether directly or not.

Students, you may use physical or online dictionaries to define 'Innovation'. In my other classes I expect students to research and give pictorial examples of innovation based on their definition. Use of images and annotation are encouraged and are good supplements to written definitions.

Step 2: 

A similar way of defining the word is now used to define the theme 'Cracking'. Read Step 1 above for tips and pointers to do this part. Notice if you search 'Cracking' you don't gain much because 'cracking' is an action. You should reduce 'Cracking' to 'Crack' and work from there. When you search 'Crack' you get all possible definitions of the word, then you think about the actions that comes from 'Cracking'.

Next use a mind-map to explore the the theme 'Cracking' as broadly as possible - at all times referring to the definition of 'Crack' or 'Cracking' for hints on what to identify and include in the mind-map. Use the unmistakable 5W1H technique.

(A) Explore the theme in a systematic manner. Begin with broad locations where the theme might take place (such as at home. in the school, etc.) to specific locations (such as the kitchen, toilet, bedroom, etc.). Note: Keep identified locations familiar and not places where you don't visit. Imagine a design situation in a context where you don't go or visit, how are you going to design and make a solution for that?

(B) Branch out from broad locations to identify more specific locations. For example, Home you have the bedrooms, kitchen, toilet, etc. Pick one specific location then recall or identify situations where the theme may take place. In this case, where do I experience or find 'Cracking' taking place in the kitchen.

For example: Home > Kitchen > you identify Eggs Crack. You will need to identify as many possibilities as possible that an egg may crack or you may crack an egg. What are they various possible accident scenarios? What the various ways to crack and cook an egg, etc. Record the process and note the problems, irritations, frustrations that can happen during the process.

(C) Finally it will be nice if the mind-map can end with consequences for the situations described.

You should at least have 5 practical situations that are well described and illustrated in your mind-map. The more comprehensive your mind-map is by describing the process, problem and consequences to a situation, the easier it will be later when you need to start identifying potential design situation or design opportunities.

Step 3:

Note that the Image Board section is stated as Step 3. But this does not mean you do this right after a mind map. If you already have a target user in mind from a selected Design Situation, it is always good to have an image board to show who these users are. You use the image board for a group of target users to be reminded about the design direction, form and style of your product at the Ideation and Refinement stage.

In an image you want to show who the target users are, their lifestyle, hobbies, likes, hangouts, etc. Everything that represents them. Usually only images to make up a collage would be sufficient for an image board. No description or annotations required.

Step 4:
After marking my students' work, I realised one of the worst identified situations are situations that rarely happens. One of my students selected and wrote this (unedited) design situation,

"While moving the TV after buying a new one, the TV is heavy, carrying the TV up to the table is difficult, causing it to drop, it would be nice is (he meant 'if') there is a object that could move the TV and elevate the TV".

That above situation is one that lacks careful considerations. How often does one buy a new TV? And with that very slim possibility how often do you then get to move that new TV and then drop it. And fast forward to ideation, what could be designed? Who's going to use it? How often? Who's going to buy a gadget to move new TV? Even the movers might not find this necessary. 

It is the quality of an identified Design Situation and Need you should spend most effort on. Students need to consider "designability" factors in each situation before taking them on for consideration then on to Design Brief. 

Identify and draft at least 5 design situations from your exploratory mind-map on the theme. The more situations you identify the better your chance at selecting the best product to solve and work on. Do not stop at 5 if you have more.

(A) You begin each Design Situation draft with an introduction to present a context to the problem.
(B) Next you describe the activities or processes that leads to a problem or frustration. Include the consequences here as well.
(C) You end with a 'wish list' by stating 'what next'. Now you identified and recorded a problem, what do you wish to see after that. I like to get students to end off by beginning with 'It will be nice if ...'. Here you write a statement how you would like the problem to be resolved (This looks like a Design Brief).
(D) Select one worthy and practical Design Situation and draft a Design Brief. The design brief is a concise statement that spells out what you want to do.

Step 5:

Now you have your Design Brief. In the Design Considerations & Limitations section, you begin by asking, 'I want to (insert your design brief here) what are the factors I must consider?'

A few generic factors are given in the example above. However you should branch out the mind-map specifying unique factors related to your chosen Design Situation.

For example, Home > Market to Kitchen > Eggs Crack > Knocks and impacts during transportation from market to home. (Extracted) Design Brief: A carrier to transport eggs home from the market that will protect eggs from cracking due to accidental impact.

Consideration Factor: 'Function'. I must consider
  • '... the number of eggs to be transported in the new carrier.' 
  • '... how the eggs will be laid out in the carrier when I put the eggs in'.
  • '... how the eggs can be protected from impact, or dropped from 1m to the ground', etc.

Step 6:

Once you have a list of Design Consideration and Limitation factors clearly stated, you can begin translating all of them into a list of Design Specifications.

Begin each of your Design Specifications with 'The product must.... '

Before you list any Design Specification points, anthropometric data,
 critical dimensions, research and study on existing products, expectations and behaviors of your target users, etc are expected to be completed. 

You need these information in order for you to specify what you want your product to do in Design Specifications.

An example of other related research:
Transporting eggs from market to home. I must consider how many eggs to store in this new carrier design (Design Considerations, Functions). Before I can specify in my Design Specifications that 'The product must store 12 eggs' I must have the following researched:
  1. The number of eggs to be transported. 10? 12? 6? How did I get 12 eggs. Is that a standard? Or is that the number of slots you find typically in a fridge. Therefore 12? I may end up a modular design with options for 6 to 12 eggs, or a full carrier for 12 eggs.
  2. Critical dimensions of a typical egg. Which diameter along the profile of an egg do I need? What are the various standard egg sizes sold in the market?, etc.
Step 7:
Ideation. Use the list of Design Specifications to generate ideas at the Ideation stage.

For practice, and for better control and facilitation, I did not get my students to ideate based on their individual Design Brief. I gave them a new Design Brief (about storage for children) and students fine-tuned and customised a list of Design Specifications.

With that list of Design Specifications, I demonstrated on the white board how Ideation can begin. I picked a Specification point that says the product must resemble an animal that a child would like. We made a quick list on what animals a child might like and found several animal and animal storage references from the internet. I used those images as starters and began a drawing spree on the board. Creating, modifying and creating evolution from each ideas and then morphing ideas to create hybrids of others, etc. It was fun. It was hard to stop.  

After an Ideation remedial session. 
Ready to go for a break before starting another subject for them.

The best way to learn is to learn from the others. I brought my students on two occasions to view this year's Design & Technology Award Exhibition in the Science Centre. It was nice to hear from two awardees on their design journey and how they created their product. I think my students benefited a lot from the generous sharing and tips on how to complete coursework well.

Listening to the first presenter on Thursday 2 June 2016.

Photo with the winner. Thursday 2 June 2016.

Listening to the first presenter for Monday 6 June 2016. Two new students joined in today.


Step 8: Concept Refinement and Development

A Decision Matrix to select the Best Idea from Ideation
Use a Decision Matrix table to select the most promising idea from Ideation for development.

Select about 4 ideas from Ideation and list them in a decision matrix table on the left hand column as shown above. e.g. Idea 1, Idea 2, ..., Idea 4.

At the top row of the decision matrix table list the attributes (e.g. ease of use, safety, attractiveness, etc) of the product. You extract these attributes from your list of Design Specifications

For every idea, give a rating under each attribute from 1-4. '1' being the lowest (worst) and '4' the highest (best). E.g. Idea 1, based on 'Attractiveness' it is the least attractive of the four ideas so I give a rating of '1'.

Next, just below each attribute you include a weightage depending on how 'important' they are in comparison to the other attributes. I assign a rating from 1-5. '1' being the lowest (least important) and '5' the highest (the most important or critical). 

To get the total score for each idea, multiply the weightage to the rating for each attribute, then add the total score for each idea. The idea that has the highest score will be selected for development. 

The Decision Matrix approach is purely quantitative in nature where you assign a rating for each idea and end up with a total score for each idea. However, the idea with highest score  may not be as desirable as it seems from your total. So you got to look at each idea again 'qualitatively' assessing non-tangible qualities like for example 'impression' and 'gut-feel' then make a final decision for your selection.


Shape and form refers to the Aesthetics of the product. Shape and form determines how the target audience will be attracted to the product visually and then emotionally. So this stage of development is a very important stage that also determines if the product will or will not sell. 

Step 1:
From the chosen idea (the idea with the highest score from your decision matrix), redraw the idea on a brand new page under the title 'Development - Shape and Form'.

Step 2:

It is impossible to state in definite point what you should do about developing shape and form. Because it can range from the way the 'lines' flow in a product, to color choices and surface textures. But the basic idea is to refine the overall aesthetics (or attractiveness) better or as desirable as it can. 

But a good way to start in no particular order of development is as follows:
  1. You can simplify the shape and profile (e.g. the profile of a Giraffe on both side of a storage box). Make it look less complex. Make the shape of the edges smoother, less jagged. More minimalist, etc. Look out for complex twist and turns of your initial profile that may be very tedious to shape and finish and then simplify.
  2. Modify the overall shape and profile by drawing parts bigger, smaller, taller, shorter, thinner or fatter. You may end up with quite a cute representation of, say, a Giraffe, which you would not thought of. In the example above, I made the neck of the Giraffe very long. I thought if I did that, the child would not be able to reach the head. But I quickly turned that into an advantage. I turned that into a 'Height Chart'. While the body of the Giraffe remains low enough as a storage space.
  3. On the right-hand-side of the example above, I took the original profile of a Giraffe and began exploring different representations of it while keeping its original form. I drew one that looks more angular with straight lines. Another one on the right more organic in nature. The one that looks more angular looks 'simpler'. I like the clean look compared with the more organic look. 
  4. Draw your storage space wider. Draw your storage space taller. Thinner, fatter, etc. By doing this, you alter the overall appearance. You may end up with a FAT Giraffe. Quite cute. A TALL Giraffe where you can design additional storage space along the neck. 
  5. Change a new animal shape if after modifying the storage space you find it no longer suits the shape of a Giraffe. Maybe a Hippo this time. In no time you may end up with a range of animal storage collection.
  6. Finally, developing Shape and Form is all about altering the shape, the lines, the overall proportion repeatedly until you find the right balance and feel. And one that you are sure will be attractive and suitable for your Target Audience. 
Finish this component over a couple of A3 pages complete with annotations to explain each modification. As you develop and draw new ideas for Shape and Forms, you'll get better at drawing an improved version of your design. When you are done, select the best Shape and Form or you may combine a few good features to come up with a final shape, then redraw the final developed idea.

Step 3:
Do not forget that any D&T product must be made of resistant materials (Wood, Metal and/or Plastic). If the shape and form of your idea looks very organic, for example, like a real-life Panda bear, then that product cannot be realised in the workshop. You will need to transform that ideal shape and form into one made of wood, metal or plastic. That means more 'boxy'. And then refine the shape again using the two steps above.

All products made of wood, metal or plastic are usually assembled from a number of loose parts that will require some form of jointing. Unless they are a solid material product like a brick or a paper weight. For this stage of development you are required to do the following:
  1. Identify the materials that your products will be made of. Entirely of wood, metal, and/or plastic or a combination of two or three. The following points assumes that a wooden carcase construction is required. I want to make a box to store toys in it.
  2. Identify the parts that require jointing. Highlight by drawing a circle around the areas and make a note that a suitable joint needs to be developed.
  3. Research suitable jointing methods (from your textbook or online) for the identified areas. Study the options and select at least two possible applications for your product.
  4. In this case, assuming a wooden carcase construction, my research focuses on different types of carcase construction. For each of the methods, you will need to study them. Take note of the (a) advantages and disadvantages for each methods, (b) the suitability for your product, (c) skills and complexity to make (compare with your current skill level), etc.
  5. Select and draw at least two most promising jointing method beside the highlighted area (see point 2). Include descriptions (annotations) for each of the jointing method, and show which method you have chosen. Give a good reason for your choice.
  6. Repeat Steps 1-5 for all other joints.
  7. Once you have finished all your decisions for the joints, redraw your final idea with all your recommended jointing methods included in the drawing. Annotate them.
  8. You may or may not modify the Shape and Form. But do so if necessary.
Stay tuned... Refer to "Picturiol Idea Generation and Development Post"

Design Journal Submission 

1 Arrange your journal in the following order: 

For semester 2 2016:
        Design Brief
        Design Considerations
        Design Specifications
        Ideas Generation (Toys storage for Children)
        Decision Matrix 
        Development (Shape and Form)
        Development (Jointing Methods)
        Development (Using Anthropometric Data and Critical Dimensions to establish size)

2 Every page must have a heading that describes the main activity for the page. E.g. Ideas Generation. Include a sub-heading where appropriate to describe the detailed activity under the main heading. 

E.g. Heading: Development: Jointing Method. If you are developing jointing methods for the box carcase, under the main heading add a sub-heading: Development: Jointing methods for Box Carcase. If you move on to develop other areas that require a joint, write another sub-heading to describe that.

3 For every development options explored, 
a) there must be explanations to describe the respective features. Include Pros & Cons to compare one option with the other.
b) the selected option must be clearly highlighted. E.g. Butt Joint chosen for the box. Highlight the word Butt Joint and put a big 'tick' indicating a chosen option.

4 For every decisions made, include the reason for choosing the option instead of the other. e.g. Why you have chosen a Butt Joint instead of a Finger Joint construction.

5 Summarise all your decisions made under each development section before you move on to the next. Draw the updated developed product with it's latest features. e.g. Summarise all the decisions you made under development of jointing methods at the end of the section with a drawing of the product showing the latest features. 

Pictorial Theme Definition to Design Specifications

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