design issues for final year

HI, all I’m really battling to find an issue within design that i can concentrate on for my final degree year. I have had ideas but I want to find something that is quite unique, please can you reply if you have any ideas for issues/problems in the design world (no eco issues)

user interface design. usability. it seems like most ID guys are too concerned with aesthetics to even remember that people need to USE the things they design.

why do so many of you creative designers come here looking for ideas for your projects?

Can you not be more creative then that?

Take what you have learned over the past 4-5 years and apply them. When your in the “real world” you cant ask people to come up with ideas for you. If you can’t come up with a topic/idea, then maybe you should drop out. You knew from freshman year that you have a final project, so you have had a good 4 years to figure this out. pic something that interests you. As far as issue’s in the “design world”, what are you looking for, something that deals with the stuff designers use to work? If so, don’t limit yourself to that, you should be looking at issue in “the world”.
Walk around with a pen, something pisses you off or bothers you, write it down and why. Within a week you will have plenty of ideas.

yea man… wat were u upto these past 3-4 yrs!!! never mind that now… u must hav developed a certain style by now… ur own design language n probably hav favorites (can u already see wat u’l END UP workin on?)
my suggestion wud be to try n consciously move away frm watever kinda stuff u’ve done til now… that shud give u a clue bout wat not to do (u can go by the process of elimination! but lemme warn u… u’r goin to hav to take a decision sooner or later!)
only follow this if u not able to think of anything… i mean ANYTHING

Oh, come on. Give this person a break. He/she didn’t say this was his/her last resort or anything. I think it’s fantastic to ask for input.

Good for you! It’s really a big challenge to figure out what you’re going to spend your entire last year focusing on. Seems to me you’ll be committing a lot of time to the subject, so you’d better like it and it better be interesting.

Not that I have any great ideas to offer…

I don’t have any ideas, but in hindsight I would recommend that you do something you get excited about, as it is smart to do something related to the field you really want to get into (a little warning - everyone wants to do furniture, so I say maybe do something more product - most ID people end up in some sort of product field, furniture is tough to get into starting out). Also - try to make as many, and as nice sketches as you can while working on it and save them all - and take pictures of all your mock ups before they get destroyed. When I got out of school I had to go back and redo almost all the sketches in my portfolio (some may frown on this, I say hu-ey). Take this last year and make you sketching sing - and do and save as much of it as you can (stealing technique ideas from your teachers and classmates (future competition)). that and try to have a nice final model or whatever you students do nowadays - alias, rhino - your new technology frightens and confuses me!

So in closing - the hundreds of beautiful development sketches are as important as a beautiful finished idea and model (but don’t neglect the latter).


thats exactly what i originally wanted to do. How do people experience products (what emotions are used when using these objects of desire or even objects of hate) However I really need to pin point the issue. As it is so broad, this is exactly what got me so muddled in the first place. The other issue I had was Inclusive design or as you call it in the states universal design. I went to the Royal college of art in london and looked at their masses of info they had on it and found an issue which is that this type of design looks very sterile, and why should it, take the wheel chair for example, works great functionally but it cant help but look so mechanical.

I also agree with the furniture statement mentioned earlier, I think a lot of students go with this approach but i think it is harder to find a strong issue within this archetype and therefore their grade might suffer. I think in London however it is easier to get into furniture than it is to get into other areas of ID. I know at my uni Central Saint Martins we have a lot of industry links to milan and most students head off there when they have finished.


well this is what I’m finding hard to do. Emotional design is such a large area. I guess one way of pin pointing an issue is to look at sensory emotions with products and materials. For example why is it we portray some materials as being safe and others not; some materials as luxury others as cheap. But this is all good and well thinking of an issue like this but where is the question that needs answering. This issue so far just says to me ‘so what’ although i know there is something in this that is worth exploring, I just need to find a base, to start from. I do think though that experience design is a huge area. It opens us up to questions like why a tv should look like it does. Why should it be moulded out of plastic, why not hand carved tv’s etc. It has huge potential.

Here’s the best advise you will hear-

Pick a tiny subject and grow into it over the year. Much smaller than even sensory emotion. If you think of it, every design produced in mankind deals with sensory emotions.

You will have a high risk of making a really boring final project if you start with broad theme- It’s simply too big for the limited time that you have.

Good starting points can be:

-Actions “I’m going to make things disappear”.

-Look at basic needs rather than grand themes. Pick your favorite need and redefine it to be ‘basic’.

-Look at ‘news of the wierd’ sections. Breakdowns in logic are great ways to start.

-Find an existing scale. Start from one end to the other. (Thinking of the movie Power of 10, by the Eames)

-I agree with you to stay away from archetypes. (Unless your teacher or mentor is Job Smeets or Tony Dunne). The results can be really boring.


The appropriateness of materials, seems a strong area to research in, but there is maybe too much information there to narrow it down. Do you think I should narrow it down to an area say the appropriateness of materials in the home, or the appropriateness of materials in wearable technology.

This issue ‘the appropriateness of materials’ does give me room to discuss not only well thought out products but also products that use materials as a disadvantage ie (phillipe starck juicy saliff <— what a big product for dicussion lol)

Try designing for the opposite sex. I know this is something designers do everyday but its a little different when you make it a topic. if you’re a guy, try to come up with something very feminine. or something like the perfect purse or make up organizer. or try to make something that is recognized as masculine into a feminine product. just an idea…good luck!

Hey thank you very much for that last reply it has got me thinking on a few new issues. Especially trying to design something often portrayed as a male object into a female object, again this could be linked to emotions and experiences of products as well as inclusive design. ie INCLUSIVE GENDER DESIGN (universal gender design)