Studio Critique

Today we had our major studio critique presenting to a panel of design professors from the Emily Carr undergraduate program and getting their feedback. I gave a quick presentation to provide background of the project and then brought the panel back to review, read and experience the work.

I have a tough case of bronchitis and a sinus infection and have completely lost my voice. That became a design challenge in itself to present mute. Simplifying my concepts for easy readability, I used large type and body language to communicate the background of my project.

For the critique, I explained all three parts but focused on the meal cards. I described how the objective is exploring ways of structuring information so families can work together. I presented my design challenge to develop a structured information system that facilitates both task division and collaborative cooking for family members in the kitchen.

To make recipes more accessible to children, I’ve dividend the process: GATHER finding ingredients and bringing them together PREPARE chopping, mixing and arranging to cook COOK the steps of making and assembling the meal

For this set of work, I gave myself some constraints to start the exploration and then used what I learned to further expand. Using my prototypes from the past few weeks of the refrigeration display that has a folded hanging card, I worked with layout, type and the experience of being instructed within that format. After recognizing which ideations were most successful in that format, I then began to expand the application to different forms and sizes.

There were a number of issues and frustrations I was having with how my work is progressing. In looking at the entire system I kept finding myself overwhelmed or trapped by boxes and parameters I had created. I also found it challenging to construct the presentation to facilitate the type of feedback I was looking for because I had jumped to designing such small details without resolving the bigger form and system issues. Fortunately, the critique panel was very helpful. They provided insightful feedback on issues I was aware of and brought ideas to my attention that I had not thought of yet.

A few of the most helpful comments and suggestions were:

  • “It doesn’t feel like fun”
  • “Too structured to be a family-based community activity”
  • Explore the design of the kitchen
  • Further explore iconography and use of images to engage children
  • There is a design opportunity to utilize the refrigerator as an information interface
  • Recognize that this endeavor is counter-cultural (barriers)

A flood of new ideas has come out of this experience. I feel re-energized and redirected to both narrow the scope and expand the style of instruction for more flexibility, fun and play.


JournalKaren Whistler