Digital, meet Physical

Once upon a time, a little girl was given a pencil and a piece of paper, most likely to keep her quiet on a rainy afternoon.
And she stayed with that pencil and paper for the next 20 (or so) years…

She took her first sketchbook on a family holiday aged 5, with disastrous spelling implications. She learned to draw straight lines free-hand at her Granddad’s knee, practicing and practicing until they were right. After Mechano marble runs and Playmobil zip-wires she dreamed of becoming an artist, a fashion designer, she wondered if Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bangs character Caractacus Pott’s life as an Inventor was an achievable life ambition…
The dress sketches turned to floor plans and architectural elevations, she day-dreamed of a black-and-white photo of her older self adorning the ‘designed by’ pages within the IKEA catalogue.
She reached 18, dyed her hair red, packed her bags and moved into the Product Design department at the Glasgow School of Art.

Here she learned about thinking through a process by drawing it out,  how to use a band saw, research and analysis of concepts, working with end users to find realistic results, prototyping and mocking up ideas quickly to test them.
She was also introduced to Service Design, a discipline she spent 2 years seeping off of the internet and making her own.
After 4 years; a term in Sweden, a wonderful group of like-minded folk and a kick-ass degree show she was itching to get stuck into some full-time, real-life projects.

They came from Snook – and she spent 1.5 years service designing for the public sector in Scotland: co-design, co-creation, workshops, prototyping, asset mapping, bluepringinting, user journeying, listening, considering and visualising on every day with a ‘y’ in it.
Those days rounded to an end as she reflected on what she had learned, and considered where she wanted to go, and what she wanted to work on next …

She landed at Made By Many, a wonderful family of intensely clever folk, all working to add life, joy and excitement to the internet, and to make all that appears on your screen make sense. It’s a tough ask, but she couldn’t have found a more talented bunch up for the job.

So, she’s now 24, soaking up all that she can about the world of ‘digital’ from all that is literally buzzing around her. She loves all of the sense-making elements of it, of breaking down a service into manageable chunks, and then aiding people in navigating through. There are amazing opportunities to learn new processes and take part/ watch as great new projects find their feet.

The short-lived lifespan of a digital idea is taking a while to sit comfortably with her. She was brought up to consider the sustainability of a product idea, in terms of longevity and practicality of use.
The fact that a digital idea can simply be left to the history tabs, throw aside with no immediate waste is taking a bit of getting used to.

The more that she is learning about merging digital and physical concepts, the more she is finding that current ideas in this realm pitch to the already converted: digital natives confident in spotting a trend, taking up a new behaviour or two and sharing their creations.
These ideas tend to exist on top of existing digital services, adding an additional (often ‘printed’) service layer. They also tend to stay in the limelight for mere months, before they too are tossed aside.

Digital-meets-physical is an area that greatly interests this Product Designer-turned-Service Designer-turned-Digital Observer. The potential to create meaningful, lasting, useful objects and services with a tactile element at their centre is huge, and is something she fully intends to delve into.


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