Design Interest January 2012

If there was a thread to be found in this month's Design Interest, it'd be children: understanding them, photographing them, or a comic strip with them and a stuffed tiger. That aside, there was something for everyone as the three topics ranged from design research to making comics.


  1. If you have anything to announce that's design related, here's the chance to do it. This week:
    Job opportunity for a Flash dev
  2. If people are interested in having a Newcastle Global Service Jam on 24–6 Feb, join the discussion on the Google Group below. (We need a venue and participants).
  3. Last year, Stanford did a whole lot of free computing courses. This year, they're doing one that's a tad more designery, and still free.
  4. Nick Forbes from the council is also interested in talking to SMEs (he should be back next month and be able to hang around for drinks).
  5. Rose Mockford: Celebrating Children’s Creativity
    Rose Mockford (@mydesignmade) based her presentation on her business My Design Made that gives proper value to children's artwork. Her background is in industrial design and design research (she worked at Northumbria University's Centre for Design Research on how to design for operating theatres), but then found a niche after people took a shine to how she made prints of her young son's drawings. 
    She's found that her attention to detail — choosing high quality and eco-friendly materials — strikes a chord with children and their parents.
  6. She had three overarching ideas from working with children:
    1. Have lots of ideas. Children are wonderful at not only churning out ideas (see all of the interpretations of a Christmas tree below) but also asking questions, and giving critique. Note that asking questions/critique is not the same as judging.
  7. 2. Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. Use different tools, play around. Kids are happy to colour outside the lines!
  8. 3. Just create. Kids are happy to draw all sorts of crazy things (like the robot below). 
  9. In the discussion afterwards, someone also mentioned the project where a professional artist redraws children's monsters
  10. Liz Douthwaite: Lighting for Portraits
    Portrai photographer Liz Douthwaite was worried that her talk might be too specialist for the audience. She needn't have worried: a good half of the audience put up their hands when asked if they had a digital SLR camera.