Design & Technology was one of my favorite GCSE subjects which I took in high school. It gave me access to think and act in a way that product designers would. We have been given many projects to complete throughout Year 9, 10 & 11. After finishing the course we were asked to complete a final project:
“Based on observational drawings from nature, design and make a new product or range of products for a specific market to be sold under the brand name of “Wild Things”. The product(s) should only use natural or 100% recyclable materials. Consider suitable packaging to reflect the theme. You are also asked to show how the product can be disassembled and what can be done with the product at the end of its life.”
To complete the task effectively we had to put a ‘designer cap’ on and that involved digging into a lot of research. It started off by dropping down ideas, brainstorming, and making loads of mood boards. The research involved studying the market and the consumer. The product was targeted at toddlers and so we had to observe and interview toddlers and their family members to give us hints on what is likable and what’s not. We also had to study anatomical body proportions in toddlers to get the most suitable measurements for a comfortable seat. After many sketches, we used 3D software and made our own prototypes to get an accurate idea of where the product is heading before manufacturing.
Not to forget that the product had to be environmentally friendly and easy to transport and assemble. So we looked at the many options of materials we could use that are more sustainable and last longer. The packaging was also important; that included knowing how many pieces make up the bench and how the user is instructed to put it all together in easy 1, 2, 3 steps within an easy-to-follow handbook. It all had to fit within a flat rectangular box to allow easy transport.
The last steps involved testing the product and evaluating it. It was a great opportunity to visit the new building of Carr Manor Primary School to see the kids interact with the bench. Their comments were genuine and very adorable as well. I was more than happy to see positive responses towards the product, but placing children's charm aside, I still had to keep track of the negative aspects as pinpoints that require working on. What I learned is that no matter how good a designer believes her/his product is, s/he has to still listen to all feedback they can get, because feedback is enlightening.
I would love to pursue designing and making endless products if only I had all the time in the world. What added the cherry on top of it all was receiving my final GCSE report stating my result in DT: A*.
I’ve enjoyed the creativity, challenge, and hard work that is involved, and finally celebrating the Certificate of Achievement received by my school at the end of the year. I couldn’t be more grateful for all my teachers who worked extremely hard to handle us the tools and knowledge needed to learn woodwork and all that’s required to become ‘pro beginners in the world of design’.