Social Digital Hackathon 2015

Kicking off my final year at DJCAD, we were presented with a brief from an external company called Tigerprint, who asked us to 'deconstruct and reconstruct' their existing product ranges and come up with new and innovate design solutions. Tigerprint are the sole suppliers of M&S various product ranges and were very interested in what our course could do with their products. There were several types of product they asked us to work on - diaries, greetings cards, crackers, calendars and gift bags. 

Our group compromised of a mixture of the 4 years of Social Digital - four fresh-faced first years, three shy second years, two tired third years and three frightened fourth years who appreciated the week long distraction from their inevitable Honours Project. As one of these frightened fourth years, I was tasked with leading and introducing the first years to Social Digital and what we we're all about.

On day one, we began by quickly breaking the ice by sticking post it notes to ourselves with our names on them before asking if anyone had any inital ideas that they would be keen to explore. As we began exploring the various products, we noted down any ideas the group had about each product as well as began to look at each element of the products i.e. card, glitter and the messages are all examples of the elements of a greetings card. 

I discussed with the group about my interest in redefining the experience of giving someone a card by suggesting we create cards that had to be assembled by the receiver from start to finish. This idea was well received by the group and we began to explore the feasibility of doing this in one week as well as beginning to incorporate other people's interests. One of the 3rd years expressed an interest in using cheap, recyclable materials and taking an eco-friendly approach while one of the 1st years suggested we draw inspiration from flatpack furniture and take that into consideration when designing our cards. The two 3rd years also conducted market research by heading down to M&S and discussing Tigerprint's ranges with the staff there. They also picked up a flat packed cardboard house that when assembled became a night light when coupled with an included solar panel. This gave us further inspiration, including how we could potentially implement technology to our own designs.

By the end of the first day, we had established an initial brief to keep us on the same page as well as created a criteria of what we would like our gift cards to be by the end of the week. 

Social Digital Hackathon Brief - Mk i

Through deconstructing and reconstructing a traditional greetings card, reconstruct a new card that places emphasis on the interaction of gifting the card.

Day two began with a long morning of prototyping our ideas. With our initial idea planned we began to discuss what context our card would be given and quickly narrowed it down to creating Christmas cards - however we discussed a variety of different celebrations and what their associated 'structure' could be. Since Christmas offered us a variety of different shapes to play with, we prototyped various, simple, 3D structures such as snowflakes and Christmas trees. We established that the whole card would transform into the 3D structure so we began to prototype different sizes and scales, as well as play with the idea of having a base for the structure - either included on the card or giving instructions on the envelope to create a paper base for the structure allowing us to stick to the reusability aspect we had decided on the day before. 

By the end of the day we had a variety of prototypes to play with and had begun to define what our final design would be. We made plans for the next day to have a long day where we would push to complete all of our deliverables - creating four A3 boards that mapped our week's journey as well as submitting a final prototype for the pop-up exhibition on the Friday.

On the Thursday, with help from the first years, we created a digital template with our final designs so that we could begin to laser cut various materials for our final prototypes. At the laser cutter we experimented with wood, cardboard and paper. The group agreed that wood had the best finish and we were ready to use that as our final material but after a tutorial with the representative from Tigerprint, we decided to reconsider and use strong cardboard as our final material which ultimately fitted better with the criteria we had to created for ourselves. We also finalised the final size of the prototype, aiming for an A4 sheet that split into two A5 sheets that would then fit in an envelope allowing the card to be posted.

With our final template ready, we laser cut a number of different versions to show at the exhibition - one version showed what the card may look like as a traditional greetings card was displayed like so. Another version show what the card would look like once split in two and ready to be assembled but this was placed into the envelope we had created using seeded paper. Finally, we had a version that showed the card assembled and demonstrated how it may be displayed - we had our final example hanging at our exhibition.

Overall it was a very enjoyable week, even despite the ever looming thought of Honours Project being on my mind all week. Our presentation and display were well received and it was nice to work with the younger years on a simple brief and create a product that emphasised craft - something we don't often get to experience when working digitally.