Grainger, R. (2018). ‘Why do Designers Need History?’ (Accessed: 13/10/19).

Back to Bush Theatre (2015) Life in 1970’s Britain. Available at:  (Accessed: 13/10/18)

McCullah C. B. (2000) ‘Bias in Historical Description, Interpretation, and Explanation’, History & Theory, 39(1), pp. 39. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 14/10/18)

Forty. A (1986) ‘Objects of Desire’. Great Britain: Thames and Hudson Limited.

Rowley, J. (2012) ‘Conducting research interviews’, Management Research Review, 35 (3/4), pp.261. Emerald Insight [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 9/12/18).

Gill. P, Stewart. K, Treasure. E, Chadwick. B. (2008). ‘Methods of data collection in qualitative research: Interviews and focus groups’. 204 (6), pp.291–295. British Dental Journal [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 9/12/19)

Grainger, R. (2018). ‘Interviews as Research’. (Accessed: 9/12/19).

Baldwin, J. Roberts, L. (2006). Visual Communication. United Kingdom: AVA Publication SA.

Grainger, R. (2018). ‘Semiotics’. (Accessed: 10/12/19).

Mick, D, G. (1986). ‘Consumer Research and Semiotics: Exploring the Morphology of Signs, Symbols, and Significance’, Journal of Consumer Research, 13(2), pp. 197. Ebsco Host [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 10/12/19)

Grainger, R. (2018). ‘Ethnography’. (Accessed: 10/12/19).

Simonsen, J. Kensing, F., (1997). ‘Using ethnography in contextual design’. Communications of the Acm, 40(7), pp.82–83. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 10/12/19).

Grainger, R. (2018). ‘Journey Mapping’. (Accessed: 10/12/19).

Crosier, A. Handford, A. (2012). ‘Customer journey mapping as an advocacy tool for disabled people: A case study’. Social Marketing Quarterly, 18(1), pp.67–68. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 10/12/19).

Temkin, D, B. (2010). ‘Best Practices for Using an Important Customer Experience Tool’. Mapping the Customers Journey. pp. 1.[Online] Available at:–files/customer-journey-mapping/mapping_customer_journey.pdf (Accessed: 10/12/19).

Brace, I. (2018). Questionnaire Design. 4th Edition. Great Britain. Kogan Page Limited. (Accessed: 11/12/19).

Grainger, R. (2018). ‘Using Questionnaires Qualitatively & Quantatively’.  (Accessed: 11/12/19).


Questionnaires and surveys are used all the time by companies and large corporations to understand their customer’s opinions on a range of topics. Surveys are also used by many different people for thing like satisfaction, studies, attitudes and more. (Brace, I 2018)


The advantages to using questionnaires and surveys is they can give you qualitative and quantitative data, it can give you an effective design response and a varied sample size to suit the project. A graphic designer can use questionnaires to help them with the development process and can lead to a more effective solution for the client. A survey can be low cost and be more manageable but it can also be much more costly by having a larger sample, it can also give you statistical significance over other research methods. (Grainger, R 2018)


A disadvantage of surveys and questionnaires is that when the survey goes out it cannot be changed, certain subject might be difficult to recall information accurately so a different method might be better for controversial issues. When deciding on what questions to ask with in a survey it important to consider the appropriateness of the question and the type of answers they will give. (Grainger, R 2018)


In the lecture, the class was given the task of creating a questionnaire to find out what type of confectionary people eat, for this task we worked in groups to make the survey. We tried to ask appropriate questions around the topic so we could get a clear answer, one of the problems we faced was when the survey went out we did not get many reprocess so the results does not show an accurate representation of the class

What is Journey Mapping?

Journey Mapping is essentially storytelling,this can allow companies and organisations to learn more about their customers feeling and frustrations. A journey map can be a visualisation of a customer’s goal and is a good way to understand the customer’s needs; journey mapping sheds light on human experiences that companies seem oblivious to. Journey map scan create a visual of a complete user journey and can find problems and gaps in a user experience, companies and designers can take this and improve the overall experience (Crosier, A. Handford, A. 2012).


Journey mapping can be used in scenarios that describes a sequence of events for instance using a system, using an app or purchasing behaviour. A journey can show a person’s mind-sets, emotions and actions, it can be used to understand the steps or stages in a person’s journey and should be used with other research methods. (Grainger, R. 2018). (Temkin,D, B. 2010).

 “In the commercial environment, customer journey mapping has played an important role in the design of the retail environment. Market researchers routinely employ the technique to monitor shoppers’ responses as they pass through stacked shelves, noting where customers look, what attracts their attention, and importantly, recording how customers feel and how they respond emotionally to the retail environment”  (Crosier, A.Handford, A. 2012).


Journey mapping as a research method can be time consuming and hard to sample, because a journey map is so individual it can be hard to get a good sample as everyone’s experience will be a little different. Journey mapping can be an expensive and time consuming research method, and is not a research method you can use on its own it must be paired with another method. (Grainger, R 2018).


In the lesson the class was tasked with creating a journey map for a user experience of the rail system, this task was a good way to see different classmate’s frustrations on how they get to university every day. We had to consider what the user what trying to achieve, what did they want to know at different stages, what where the different touch point in their journey, there emotions and in what parts does the system let the user down. A classmate mapped someone’s journey from New Inn to Cardiff, throughout their map the user found problems with public transport and it running on time; this would have created worry and stress for the user

What is Ethnography?

Ethnography is a research method that focuses on learning about people and is characterised by in-depth observations of individuals in their day to day lives. Ethnography has roots in sociology and anthropology from the 1800’s as a way of observing ‘native’ cultures. For ethnography to work is must be taken in a natural environment, people behaviours need to be put into context and it’s based from a ‘members’point-of-view. (Simonsen. J, Kengsing, F. 1997) (Mick, D, G. 1986)


The biggest advantage to ethnography is that it is able to give you real world data and can provide a deeper understanding of people and culture. You are able to choose the size of your project and control who, where and what you study to try and keep the sample size. A major part of ethnography is you can get an understanding of real human behaviour how it differs from what people will tell you about themselves. (Grainger. R)


Ethnography can be a hard to complete on your own as it can be time consuming or expensive to hire someone to do the observation for you, it can also be hard to remain unbiased like an outsider when you’ve been involved with someone’s life for so long, like the Anthropologists. It is important when conducting this type of research to make sure you are not spotted because people’s behaviour changes when they know they are being observed. Ethnography can’t be used on its own, it’s normally used with other research methods to back their findings.  (Grainger. R)


In the lecture we were put into groups to go out and conduct ethnographic research, the group chose to go to Weatherspoon’s and observe the people in there. We found that most people in Weatherspoon’s on a Tuesday afternoon was mostly middle ages to elderly people to meet up for a late breakfast or lunch.People typically spend an hour or more when they were eating but spent less time if they just has a drink. The people on their own were mainly elderly men who were drinking, we found that a lot of them only stopped for one drink but there was a few men who were in there much longer and we expect they would probably be there all day.

What is Semiotics?

Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and taking meanings from them. Semiotics shows us how as a community we give objects meaning, for example in class our tutor gave us starbursts unwrapped so we couldn’t see the colour and told us to guess the flavour, all most everyone got it wrong because without the colour to help put the pre-defined message in our heads we couldn’t guess the flavour. Semiotics needs two things to work which is a signifier and the signified; a signifier could be an image, a word,sound, colour, etc. These on their own are meaningless without meaning being applied by social and historical context applied by the reader, this often changed from culture to culture. In simpler terms:

 “The colour red ‘means’ nothing. It is just reflective light within a particular wavelength. Contrary to what you might think, it does not mean ‘danger’ or‘stop’. If it did than you would avoid anyone wearing a red coat, or with red hair, or with red lip-gloss.” (Baldwin, J. Roberts, L. 2006)


Semiotics can be used by designers to help brand a client, from having a social and communal understanding designers can use different signifiers, metaphors, metonyms and binary oppositions; from knowledge of these areas a designer can ensure the message they send is the correct one. Semiotics can help designers and brands to understand symbols and identify emerging trends, but semiotics should not be a replacement for quantitative. (Grainger. R 2018)


One of the large problems with semiotics is the terminology can sound over-complicated making it difficult for a beginner to understand, along with this there are different versions of semiotic methods. The book Visual Communication talks about two methods for semiotics,one where the message is passed from A to B in a linear sequence and the other where meaning is not passed in a linear from but is the production of meaning itself. These two theory’s clash and that can make semiotics hard to understand.(Baldwin J, Roberts, L. 2006) Another problem is there are different types of signs and interpretation depending on the signifier, this can create different meanings which can complicate design.


In the lecture the activity we were set was to create a doodle that uses binary opposites for instance Fire and Ice, War and Peace, Night and Day. We had the option to choose the theme and make a book cover from that. The theme a classmate chose was ‘War and Peace’, to represent that theme she used a dove which is seen as a symbol of peace in Christianity with a soldier’s hat and gun to represent war and fighting. A different classmate chose ‘Fire and Ice’ and represented that with a white and red fox to represent the colours we have associated with warm and cold temperatures. This task was an easy way to understand semiotics and show how many different symbols can have many different meanings.

How to Interview

Interviews are an appropriate way to collect Inductive Research, Deductive Research and Qualitative Research. An interview consist of a verbal face-to-face exchange to acquire information and understanding from another person.  By conducting these types of research people can get different sets of data such as beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and experiences. From speaking to different people a research team can conclude different results depending on what type of questionnaire it like a structured approach, theoretical approach, pragmatic approach or an unstructured approach. (Grainger, R. 2018) (Rowley, J. 2012)


One of the advantages to interview is that you can have a real time response and are able to change the questions to suit the time and flow of the interview, you can see how they react and are able to gain more information by asking relevant questions to the topic you are talking about. One common way to conduct an interview is with a focus group to get collective views and understanding from the interviewee’s experiences. The type of data you should collect from a focus group can vary from what criteria you use, for instance for research containing meanings and processes this can be used on its own or it can be used for feedback. From conducting an interview you gain ‘facts’ and relative data, for example if you were conducting an interview about a Shopping Centre you can go to that place to collect data. (Gill.P, Stewart K, Treasure. E, Chadwick. B 2008) (Grainger, R. 2018)


The Disadvantages to using interviews for research is that they can be very time consuming as you might need to interview multiple people or the interview itself could take a long time, the researcher might spend up to two to three hours with one person. Contacting people and scheduling an interview might take a while and not everyone will want to talk,and when you do take the interview they might not want to answer some questions or they might not be telling the truth. When using a focus group one of the major problems could be that people are influenced by each other and their opinions might be sued because of it. (Grainger. R 2018) (Gill. P, Stewart K,Treasure. E, Chadwick. B 2008)


In the lecture the class was split into groups and we were tasked with conduction our own interviews on five other people around Cardiff on how they use social media. Our group decided we would have a semi-structured approach and follow some questions but we could add or take out questions to suit the person we were talking to. Our group had a theory that the older the person we interview the less active they would be on social media and their opinions about it would be different, the results from the interview proved this.

What is Design History?

History is useful knowledge to have when it comes to Design. History can help us understand the difference between good and bad design, understanding basic principles and it allows a designer creative freedom knowing that they won’t plagiarise or reinvent something.


One of the many advantage to Design History is that it allows us to put design into context and to understand the mind of a designer in a particular time, for example when looking into Punk Design of the 70’s it is important to look into what shaped Britain then. At this time Britain had a bleak future; unemployment was on the rise, race riots where happening in cities and Margret Thatcher became Prime Minister; the youth of this time felt that they had no future. Punk sort-out to change that like the Dada artists of WW2. (Grainger. R 2018) (Back to Bush Theater 2015) Another example comes from the book ‘Objects of desire’ that talked about the redesign of Lucky Strike Cigarettes and how it was made to resemble ‘American characteristics’ by “drawing upon the existing association between cleanliness and Americanness gave the Lucky Strike packet an American image, which ensured it a national market.”(Forty. A 1986). Without looking at history to inform the designer of what is an‘American Characteristic’ was Lucky Strike would have not appealed to emigrants wanting to become ‘American’. From looking at Design History we are able to understand the reasoning behind design, their influences and we can use it to move forward and continue a cultural legacy.


The disadvantages to using Design History as research method is that the history itself is told in chronological order where one year follows another. This method wrongly assume that decade start and end on time, and it gives you generalised information on almost anything. It also assumes that only males can be genius designers like Nevil Brody and Peter Saville, the history is also bias and is made biased by the people who wrote it. So not everything you read is the correct and accurate information and no quality researcher should rely on this method alone. (Grainger. R 2018)(McCullah C, 2000)


In the lecture the class was given the task to create a comic panel strip showing the disadvantage or advantages of using history as a research method, for this task we worked in pairs or groups. I worked with another classmate and we decided to show that history is bias, to do this we look into a common theme in history… men. We decided that history favors men; women aren’t really recognized for their genius like men, so we drew important parts in history where men were the highlight.