Project 4: Design Ethos

Prompt: What is your ethos (as a person, designer, family member, student, friend, etc)? Think of your rhetoric: what is your logos, if you had to describe the logic of your behavior what drives you? Pathos, what emotions move you? What pathos do you like to arouse in others? What ethos do you have or want to have? Who are you as a person, designer, family member, student, friend, brother, sister, cousin, etc? In other words, what imprint do you add to the world? or what do you aspire your ethos to be? What matters to you?

STEP ONE: Brainstorm, draw, journal, write, question.

Part 1 A4

I thought this was a good follow-up exercise to the workshop that Michelina lead us through several days ago. Having time to reflect on what I said to my partner in the class exercise helped me to more quickly identify what actually matters to me, what kind of person I am, and how who I am affects my actions.

STEP TWO: Analyze your actions.

Part 2 A4

This framework for thinking about my actions really helped me to see how I’ve progressed in my behavior and thought throughout the past 5 or 6 years. I’ve found that while many of my behaviors are not very sustainable, I’ve been able to see my awareness of sustainability slowly increase throughout the years. I’ve also been able to see my motivations change, as it’s become something I am passionate about and want to practice more sustainable behaviors for myself and not for someone else.

STEP THREE: Explain what matters to you.

Part 3 A4

Though I don’t think my design ethos project necessarily needs a specific audience that I present to, I found it useful to think about some of the things that a group would be looking for, might be interested in, and could relate to. I think this also helped me to tie in my design ethos with my interest in learning and the learning process. After mapping it out a bit, I felt like using a learning growth model (unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence) could be a useful framework for modeling the change in my values over time. I also pulled from other models and concepts, such as akrasia, and tried to figure out if at any stage my values weren’t aligning with my actions. So far I am really enjoying putting this poster together, but I am slightly concerned about the content of my presentation and how well it will convey the points I hope to get across. Below is my first attempt at translating my design ethos change over time in relation to my learning growth over the course of about 5 or 6 years.

First Draft of Design Ethos Poster

Draft of A4 Poster_for web-01-01

Developing the Presentation

After talking to Peter and Michelina, I found that the main issues I needed to focus on for my presentation were the amount of material I needed to cover in the time allotted and the lack of excitement and completion of the end of my presentation. I’ve presented this plan of action through the learning stages (as presented above) but there’s no clear way that I visualize what that might look like. It’s also a pretty boring way to talk about how my ethos has changed over time, and the poster will not be captivating.

So I went back and drew out the different aspects of my life, which are shown below. I started with my home and my family. We are sustainable in food consumption and production, we’ve chosen transportation methods with zero emissions and waste output. We are also very active in our local community; we buy locally as much as possible, and we bring our own food that we make to sell or donate to people. Finally, I’ve decided to bring my sustainable interests to my design practice, thereby aligning my actions with my code of ethics. I would no longer have this issue of akrasia, as my beliefs are truly embedded into my everyday life and practices as a person and as a designer.

Unconscious Competence Scenario

The Final Poster

A4 Poster_Final_New-01

A4 Design Ethos Presentation PDF

Final Project Reflection:

Throughout this project, I continued to discover that so many things define who I am and what I believe in. For me, no one thing takes precedent over another, except possibly my own sense of morality and how I choose to act on it. I feel very in touch with who I am, but I found that it was very difficult to verbalize this to others. I do not believe it was difficult to do this because I do not feel comfortable with opening up, I think I found it difficult because I’m not really sure where to start talking about my ethos. 

One of the most difficult things about this project was being unsure of what to talk about. Out of nervousness for keeping my presentation of my ethos too broad, I decided to hone in on a topic pretty early on and I’m not sure it encompassed everything that matters to me. I absolutely care about sustainability and about life-long learning, but after hearing the presentations of my peers I realized that my exploration was not as engaging, memorable, and felt like an easy way out of a difficult conversation to have about who I am and what defines me. 

During my exploration of my ethos, I questioned how I have evolved over time. This was one of the most interesting parts for me, as I finally was able to visualize and verbalize how I was becoming more aware of what matters to me and whether or not I was taking action on those things. 

Evaluating how successful my project was is difficult for me. I think I followed the brief, completed all the steps, and did some personal exploration along the way. However, ultimately I do feel slightly dissatisfied with the outcome of my project and my ability to get in touch with various aspects of my character and my actions. 

Experiencing the presentations of my colleagues was one of the most rewarding aspects of not only this project but also this class. It is very difficult to feel comfortable opening up to people in an academic setting, and I was amazed by how brave and self-reflective they all were. I also realized that I haven’t had as many character-defining moments in my life as my colleagues had, and I think that hindered my ability to tell a story about myself in an interesting way. 

If I were to do this project over again I would spend a good amount of time going back and thinking about the phases or situations in my life that shaped my sense of morality and my need to act on the things I believe in. Then I would structure my presentation in a more narrative style, as I feel that would have been more engaging. 


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