A dyslexic blogging? Probably not two words that go together often. To give you an overview of how I came to set this account up, it all started during the first week of Final year. I approached Karen Roxborough, the marketing officer for the design school. I remember chatting about how I would go about promoting myself to get the most out of my final year. I had a few reservations. Firstly how people would judge me and what they would be saying behind my back. The reason why I say this is because the industrial design course is immensely competitive, as all the students are competing for the same jobs! On the back of second year where I found it incredibly hard to find a placement with a lot of effort thrown at my Folio and a website, I knew other students were saying how keen and annoying they found me. Karen’s response to this was, “Will you still be friends with every single person on this course after you finish?” I swiftly replied “No”. Karen continued to mention how the leading entrepreneurs do not worry about how people think about them but to do the best they can with the resources they have available. With that I was a lot more keen to get my name out there, and after some crucial brainstorming I had a few pull quotes and strap lines to play with.
Karen suggested the idea of starting up a blog for the polo community to follow my progress and tap into my new vision for what I had planned to change the face of polo.
Once I had this sterling advice and motivation, I cycled back home to start putting all of my ideas down on a piece of paper and signed up to wordrpress. There are great benefits as a design student to do this, yes it is quite a bit of effort to fit it all in while you have Industrial Design Studies, Computer-Aided Ergonomics, Live Projects, Dissertation, Folio as well as the major project itself! But it is do-able…
You can “tell a story” – by this I mean you can highlight the problem in the real world and “news jack” headlines and repost content that is relevant.
You can show additional content that you otherwise could not show in paperbacked logbooks. For example detailed videos about current products, systems, innovations or the target market. This means that you have digital content that you can submit for the lecturers to follow and reference this in your reports (reduces word count too!). By posting videos the reader can read the content in the post to understand why you found this relevant. And of course pictures speak a thousand words…
You can attract industry interest. Yes people will actually read this if you send it/tag the right people. This is great to grab the attention of the leading manufacturers, retailers, editors and target market for you product. I actually had industry experts read my blog who then got in touch because of the level of detail and focus on the subject area. This is absolute gold! I have learnt some much from chatting and emailing these guys because they are the best at what they do. The advice, hints and tips were all noted down in the logbook (extra marks from lecturers of course!) to progress the design. Below you can see the double page spread in the Polo Times. This was an extremely valuable opportunity and an honour to be featured in the leading Polo magazine.
You can link your online research. I launch countless questionnaires and surveys via my blog to try and attract more numbers to fill in those really annoying survey monkey requests! I ended up having over 260 responses to my survey, resulting in having arguably the largest research study in polo to date (Polo is a very small traditional market!).
You can forward your blog onto designers to try can get the all important job! Linking you blog into an email shows a potential future employer you dedication to your project and your level of detail too without having to see all of those logbooks! The director of FSW design always said “detail is retail!” and this could not be more true.
You can create a potential customer market. Once it got into the business end of the degree I started posting more finalised photos of my sketches, CAD and prototype. This really started to catch peoples eyes as they could see something they have given feedback and suggestions into. Readers can see the progression from that first survey to a real working prototype, so to have countless message of “when this going into production?”, “How do I order one?”or even people messaging really kind words is a massive confidence boost to continue on with the hard work.
Overall final year is as hard or easy as you want it to be, and by choosing to do a blog it will be extra work that takes time away from doing your actual work that will be marked. But hopefully you have read about all of the benefits it brings and the advantage it gives you over your peers who are all in the same boat. Realistically I have only just scratched the surface on why designers should blog (perhaps this could be your dissertation title?). But if you are about to embark on your final year and you have read any of this post it has served its purpose, so good luck.