Thursday, 29 September 2011

Lateral thinking workshop aka brain ache..

Wednesday 28th September workshop with Fred//

The workshop today was designed to get our brains thinking outside of the box in terms of the brief Good is..

We were told to write our 'good is' and then pick it to pieces using questions that Fred posed.

Good is: The mathematical values of polka dots.

Q1: What makes it good?

- It's a chance to learn how polka dot patterns are made.
- It's useful if you need to design a dotted pattern.
- It's nitty gritty details, which are always interesting.
- It's good because its not something everyone knows.
- It's good for your brain as there is maths and thinking involved.

Q2: Who would find it good?

- Polka dot lovers: Pretty self explanatory, polka dot lovers will want anything to do with polka dots.

- Maths geeks: Any chance to do a bit of maths and im sure they'd be up for it.

- Perfectionists (designers): Perfectionists look and take care of details, this is all about the details behind the polka dot pattern.

- Fashionistas: Fashionistas look at the sizes of dots and how they work with the shapes of bodys to make a garment that works.

- Guys looking to pull: Lorenzo told me he had a polka dot shirt and used to get a lot of attention from the ladies when he wore it. If his polka dot pattern was immaculate then he'd be sorted!

Q3: Who wouldn't find it good?

- Stripe lovers: Spots vs stripes!

- Maths haters: If maths makes your brain ache then steer well clear.

- Those who dont care for details: It's all in the detail, so if your not into detail then dont get into this.

- Non creatives aka business men/ bankers/ boring individuals: If your not creative you wouldnt even think there was a formulae to polka dot patterns, no point trying to tell you now!

- Anyone under the age of 10, as they wouldnt have studied circle circumferences yet at school! They just wouldnt get it, simple.

Q4: What is it better than and why?

- Plain, because plain is boring, you cant work out plain.
- Stripes, stripes are boring, whats exciting about straight lines?
- Any other pattern, polka dots have been used in design/fashion for years, they are influencial and can be seen on things from fish to shirts.
- The mathematics of squares, squares are just made of four straight lines, a circle is never ending. It will last forever which means it must be good!
- Algebra, in fact they should scrap algebra at school and study polka dots, x+yxb= WTF?!

Q5: If your good was a proffession what would it be?

- Interior designer: Interior designers make environments look amazing, they create an atmosphere and have to pay attention to a lot of details in order to create the right mood.

- A teacher: Learning something new is never a bad thing, whether or not you ever find it useful.

- Personal shopper: Personal shoppers are trained to know what looks good on what sort of person. There are so many different ways of laying out a polka dot pattern, one to suite every sort of person.

- Radio presenter: Radio presenters are invisible to the eye but you know they are there, much like the maths behind the polka dot, its not something that is obvious but you know it must be there in order for the pattern to work.

- Mathematician: Mathematicians are always thought to be geeks simply because they are so clever and appreciate how things work. Some people will find the maths of polka dots boring but its an essential part of the existence of the pattern itself!

Q6: If your good was a celebrity who would it be?

- Sir Albert Einstein: Sir Einstein was a genius and he loved finding out things.

- Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn Monroe always looked so perfect on the outside, but in the inside she had a much more complex story.

- Roy litchenstein: Roy is an artist who used polka dot patterns within his work and look how famous he is.

- Mr Blobby: Mr Blobby is a funny old character, everyone loves him, even though we're not really sure what he is. Maybe if we got the time to know him we would appreciate him more.

- Tom Hanks: Tom is my favourite actor, he's like the polka dot when it comes to talents. Tom has played so many different parts in films like Woody in Toy Story to a warden in The Green Mile. The polka dot can be used in a wide variety of contexts and thats what makes it so good!

Q7: If your good was an event what would it be?

- A sleep over: Sleepover are always good fun and they are the sort of place where you would discuss the nitty gritty details of the boys/ girls you fancy etc

- Maths quiz: Maths quizes can be boring but at the same time exciting, im fairly competative so I would try to win. It reminds me of playing around the world at school, which is a maths quiz where you have to be on the ball!

- 1930's war time dance: Even during war, the generation would still go out and have fun, this is like the maths of polka dots. Serious stuff but theres still room for fun!


Q8: If your good was a place where would it be?

- A london fashion boutique.
- My bedroom.
- An old Irish pub.
- A sushi bar.
- Alton Towers.

Q9: If your good was a product what would it be?

- A silky designer shirt: Designer clothing has to be perfect as its worth a fortune. Polka dot knowledge is priceless and without them there would be no polka dotted silky shirts for men to pull in.

- A bouncy castle: Bouncy castles use maths to determine the amount of air needed in its surface area to make sure its bouncy and fun! The polka dot has to be done properly to make people happy.

- A boiled egg: If a boiled egg is not timed properly its an epic fail, it might sound simple to make but there is a nack to it.


Q10: Why is it good?

- If the designers of Polka dot patterns didnt know the maths behind circles or a pattern, they would simply not be able to make it. A polka dot pattern is most commonly defined by having continuity with the sizes of dots.

- It's always good to learn something new, whether or not its relevant to you/someone else. Knowing something like this could one day win you the pub quiz!

- Even if you dont like Polka dots, a teacher could use it as a maths question/ example in their classes, you have to use your brain which is good for keeping it healthy.

- Polka dots are known to be a fun and flamboyant pattern, if it teaches someone how to make their own polka dot design and stand out from the croud, surely thats a good thing!

- It's something different, I could have gone down the route of just looking at fashion but that was too obvious and easy. This is a challenging subject to work with and I think its good that im challenging myself!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Design for print: Good is..

Continuing from the summer brief of What is good, and focusing on Polka Dots for my presentation. I have   defined my focus down to the mathematics of the polka dot pattern. I am interested in looking at info graphics which links in with Informing and Way finding. This cam from me looking at my own personal polka dot items and counting and measuring the polka dots and spaces between within a 10cm2 square. I didn't want to go down a route that would be obvious when it came to polka dots, the most obvious being fashion. I looked at the polka dot within nature also but think it would be more interesting and challenging to do the equations etc using info graphics.

The first thing that I looked at is the mathematical equations of a circle:

These equations were found from

 I want to look at the relationship between the sizes of polka dots, the space between and the space in which they are set in. I have worked out, using these equations, how the circumference changes as the size of the polka dot gets bigger. 

If a polka dot was 0.5cm in diameter the circumference would be 0.5xpI= 1.570796

If there was a space of 100cm2 you would be able to fit 6362.14 polka dots with a diameter of 0.5 in tight together.

The size of the dots and the gap between each one can vary through polka dot patterns. The definition of a polka dot (

NOUN // One of a number of dots or round spots forming a pattern.

Therefore the possibilities are endless. A polka dots circumference could be 3.5cm and the spacing between each dot could be 0.5cm...etc

These are some examples of the vast array of different polka dot patterns there are. The dots can be small and far apart or large and close together, each pattern is a polka dotted design but it has a completely different feel about it. The pattern could be straight forward in terms of the formality of it but a twist could be added by using several colours, or partly filling random dots. Some polka dot patterns use other shapes within them, which can often disguise the traditional polka dot formation. A mixture of dot sizes can often be used to add another element, smaller dots generally fill the gaps between the larger dots or visor/ verser.

The polka dot formation can often change depending on what it is being used for. I have found that medium to large sized polka dots with an equal space between them are often used in fashion on clothing and accessories, whereas smaller dotted polka dot patterns are used on underwear and homeware. Personally I prefer the medium to large sized polka dot patterns as they seem to feel more like a true polka dot pattern. 

These are a variation of polka dot patterns that I own, I am going to use these as a starting point to measure an average for my polka dot formulae. Im going to measure the size of the dot and the distance between them and then use info graphics to show the information I have found.


Polka dot patterns can also be used in a different context, optical illusions often used singular dots or dotted formations to create illusions to trick the brain.

This optical illusion has used dots and a combination of colours that make the brain think that the rows of dots are wobbling about. The rows of dots are in fact slightly out to one side on every other line. The red that has been used screams out from the grey background, and if you look carefully you can see that in the centre of each red spot there is a white dot. Your eye is drawn to the white dot which makes your brain think that the rows of red dots are moving, because your eyes and brain cannot focus on both.

This is a very well known optical illusion, the white dots are joined together by lighter lines which create squares with a dot on every corner. The background is black, the lines are grey and the dots are white, this causes there to be too much going on for the brain and eyes. You are often asked how many black dots there are, but in actual fact there are none.

This pattern is much like a kaleidoscope, when they are put into rows and touching it makes your eyes and brain sees them moving slowly.

On this optical illusion, because the dots have been condensed in two places, it gives a 3d effect. Which then makes you think that the 3 "3D" sections are rolling to the right. When in actual fact they are not moving at all.