Project: Research Design
‘The theoretical position examined is that gift wrapping can serve as a cue for the retrieval of positive affect, specifically a happy mood, associated with the receipt of gifts.’
- Howard, D. J. (1992). Gift-Wrapping Effects on Product Attitudes: A Mood-Biasing Explanation. Gift-Wrapping Effects.
Research together with design?
Project 3 is a follow-up assignment of project 2. Identity and image are again the starting point. The assignment is to start your own project with a theme of your own choice and to conduct research with a critical attitude. In the previous project the theme was: sustainability. I will elaborate on that further with this project.
How does the process go?
During the first brainstorm sessions the first ideas came up and I made a number of sketches, working with themes such as: sustainability, recycling, technology, veganism, self-sufficiency, social media, consumption, mass production & capitalism. With these themes the intention was to formulate activating questions. The first questions are: Why do we keep buying new stuff? Why do people buy anti-consumer products? The follow-up questions are: What is the influence of anti-consumer products on the world? Why do we keep buying products that we can get rid of afterwards? And finally I came to the proposition: 'People buy products they don't use'.
With the products we buy and then don't use, I immediately thought of presents. For example, the pleasant things you give to people on a special occasion. Christmas hampers are a good example of this. Only the annoying thing is that Christmas is just over. That's why I'd better use a different subject.
Reusing things is actually quite easy this time of year. I used to get my own clothes & toys from my brother. This gave me the idea to maybe pass on products, with the message to people to buy something new less quickly and to take a look at a second-hand or used-good shop.
What have I researched?
I researched the influence of gifts. From the study: "Gift-Wrapping Effects on Product Attitudes: A Mood-Biasing Explanation" by Daniel J. Howard shows that gift wrap is a visual signal associated with "happy moments" in someone's life. By giving wrapped gifts, people get a better mood.
I have also read in the book "Sapiens". It said that the nomadic man in the Stone Age had few properties. This is because they moved from place monthly, weekly or even daily. Now we as humanity have millions of properties. From toys to toilet paper, clothes, cars, milk packaging, etc.
- Harari, Y. N., & Pieters, I. (2015). Sapiens: een kleine geschiedenis van de mensheid. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Thomas Rap.
What am I going to do?
My plan is to 'improve' the image of second hand stuff. The idea is to start a campaign to raise awareness about used products. I want to do this by giving people a second hand product. It will then be packaged as a gift that people can take with them free of charge. I collected second-hand items at various places such as at King's Day 2019 & at second-hand shops and thrift stores in Breda. Through this action I want to give a positive message about second hand items.
I also made a postcard. It shows where all the used-good shops are in Breda. So people can take a tour through Breda to visit all the thrift stores.
Evaluation & Reflection
I myself thought it was a successful project, but also partly not. I started the confrontation with this project. I hired the cargo bike and handed out the presents by the Breda. But less successful because I wanted too much with my project. Because of that there was too little focus and direction. If I had only focused on the subject of gifts and it would have gone further, it would have been more focused. I also tested my project too late.
But I did learn a lot from this project and I am satisfied with it. I don't mind that I made a lot of mistakes during this project. Because of this I learn from and can carry out my next projects better.