Mural Power.

“Human Ecology is an interdisciplinary applied field that uses a holistic systems approach to examine the many contexts of people’s lives. In particular, we focus on the dynamic relationships people have with their near environments: clothing, family, home and community. Our mission is to create healthy human environments that enhance the quality of daily life. “

(excerpt from the Human Ecology webpage)


As students in HECOL 250: Design Studies and Practice, you were asked to develop a design concept for a mural that would represent the Department of Human Ecology. You did your research, developed a concept, sketched out some ideas, chose one, and developed that further. The presentation of your mural concept was a chance for you not only to explain the process behind your design decisions, but to demonstrate what you have learned throughout the semester. The murals were extremely well presented and the discussions that followed proved to us how you are all thinking like designers.

As promised, I have scanned the murals so that you have a chance to see them all. They are all so different and the potential is amazing. Great job class!


Abby Wong & Rida Baig

Alyssa Demers

Alyssa Demers


Amy Wang


Anna Davis & Ally Bak


Arwen Thysse

Camille Gaida

Camille Gaida

Casey Chalut

Casey Chalut

Jacey Machielese

Jacey Machielse

Katelynn Sadler

Katelynn Sadler

Leah Mendonca

Leah Mendonca

Leah Walkeden

Leah Walkeden

Mackenzie MArtin

Mackenzie Martin

Mason Wong

Mason Wong

Quinn Falconar

Quinn Falconar

Rebecca Dow

Rebecca Dow

Sarah Rea

Sarah Rea

Sydney Petrovic

Sydney Petrovic

Vivian Tran

Vivian Tran


Pretty amazing stuff, right?


“Let’s aim for lasting power”

Two weeks ago we sent out a survey to the faculty and graduate students of the Department of Human Ecology with the aim of better understanding what their perspectives around “human ecology”. The responses were intended to inform and inspire your designs for the proposed Human Ecology mural.

One of the questions was “What are your expectations for the Human Ecology mural?”, and a particularily noticeable response asked that the mural have “lasting power”.

As you continue to work on your mural and make final decisions regarding visualization, representation, communication, composition, and interface, think back to Polly’s lecture ( her presentation is on eclass) and her discussion around giving a space, and a community, a greater sense of place.

How do you envision your mural will change the space? How do you hope the mural will create a sense of place?

How does your mural have “lasting power”?

Will it enhance/represent the HECOL identity?

Will your mural design engage the audience or the community? How?

Do you think it will create a greater attachment between people and the building itself? If so, why and how?

How do you hope the mural will create a greater sense of stewardship towards the space?

Reviewing the “findings and outcomes” section of Polly’s poster will be beneficial in answering these questions for yourself.


Knowlton Cockett-Poster


The Emotional Box

In Unit 4 you were assigned the task of designing a box for your salt and pepper shakers. In unit 5 you have been asked to develop the packaging further, and as you do so I ask you to consider what was discussed in lecture on Friday – the concept of Emotional Design.

According to Don Norman, the cognitive psychologist who coined the term, designed objects have three dimensions: the visceral, the behavioural, and the reflexive. The visceral is about how something looks, smells, feels, and sounds like. It is about how our bodies and senses engage with the object. The behavioural is about pleasure and useability. It is about understandability and accessibility, frustration and delight. And finally, the reflexive is about meaning. It is about the associations that you (the user) attach to the object. These three aspects, or dimensions, do not exist in isolation but are intertwined and together are what make the experience of a designed object an emotional one.

As you reconsider the nuances and the styling of the packaging for your S&P shakers, take the three dimensions of emotional design into consideration. Ask yourself:

What do you want the user to feel (tactile and emotional), understand (know), and think of (remember and associate with) when they see and open the box?

What do you think of and/or feel when you interact with your box (and shakers) visually and physically?

I leave you now with Clifton, the wallet sized engagement ring box, by Vancouver based packaging designer, Andrew Zo.





How’s This For a Flat Pattern Design?

Question: What happens when you mix a design student with 1) a brief to design something locally, 2) a cold apartment, and 2) an extra piece of felt?

Answer: The Lasso, flat packed in Paris and assembled by you, slipper.


I cannot tell you how much I love this design-the economy of its materials, the fact that the user assembles it themselves, the idea that by assembling it themselves the user will form a deeper attachment to the product, that it is manufactured locally and by people who are very often marginalized in the workforce, the idea of the material forming to your feet over time…

Not to mention they look great and you can choose your lace colour.

Check out the story of the Lasso slipper, told by the design team of Gaspard Tine-Beres and Ruben Valensi.


Trending Now: Colour

We have finished looking at colour in lecture but you will continue learning about it as you finish up your colour books and start thinking in more detail about your murals. Here is a look at an analysis of the colour trends of the last fifty years,  visualized as an infographic for us by the lovely people at Pantone.

Their look at colour and brands is quite interesting. As is the fact that black is the most used colour for logos and pink is the least. If you were a brand, what colour(s) would you be?

I think I’d be blue (trustworthy and secure) and red (bold and passionate).  I do like pink though…

For those of you interested in fashion, check out the Spring 2015 Pantone Fashion Colour Report.

Pantone_Celebrate_v8_EnglishImage from

The Effects of Colour

In Unit 3 we looked at colour in terms of how to choose it appropriately; that is, to make sure that the associations, and physiological and emotional responses we have to colour are in keeping with the idea we are trying to communicate. In Unit 5: Visual and Physical Interface, we are going to delve further into colour by looking at the theory behind it-what colour is, the relationships between colours, and how and why we percieve it as we do.

This PBS video touches on why people have been vigorously studying colour since the 18th century. The emotive, symbolic, communicative, cognitive, physiological, technological, historical and cultural aspects of colour are simply fascinating.

A quote from the clip I found incredibly pertinent in terms of why we study colour theory:

It’s just that you have to learn to identify it and codify the language. How do I arrange them and how do I speak about that arrangement so that other people understand what I’m creating or doing?

Do you have a favourite/least favourite colour or colour combination?  And have you ever thought of why that is?


Boxes: From 2 to 3 Dimensions

This week in studio we will be designing and constructing a box. You will brainstorm, sketch, and play with different forms, decide on one, draw out the plan, and construct the box. This box will house your salt and pepper shakers as well as your eight structural principle cards.

Hear is a bit of a primer to get the creative juices flowing.

See you in studio!!

So I Was Walking Through Southgate…

So I was walking through Southgate Centre today and I happened to bump into these beauties. Congratulations to Amy, Katie, and Camille on producing such creative and inspiring pieces!

View the other entries (a few of them are by HECOL 250 alumni) and vote for our gals here.

I took a few of my own photos…


Amy’s submission…powerful yet feminine.


Amy’s submission aptly titled “Black Swan”.


Katie’s submission, “Picnic In The Park”, dedicated to her late grandmother.


Look at that detail!


Camille’s submission is literally a piece of “Wearable Art”.


I would totally wear this skirt.

Amazing job and good luck to all three of you! We are so proud!

A Tale of Two Chairs

In lecture we have started our descent into the wonderful world of 3D design and we kicked it off talking about shape and volume, and what these mean in terms of production processes. Megan spoke about 4 elemental terms that are used when we talk about the production process: addition, subtraction, manipulation, and substitution.

I thought the (production) story of the Emeco Navy Chair would be a good way to start thinking about these words, especially because it is a great example of a classic design that has changed its material, and therefore its production process, without changing its design.


The Navy Chair 1006 (left) and 111 (right). Image courtesy of

The Navy Chair 1006

The Navy Chair 1006 be Emeco (Electrical Machine and Equipment Company) was designed and manufactured in the 1940’s in response to the U.S. Navy’s call for a chair that was light, durable, and “could withstand water, salt air and sailors” ( The result was an incredibly sturdy chair made out of 80% recycled aluminum (mostly Coca-Cola cans).

The chair is known for its 77 step process which includes cutting, welding, grinding, polishing, heat treating, hand finishing, and anodizing – all done by hand (with a little help from machines).

The Navy Chair 111

In 2006 Emeco was given another challenge, this time by Coca-Cola and similar to the last, to come up with an iconic structural item that was durable and used bottles that were sitting in landfills. They came up with the Navy Chair 111, which is the exact replica of the 1006 but made of soft recycled PET plastic.Due to the nature of the material, the production process of the 111 is quite different than the 1006’s.View a slideshow of the production process from here.

What differences and similarities do you see in the two production processes? Can you identify the addition, subtraction, manipulation, and substitution (if any) processes in both?