No, not the channel. This time it’s iPlayer and the team that look after it and they were at our uni again to talk to us about the ways in which they gather data to improve the iPlayer and user experience in general. A lot of the data collection methods are ones that we were familiar with but it was interesting to get a better idea of how the BBC works. It was amusing when we were asked what we thought of the layout of the iPlayer home screen and I wasn’t alone in thinking that it is a bit cluttered and messy.

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BBC Idiation

Apparently that is an actual word and not made up jargon and yes, I did have to google it to check.


This is was the first of several visits by the BBC to work with us on the masters and they have some great, knowledgable people working for them. The morning was taken up with our visit to Orangebox so when we got back we had to do a quick catchup over lunch.


The BBC showed us several methods of rapid idea generation which were great as there wasn’t an emphasis on the quality of the idea, just (for now) the quantity.

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The first image was more of a warm up exercise where they got us to decorate as many circles as we wanted as quickly as possible. The second was to draw or write down as many ideas as we could on the grid of 8, we were allowed up to 40 seconds per slot and I loved this method. 


After that we looked at ways of honing our ideas and judging the merit.

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I feel I took a lot away from the day which I will use in the future.

The Pelican Brief (aka Orangebox brief revisited)

In more depth then and ignoring the title (which is probably best) the Orangebox brief requires us to:

  • Form a collective (possibly compete with the Borg)
  • Decide on a company ethos, identity and key values
  • Bring biophilic principles to bear on redesigning a work or leisure environment

So first to the collective: The members of the team are 7of9, Natalie, Jade, Viola, Gemma and of course myself. Together we make up the commercial giant that is Pentagon Design. The skills we bring to the group are photography, video, fashion, design, illustration and of course architecture and interior design. Ok, maybe not the last two but how hard can it be, right?

Together we work in a fairly loose, collaborative way with no clear leader and this does of course have the danger of freeloaders. Fortunately through drawing up tasks and putting our names together we are taking responsibilities and can see who is doing what and this method is working well for us. While there is no leader per se, when needed Natalie takes point and does an exemplary job of it. More specific key values and identity will come across on the website.

So biophilia, what’s that all about? Happily it doesn’t refer to Gwyneth Paltrow and her jade eggs. There will be a separate post going into more depth about what biophilic design is but in short it is all about healthy, eco friendly environments.

Lastly, as Orangebox works with Novaglaze, there is a need to consider the use of glass and items laminated therein, in the design that we come up with. 


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The what? The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre is the working environment that Pentagon Design have chosen to apply our biophilic magic to in an attempt to make it more appealing to artistic types. The DOYYEC helps and supports entrepreneurial business that have their genesis within the university of Huddersfield be they current students or alumni. It’s also the hope of the EPY, the Entrepreneur Placement Year which 3 members of the Pentagon team undertook. We wanted to look at the DOYYEC as we all found it a difficult environment to work in as creatives who don’t thrive in a traditional office setting. This is the DOYYEC:

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As you can see the DOYYEC when it was established was more geared to traditional  businesses but they have found that they are getting more students from the arts wanting to do the EPY and so things need a changing. I never felt comfortable working there and was much more productive in my home office.

Some of the shortcoming that have been highlighted, and my own experiences are:

  • Lack of storage
  • Too quiet
  • Too loud
  • Really bad wifi
  • not big tables to work on
  • no control over the light
  • having to crawl under the desks for power
  • Too open 
  • No personal areas
  • The staff need a little more privacy for  data protection

My EPY was all around my photography so for me the control over the light and a good editing monitor were the shortcomings for me.

Natalie and I were able to have a good chat Phil and he confirmed that use of the facilities by the arts students was a concern and he also mentioned that the room is leased and had pretty much come as it was but they would welcome a more appropriate design of the space. One of the extra points he raised was that the pods were feeling too enclosed and could do with a design that would allow some views through the glass whilst maintaining some privacy. Perhaps a patterned cut out or laminated materials such as Novaglaze make.

Hopefully what we come up with will benefit future DOYYEC users.


Orangebox Brief

We’ve started a new module for the MA and this one is all about entrepreneurship, which is what I spent my entire placement year doing during my degree. So whilst I may be well prepped for the process, I didn’t start out massively enthused at the duplication of work when I’d rather be getting on with my main project. That said, the team I am working with are ace and the more I look into biophilic design, the more interested I am getting. Our “client” is Orangebox and the brief is to design a biophilic environment such as a workspace, airport lounge or study area.

Our initial thoughts were with a workspace so that will be the start of our research. To get us motivated we visited Orangebox’s offices and as usual, I had a camera with me: