Reflective Learning Journal Entry

Writing my dissertation has always frightened me a little, writing thousands of words on one topic is quite daunting. To add to this my writing skills are certainly my weakest asset so I really was quite worried about it at first. Something I was also quite concerned with was picking the topic for my dissertation. After handing in my research proposal I felt a little worried weather i’d be able to reach the word count for my dissertation, from the subject I had previously picked. However I went forward with the topic of food and beverage packaging as design and I am pleased I did. I found the papers I have read incredibly interesting and I know they will effect my thinking on graphic design in the future. 

Once I had my topic chosen, I started to look into publications that had written about the subject. I found quite a few sources that had written directly or about the subject in some way. A lot of them I found incredibly fascinating and important for my studies. They also had brought up topics that I hadn’t thought about before concerning food and beverage packaging design and the supermarket market. While reviewing some, it became clear that a lot of researchers and writers had their own basis for an idea that they did in fact share with others, and because of this I could see a lot of agreeing information. However, some maybe agreed there were others who didn’t and gave different contrasting opinions. Before this research I did have some concerns regarding what I wanted to say about the topic. However after reading the sources there were so many ideas talked about and it began to allow me to have my own thoughts and opinions on the topic. I also questioned myself as to why I had these specific view points. With this little first research it excited me to further look into other pieces of work, and through this I found ‘Cutting Through the Clutter” which goes in-depth into functionality and aesthetics in the food industry. This article then led me to base my dissertation on ‘The Importance of Both Aesthetics and Function In Food and Beverage Packaging Design’. 

I have always enjoyed looking at and collecting food packaging as I do with many piece of design that I enjoy. This is why I think it is a good decision to base my investigation on something that I not only enjoy within my discipline but outside in my everyday life. I did use my critical design brain to analyse food and beverage packaging design for this study, incorporating my discipline into my dissertation. As much as I do enjoy this subject I didn’t find the journey to a finished dissertation that easy. I particularly found it difficult to read academic sources that used difficult words. I found the process of reading and then taking in the information very hard and did struggle at times. However, once I had fully read the piece a couple of time the messages did untangles themselves. I think I did get better at this overtime, looking up certain words I didn’t know helped me to understand the text better. I also know these new words now for the future. Something else I struggledwith was finding quotes to back up my thinking, this did take me a while but once I had found them it was a relief and I could continue with the writing. I think the thing that helped me through writing this study is that I didn’t give up. I struggled vastly but did continue to work even when I didn’t feel as thought I could anymore. This quality improved even more even as the writing did get harder but i’m proud of myself for finishing. I’m glad I could stick it out and create something of interest to other designers like me. 

I chose to write a 6000 word dissertation with an accompanying artefact. I felt with this I could best show the reader what I have learnt about design from writing this study. I put into practice all that I had learnt from the studies, this learning can not only help me in the future when designing packaging but other graphics designers. My artefact gives a guide on important things to include when trying to create packaging for a modern day consumer’s wants and needs. In doing this I took hypothesis from written articles, such as ‘Cutting Throght the Clutter’ and ‘Thinking Outside the Carton: Attitudes Towards Milk Packaging’, and designed a new product which would be a standard for what makes a functional stand out product for consumers. I am really glad that I did choose to create an artefact with my dissertation as I feel it allows me to get the most out of the information I read about. It also gives me and other designers some insights into designing for the food and beverage packaging industry, something I didn’t know much about before. 

Overall, researching and writing for this dissertation has been incredibly hard but rewarding to. I feel my ability to read academic sources has vastly improved. This is a great skill to continue on with in my day to day life. I also feel like I have improved my academic writing to some degree. I realise I am not to an excellent standard but I have definitely improved from my research proposal last year. Being un-naturally good at writing I am quite proud of myself, in that I did complete this study and to a standard that I am happy with. I feel the work I have done for this dissertation will be important and will effect me in both my personal life and in my discipline. I have learnt critical skills and bettered my understanding of visual communication and functionality in terms of packaging design. This will be really important to bring back to my discipline as it can help me to improve my design work. 

Word Count: 1002