Some ideas and developments

By Mikko Mutanen — 

Ok, so I'm trying to keep a log book about my process (following the ideas in the book 'Design Methods')


These are the raw files that I'm constantly putting more work into. The 'events' file has the milestones and the timeline noted down, and the 'ideas' file is just brainstorming different thoughts that jump into mind while doing research in the net, or just sitting around with a coffee in hand.


note: I'm planning my thesis on this subject, so I've had plenty of time to sit on these ideas. I actually notice, that it's becoming harder and harder to break the glass box, to shake those old ideas off ..







Reopening the files : transform the brief, then move into convergence stage.

21.00 Begun convergence: expanding the brief questions into a document.

21.45 Brief, 1st draft posted online.


Wed 9.1.2008

10.20 NodeBox Basics - Frederik..


13.30 investigating this and that from wikipedia, updating the system, brooding and copulating internally

  reading about the Travelling Salesman Problem (visiting all nodes in a graph once), anb nodebox lib: Your Own Digital Ant Farm

14.20 from there, an idea of the Kanji gardens. (much too heavy for nodebox? can be done abstractly)

      I had the gardens idea a long time before relating to this, but now I started imagining the Kanji as tiny animals roaming free.

      They can express their relations to each other also in motion. 

      The critical thing is to see all related Kanji in the same visual space, acting together.


      now I will proceed on to testing the Digital Antfarm library, and the Graph library, maybe keywords, too. And exploding Wordnet.

      From these trips, I will collect the libraries that suit my ideas and bundle them together, for the next brainstorming phase

      In that, I will answer the Questions for The Designer, by John Chris Jones. that will form the basis for my design.

  ETA: 15.00 ants ok, 16.00 graphs and wordnet ok, 18.00 questions answered > dinner time! Let's see how this goes.

  --- 15.07

      the Ant colony has been tested. Not really known yet, how it could be adapted, except for keeping the Kanji loosely grouped.

      But a graph would do this in a much clearer way. Abstract, but made beautiful by the background visual.

  Now move on to trying Graphs, and wordnet.

--- 16.07

Ok, so now the graph is working and I will reveal the conceptual network of my own idea (following the brief) with it. ETA, 17.00

I neep to map the concepts carefully, and decide the relationships, parent/sibling, relative strengths for the solution

This will be a presentable outcome, displaying today's developments.

--- 18.45

Building the conceptual graph in NodeBox is now complete. PDF output to be printed tomorrow. It worked out fine.

I decided to have printouts from some node wordnets, the graph, and the mnemonics page from wikipedia (illustrating concepts)

All this material helps me in visualizing and writing the design document.

NEXT: Upload the final graph to the site, write a post that documents today's progress, and then read the John Chris Jones book.

OUTPUT: A written summary highlighting the main points of the John Chris Jones book. To be shared with the class in a posting tomorrow.








An ideal brief does not make assumptions that lock the designer into existing, harmful patterns.

A good brief conveys a story of people, of their aspirations and ideas, and how they push themselves into the hungry arms of the cosmos

Brief will contain illustrations

Brief will contain references

Brief will have mindmap, associative elements -> pointing at the questions we are searching answers for

Brief will be included as a linked file.

Presentation will be prepared and timed

Design is really about passing and transforming all expectations.


Kanji farm. (ants, as inspiration) .. more like a living collection of independent, but social animals.


Visual styles reflect this. Learning and memorizing the Kanji means inviting (or breeding?) more kanji in the gardens,

and watching them move and grow. If you don't feed them (review them) .. they die. This would be good for opening up small collections (sublessons) of the Kanji, and letting them wander around freely. Learning to recognize their shapes by watching them in action. 


 how would the different Kanji group together? Seeing, that they share primitives, they flock together and look for food?


 Do Kanji make children? (inside a batch (XML), some kanji would be designated as parents: the primitives. )


 So the advancement of the lesson becomes a social timeline: primitives meeting and copulating, give birth to other Kanji in the lesson 


 Magnifying glass idea: investigating the close-up, or zoom of the specific Kanji in the garden. 


 Associations window is like a thought bubble, or a vision to a subconscious level of a single character: what is it dreaming about right now?


 This would be designed to collaborate and support the review and learning the Kanji through more academic texts: the and Heisig.


 A personal, multisensory and affective way to store and take care of your individual Kanji children. Like small pets. Emotion included!


 Subgardens are fenced, they have a graphic floor (the primitive element reflected in the surface)


 elements, overlapping where they have made children. 


 Lessons could include a graphical bbackground: like a terrain, where the Kanji live. This is like a 2d proto and exploration of meaningful solutions for the 3d approach (waiting for the Ph.D)


 Preparing many avenues for community input is essential in this: keeping it open for a community approach. Compact lessons, stored in XML files. Then share those packages with different people. I won't pre-create any content, just the system open for input. Some of the dedicated students can look at the examples and start creating their own packages.



 maybe outputting movies based on a set of Kanji. 

 A timed func would focus on each Kanji at a time, to create images, stories and moods based on their meanings and read them aloud, store them in a quicktime file that can be streamed to the students.


 The perspective of the 'terrain' is a difficult question. Not a good idea to skew the Kanji in a perspective! ? Then, it should be based on a grid 

 > The terrain should be a hand-made graphic representation of the lesson structure, but emotional. Graphic collage, but still subtle.


  WordNet can be used for mapping different approaches.