Student Achievements - Diarmuid Farrell
'I knew I wanted to do product design. Anytime I had an interaction with NCAD, whether it was at the Higher Options or the portfolio sessions in the product design department, it felt like a place I wanted to be a part of. That decision to go with my gut and take a more non-traditional pathway is something I’m glad I did'.
Name: Diarmuid Farrell
Discipline: BA Interaction Design
Design Competition Awards:
- Project: ‘Woven Chats’
- Winner at iD x Artsthread Global design graduate show - Interaction/Game Design Category
- Winner of the Digital Transformations Digital Society Student Award 2020
What career path did you want to follow as a child?
I never had a specific career that I wanted to pursue. Like a lot of people who choose to go into design, I enjoyed playing with Lego and K’NEX as a kid. But no specific career drew me in, I always enjoyed problem-solving, using my intuition to solve problems in subjects like maths or design and communications graphics.
Why did you decide to study at the National College of Art & Design?
I knew I wanted to do product design. Anytime I had an interaction with NCAD, whether it was at the Higher Options or the portfolio sessions in the product design department, it felt like a place I wanted to be a part of. That decision to go with my gut and take a more non-traditional pathway is something I’m glad I did.
Tell us a bit about your award-winning design project?
My project, 'Woven Chats', looks at how we reflect in an age of digital ephemera. Storing, filing and archiving of information for future use is an integral part of the human experience. However, in our current digital landscape, this information has become ephemeral due to issues around ownership, rapid optimisation and quantity of data recorded.
'Woven Chats' is an exploration of this digital ephemera and how meaning can be extracted from this data. It is a platform that enables users to explore and attribute value to an abstracted version of their WhatsApp data, in the form of a digital and physical tapestry.
Each stitch in a tapestry represents a text message, highlighting key events and emotions using colour and form, allowing the user to create an object encoded with personal significance that reflects their relationships.
The project took three main formats: a digital prototype made in Figma, a physical tapestry made using my texts with my Mam, and a digital web application I coded up and which is currently live at www.wovenchats.ie
The purpose of making these distinct outputs was to explore the different conversations and ways of exploring one's data through design.
What is the one experience – during all the time you have invested in competition entries – that has informed you most in your career preparation and work to date?
I think the Studio+ experience was probably the most transformative experience for me as a designer. Having the full freedom to explore any pathway I wanted for a year after acquiring the technical skills and creative thinking of first and second year, really helped me to mature as a designer before coming into final year. For my Studio+ year, I wanted to make the most out of it choosing to do an Erasmus in Bauhaus Universität Weimar. I felt the freedom of choice given to me by NCAD allowed me to find myself as a designer and enabled me to make the most of my major project in my final year.
If you were chatting with current NCAD students today about entering design competitions, what is the one piece of advice you would offer?
The best piece of advice I received was to pick a topic for your final year major project that interests you, not because you think you’ll get a job from it or because a topic is trendy. You will be devoting large amounts of time to this one topic for an extended period, so choose something you will enjoy. But also, this is a rare opportunity for you to explore an area you are passionate about, while also having access to the facilities and environment of NCAD. Make the most of that chance. If you put the work and passion into your project it will shine through, and those in the industries that interest you will spot that.
Portfolio Links: www.diarmuids.com
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