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  • Writer's pictureSiiri

Design Studies – Second Year, First Period

So, here we go again. Another year and another first period at university is coming to an end which means I will share what I and my classmates did and learned this first period of our second year at uni. It's safe to say that the start looked a lot different from last year's first period when the pandemic was still looming in the unknown future and my biggest worry was getting used to living in my own first flat.



In the course "Art and design history" we learned about different periods in modern art from the 19th century to today. During the lectures we discoursed what was common for the period or for the style of art, how it was expressed, what were the core believes, where it was most commonly practised, who were the lead figures of the style or period etc. We also touched on western ideas of beauty and how art influenses design.

Three assignments during this course were...

Assignment 1:

Desing in literature – Produce an idea for a design book

What design books or literature are? How literature and books are changing? What kind of design books you would like to read?

My design book idea was the create an online magazine that introduces trends in a much more informative way liking them to history, research, current political climate, current happenings of the world etc. I wanted to create this idea because I feel like trend forecasters do so much research but don't really share it and it bothers me immensly. Therefore, I often feel that when you go on to learn what is going to be trendy or is trendy right now you often get a little confused as to why this is trendy right now because it's not explained very well.

Basically, I would love to see more infomation. I would like to see more than just few nice pictures and keywords. I would love to see the research and historical links but in a way that is easy to read and that's why I thought that the online magazine could be in a form of a timeline where you could click to different eras that are connected to the trend as well as happenings right now and new research. This would really make the trend more understanable and whole.

Assignment 2:

Visiting an exhibition – Visit and review an art exhibition

I visited my local art museum to see an exhibition on art in the 1980s. All of the pieces were from the museum's own collection and their styles varied from expression to abstrack art. Most of the art pieces were paintings although techniques used were not traditional.

Assingment 3:

Your own source of inspiration – Design a product using art as sources of inspiration.

I used 19th century industrial architecture as my source of inspiration since, at the time, I was really inspired by the bourgeois life of 19th century people and their beautiful glass and iron buildings which were the main focus of my inspiration.

What I loved most about industrial architecture in the 1800s was that it looked so delicate like lace or crochet yet grand and sublime with sky high roofs mixed with hard, even unglamorous industrial materials such as iron and glass.


I tried to design shoes that would be tall and dramatic like iron and glass buildings from the 19th century but also delicate and pretty like lace. Therefore, I drew a lot of boots with intricate surface structure, ribbons and arching heels.

The final result are these tall boots which I call "Iron Lace".

Iron Lace, drawing – Watercolors and marker



In this graphic design course we learned more about Adobe illustrator and photoshop as well as got familiar with a new digital tool inDesign which we used to create "Graphic Guides" for our own imaginary or existing brands. This was my favorite course in this period, by the way.

First we designed different logos on illustrator. The only requirement was that the logo had to have color in it but you could decide wheter that is for example in the symbol or text.

Here are some logo ideas I came up with while designing a new logo for Posh blog:

Logo ideas.
Illustrator – Logo ideas

After going through some of those ideas above this is the final result. As you can see there's three different parts on the logo: two texts parts and one symbol part. There's also a simplified version without the symbol and a compressed logo just in case I need it.

Here's the Graphic Guide for Posh by Siiri Pakarinen which is this blog in case you were wondering.

I apologize that this is only in finnish but I will translate all page titles for you:

The cover which says Graphic Guide – Posh by Siiri Pakarinen

Table of contents and Goal

(goal meaning the aimes and values of the brand and how the logo or visual look should reflect them).




Product material

Business card

Back cover



In Plastic Composition -course our job was to create a large art piece in space of your choosing using the theme "together" and then produce a miniature version of the art piece. This task was all about consepting, developing your ideas and testing materials.


My theme along with "together" was dance because dance is my favorite hobby and I find that it really brings different kind of people together to dance, produce or watch performances. Therefore, I did about three moodboards about dance which I used as a guide to define the look and style of my final work. Basically, there were some darker green and brown tones, gold and marble in my moodboars as well as 19th century athmosphere.


I started sketching by picking different fabrics from my boodboards and then trying to create a sense of movement for them. I also used 18th century dance guides as my inspiration for creating movement. At first, I was quite happy with the idea but very quickly I realised that I might have to come up with another plan since this was a bit hard to understand and didn't, in my mind, reflect togetherness very well.

So, in order to make things easier to understand I tried to look things a little differently. Basically, I thought that I could still use those dance guides as a base for my idea but do it with footprints which are more easily understandable to everyone. And with footprints came the idea of a dance floor and then I thought that maybe I could produce a mini dance hall in a smaller space such as in a corridor. This idea was more exciting to me since you could actually walk into the art piece and dance there following footsteps on the floor. I feel like this idea also reflected better togetherness as you could be a part of the art piece.

The idea – Dance hall in a corridor

An ordinary corridor decorated in 19th century dance hall style with huge mirrors and marbel floor which together with classical music playing on the background and a dim lighting creates a magical, romantic atmosphere.

Footprints on the floor makes sure you can imagine a pare dancing through the corridor or dance yourself through it by following the footsteps. However, it's up to you what happens with your arms and upper body which also ensures that the art piece is ever evolving and changing with people that dance through it. This was very important to me that the art piece wasn't something just so watch but to be in it and a part of it. I never wanted to create something just for the eyes since dance is also so much more than that.

The miniature

Now that I knew what I was going to do I had to build the miniature dance hall corridor. First, I started by coating walls with greenish blue paper and paper with tinfoil for mirrors.

After that I cut out mirror frames but were not happy with them so I desided to draw my prefered frames and laser them on paper which I then treated with paint and wooden pencils to create more of a dramatic effect.

Constructing the floor was first a bit problematic since I wanted a marbel effect but weren't sure how to go about it so I just had to try out something and hope for the best. Therefore, what I did first was gluing a white tissue paper on cardboard and let it dry. When the glue was dry I drew my tile lines and then painted half of them green. Lastly, I added the foorprints with acrylic paint. In the end, I think the tissue paper was a good touch and really added some interesting texture to the floor.

To finish of the miniature I joined the walls and the floor together and created human figures as size reference.

The final result

In my opinion the final result is fun but a bit childish. As I was taking these pictures I felt like I was playing with dolls which is not a bad thing but something to note on. I'm also not sure would anyone dare to dance through it if this was in a real corridor.



Designing lab was all about laser and getting to know some digital tools used in the production of footwear patterns which we're going to learn more about in the comming periods.

Here I have included some work I did using our laser machines which are in a way like cool printers that you can use on leather, wood and fabrics etc. What's more, laser works through illustrator so in this course I also learned some new illustrator skills.

Cardboard and wood

Cardboard and wood were nice and workable materials in laser and the outcome was more often than not lovely.

Printing new Posh -logo in laser.

Bookmarks on cardboard with laser.


Laser can look super cool and beautiful on leather but it all depends on the type of the leather and how you're able to adjust laser to the material. I found that leather was actually one of the hardest materials to laser because most leathers I used were a little too soft for the laser and I didn't manage to find right setting for them.

These leathers weren't the greatest when you lasering picture.

Acrylic plate

Acrylic plate worked a little bit better than leather but I didn't have much luck with the settings I chose for this piece either. The grid was too high which caused the plastic on top to melt into the acrylic plate and the laser didn't cut the piece of complitely as you can see from the hole that never became a hole. Basically, this is just a reminder to myself that I need to test the setting better before going in with full speed.

Acrylic plate



Because of the pandemic and lockdown in last spring we weren't able to produce the shoes we designed during our first year. Therefore, we had to wait to make them in autumn in the begining of our second year.

To be honest, I wasn't feeling it. I was done with this horrible collection and had no inspiration to do these shoes so I am not going to talk about them much. They're just ordinary mules with dark green leather, satin ribbons and clip-on earrings as decoration. The idea was that you could reuse old clip-on earrings as decoration on your shoes as well as use them on your ears so that your shoes and earrings will match. I actually liked this earring idea but the final designs were nothing to praise about. However, I am glad to have done these since I did learn a whole lot of things.

Originally, these shoes were suppose to be ultramarine blue with light blue and light pink ribbons but since I didn't have those materials on hand I had to made do what was in the cupboars at school.


If you're studing right now how your autumn has been so far?

Has there been any interesting assignments?


Thank you so much for reading!


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