Social Digital Hackathon

First week of university has started with Social Digital hackathon – all four years of Product design & Digital Interaction (grouped as Social Digital) joined their brains together to create.

Brief for this hackathon came from Tiger Print, UK based paper-design company supplying Marks & Spencer and others with great creations, like greeting cards, gift bags, calendars, diaries and others. The challenge was to come up with interesting take on one of these products (including christmas crackers), or to create an unexpected fusion of them, using modern technologies available to us at very generous DJCAD art college.

I was in team of twelve – four 1st years, four 2nd years, two 3rd years and two 4th years, me and Rhiannon Walker. Great opportunity to pass on some knowledge, try to moderate discussions and the progression of the team a little bit, without being a dictator, of course 🙂

We were following the Design Council’s Double Diamond design method, containing 4 phases.


Day 1 – Discover & Define

After some ice breaking, I proposed to assign ourselves roles, if we’re up to do something in particular. Then we went to the city (that’s what you do if it’s nice in Scotland), look on existing paper-based products in gift shops and play with those made by Tigerprint in M&S.

Day 2 & 3 – Develop

Second day, we talked a lot and started focusing on the element of surprise,  contained in well-crafted popup greeting card by The Art File company. We have brainstormed on bringing this idea into a calendar, in interesting way – which would bring the mood of each of four seasons to the viewer through a well-crafted paper popup scene, improved by lighting. We brought in the fifth season as christmas – so there can be a christmas theme, and year is easier to split.

Day 4 – Deliver

After lots of paper-craft related discussions and prototyping, I proposed printing & laser cutting of thick card as a way to produce fine looking calendar, and also good exercise to design for something that is reproducible. What I didn’t see is quite a lot of work that has to go into preparing assets for print & laser cutting (which also contains scoring the paper by lower laser power, to not fully cut it but allow it to just bend).

Running short on time towards the end, right after we managed to lasercut the calendar, there was about 10 minutes to add some more cuts, pop the paper parts out, make some finishing touches – and it was presentation time.

Final calendar prototype
Final calendar prototype

After a challenging prototype escort to the exhibition space, we talked about it in front of ~200 students, lecturers and Heather from Tigerprint.

This week was a great way to start the academic year, get to know fellow students and create something interesting. I’d like to thank you to the great team I was part of, Fraser Bruce, Polly Duplock and others for organising it, Ali Napier & Robert Jackson for support at the Digital Makerspace. Thanks!  Hope there’s going to be another one next year 🙂