The ‘double diamond’ design cycle:

When working on a design, it is sometimes tempting to run ahead with an idea. The problem with this, is the idea never gets fully thought out and developed. By following the double diamond format, I can remember to stay within a certain stage of the process. For example, at the early stages of discover and define, this is about collecting together ideas and following those paths of research that I find interesting.

In this week’s lecture, we were in smaller groups and had the chance to discuss our in initial ideas. My initial idea was about reading, as I thought our map needed to be based on data. As we brainstormed this, I found that there was not a lot to explore here, other than creating a graph. I then considered my second idea, which was about places I have lived. I discovered this was a broader topic because it could be approached creatively. The focus could be on the experience of the journeys I have taken from place to place. I realised that not all journeys are the same in essence. We remember journeys through the landmarks or monuments we pass on the way.

The brainstorm from this session.


From The Tate website:

Psychogeography describes the effect of a geographical location on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.

How do different places make us feel and behave? The term psychogeography was invented by the Marxist theorist Guy Debord in 1955 in order to explore this. Inspired by the French nineteenth century poet and writer Charles Baudelaire’s concept of the flâneur – an urban wanderer – Debord suggested playful and inventive ways of navigating the urban environment in order to examine its architecture and spaces.

Guy Debord – The Naked City

The Naked City was initially meant to be exhibited alongside four other psychogeographical maps of Paris in the Taptoe Gallery in Brussels in 1957. In evoking the first ‘metagraphs’ (métagraphies) produced by Debord a few years earlier, this map is the result of appropriation, a seminal “propaganda method” used by the Lettrists and then the Situationnists” based on fragments cut out maps in a Guide Taride of Paris, the map borrows its title from the eponymous film made by Jules Dassin in 1948, itself titled in reference to the book by the photographer Weegee devoted to the streets of New York in 1945. Published in 1957 with the Psychogeographical Guide of Paris. 

Guy Debord, Michèle Bernstein, and Asger Jorn, Paris, 1958. image from Situationists and the dérive – The Urban Wanderer (

I watched the video The Theory of A Derive — Guy Debord – YouTube by Cascadia Network.

In the video, they made the following points:

  • Older cities are more suited to derive in e.g. Paris where Debord was, compared to newer cities in America.
  • In America, people often live outside the cities and need to commute in for work. This is an hour or 2 out of your day that you are not paid for. It’s a journey you are forced to take because of the city’s infrastructure and the fact that houses are build away from the cities (urban sprawl) These journeys give you tunnel vision about a place because you are taking the same route everyday (the fastest, the most direct.)
  • For the first time, we are more separated from our surroundings than we are connected to them. Separated by purposeful transportation: rise in cars and decline in public transit systems . people are now travelling with purpose, they are travelling to a place and back from a place and disregard the journey. This disconnection socialises us to believe the natural world isn’t as important. If people are to care more about environmental issues, then they need to be in touch with their surroundings.
  • humans respond more favourably to natural curving spaces and negatively to straight lines and sharp contours. We are drawn to shapes and colours found in the natural world, which provide a sense of privacy and security.
  • A derive = you have to go out with the intent of doing a derive. (We recognize our psychogeography to our environment and we want to do the opposite of it.) A social experience. Walking aimlessly is a component of a derive.
  • Replenishing yourself from the capitalist structures, similar to when artists spend time away from society in the woods.
  • If you walk about aimlessly and you don’t think about how your environment is affecting you, you are still being guided, you are still subconsciously being driven to a place by the design of the environment that surrounds you because it inherently wants to take you on a cycle of work, home and then maybe a bit of leisure.
  • If you tracked the average person’s weekly movements, you would see a triangle shape on a map: home, school or work and something else e.g. piano lessons.

Psychogeography: Walking through strategy, nature and narrative James D Sidaway

Iain Sinclair

‘Interviewed in 2012, Sinclair described his work: to try, linguistically, to create maps: my purpose, my point, has always been to create a map of somewhere by which I would know not only myself but a landscape and a place. When I call it a ‘map’, it is a very generalized form of a scrapbook or a cabinet of curiosities that includes written texts and a lot of photographs… It’s not a sense of a map that wants to sell something or to present a particular agenda of any kind; it’s a series of structures that don’t really take on any other form of description. (Cooper and Roberts, 2012: 85)

Elsewhere, Sinclair (2015:14) has noted that his own: preferred nature studies were abandoned mine works, landfill quarries, feeder pipes, slag heaps, rust-red streams, overgrown railway embankments and not the approved catalogue of rabbits, hawks, herons, butterflies, beetles, spiders, mallow, rock spurrey and gentian.

Mabey and Sinclair, however, are particularly mindful of language – struggling to find the words and arrange them in ways that summon place. On reading Sinclair, Alex Murray (2007: 59) declares: ‘the narrative starts everywhere because sensory experience starts everywhere … every piece of information has a place, every fragment can, and indeed must have some significance’. For Mabey (2010: 117, 119): [‘urban wastelands’ and ‘fringes’] had been a revelation, a testament to the tenacity of living things. I’d hike along derelict canals, watch sandpipers bobbing on floating car tyres, find scraps of medieval hedge caught the between the mobilehome parks [ … ] the language we use about these places does us no favours. ‘Brownfield’ suggests deadness and sterility, the precise opposite of the riotous growth that characterises them.

Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts

Their Edgelands: Journeys in England’s True Wilderness wants ‘to break out of the duality of rural and urban landscape writing, to explore these unobserved parts of our shared landscape as places of possibility, mystery, beauty’. Adopting the term edgelands, developed by Marion Shoard (2000) to refer to landscapes between town and country (see too Kabo, 2015), 28 short chapters follow, with one-word titles: ‘Cars’, ‘Paths’, ‘Dens’, ‘Containers’, ‘Landfill’, ‘Water’, ‘Sewage’, ‘Wire’, ‘Gardens’, ‘Lofts’, ‘Canals’, ‘Bridges’, ‘Masts’, ‘Wasteland’, ‘Ruins’, ‘Woodlands’, ‘Venues’, ‘Mines’, ‘Power’, ‘Pallets’, ‘Hotels’, ‘Retail’, ‘Business’, ‘Ranges’, ‘Lights’, ‘Airports’, ‘Weather’, ‘Piers’.

Farley and Roberts (2011: 11) are dismissive of nature writers who set out in search only of solitude and wilderness, noting that, like cities, urban fringes and ‘remote’ places all ‘have our political, economic and social history written all over them’. Farley and Roberts (2011: 9) are also wary of psychogeography: At other times – as in the work of some so-called psychogeographers – they are merely a backdrop for bleak observations on the mess we humans have made of our lives, landscapes, politics and each other. In our view, both these ‘schools’ run the same risk – using the edgelands as a short cut to misanthropy.’

Ennui-sur-Blasé metro map by Dispatch’s design team

I found this image in the journal Creative Review (October/November5 2021 Issue). I was drawn to this map as it reminded me of the map we made in last week’s group project. In this map, we can choose to follow a different journey with our eyes and the colours help us differentiate the separate journeys.

Susan Hiller

From the book Susan Hiller edited by Ann Galagher:

In The J.Street Project, Hiller’s assiduous charting of every street sign in  Germany bearing the prefix Juden (Jew) expands the referent of each of these markers from a local geography to the more encompassing territory of history. The 303 signs, dispersed throughout Germany on city streets, pathways, lanes and country roads, bespoke, to uncanny effect, the very absence of what they announce. The work sharply focuses the dissonance between these everyday un remarked signs and the emotion and memories embedded within the genocidal history they at once reiterate and occlude.

The J.Street Project comprises an index of 303 photographs of the signs, presented in a monumental grid; a large scale outline map of Germany pinpointing each of these sites, shown with a listing of the resonant location names (the Juden-alleys, walkways, avenues, roads, groves, ways);  a 67-minute film situating each sign amid the movement of daily life in settings from urban and suburban to countryside and village; and a 644-page full-colour book presenting and identifying each of the 303 street signs. (Renee Baert, 2006)

Mapping & Diagramming

Making Sense

Maps and diagrams are not pictures but are appreciated aesthetically. Maps and diagrams ‘make’ sense. Making sense means producing sensibility. They are devices that enable us to act. We can map dreams, ideas, and thoughts. Maps are closed systems. They are representative. Maps write a place onto our consciousness. We cannot conceive of the ‘world’ without the use of maps.

Contextual Research

Kim Dingle

The U.S., Drawn from Memory – Big Think

This work is about someone’s understanding of the country they live in. Kim Dingle asked American participants to draw USA from memory. The drawings were on tracing paper so the artist could trace them onto a panel and paint them with oil paints.

I really liked this work. I felt inspired to approach today’s group project in a similar way where each person’s perspective is represented in the mapping process.

Adam suggested plotting a journey from memory and overlaying it with the real map.

Maps of Canada drawn from memory by American citizens
Oil on Canvas, 1990

These maps of Canada are less accurate than the maps of USA because the students were drawing another country.

Kim Dingle | “Maps”

Guy Debord

The way somewhere is mapped makes you see a place differently.

Memoires is a book published in 1959. It was made in collaboration between 2 Situationist artists: Guy Debord and Asger Jorn. The book cover was made with sandpaper, so that when it is placed on a shelf, it destroys the books on either side.

I like the position of elements within the pages, for example the rotation of the text and images. This gives the work energy, helped by the splashes of colour. In this page, we see sections of maps and images of places. I like the combinations of these perspectives. They add to a sense of place.

both image from:
The lines of text act as directional lines, connecting one element to another.

Susan Hiller

Susan Hiller was an American conceptual artist. I was drawn to 2 of her artworks in particular. Monument is an art installation containing 41 photos of memorial plaques that the artist came across in one location in London. The memorials are for civilians who died from acts of heroism. The fact that she has enlarged the images could say that she is drawing focus to the importance of these people so they are not forgotten.

Hiller has arranged the photos into an diamond formation and placed a park bench in front of them where the viewer listens to a soundtrack of the artist speaking about heroism and death. I see the diamond shape as a cross which symbolises death in itself.

Monument 1980-1 Susan Hiller born 1940 Purchased 1994

“Dedicated to the Unknown Artists 1972–6 consists of fourteen panels containing over three hundred original postcards depicting waves crashing onto shores around Britain. A large map annotated with each of the locations featured in the postcards is included in the first panel. The remaining panels have been subjected to what the artist has described as her ‘methodical-methodological approach’ (quoted in ‘Second Sight’ 2007, accessed 14 June 2018) and are organised into grids of postcards and tabulated details such as location, caption, legend, in vertical or horizontal format.”

Daniel Masterman

University of Lincoln, Third Year Design Project. May 2012

“The proposed scheme is centred around creating new and exciting routes for people to travel along, whether it be through walking or cycling. The introduction of a bridge means this flow of movement is more continuous and links in with the Robin Hood Chase; which is the most commonly travelled route in St Anns. The buildings themselves offer bicycles that can be rented and used for travelling into the city, as well as workshop spaces where local people can drop in and learn how to repair common issues such as puntures.”

Guillermo Kuitca

Guillermo Kuitca is a contemporary Argentine artist best known for his paintings of geographical maps and architectural plans. Although Kuitca’s works are not overtly political, their theatrical nature seems to reference themes of loss and migration.”

David Hockney

Drawing with the camera. It is possible to utilise the camera in an interesting way to draw maps. David Hockney uses the camera is a tool, a medium. The accidental grid form is uncannily diagrammatic.

Group work

We were given until 3pm to produce a map, as a group of 4. Faced with the question: ‘How could you produce a map?’ Each of us was given a different medium that could be interchanged depending on our preference. The categories were: Line drawing, colour, words, photography.

Walking around campus, we had the task of mapping the area. This could mean capturing the details (the small) or the big areas you would find on a traditional map. Playing with scale. I really like this idea of focusing on the details and showing their importance in our surroundings/ environment. We were asked to think big and to think weird. We did this by drawing onto an A2 piece of paper and approaching the map with looseness. Our lecturer Adam made a grid template on illustrator that we had the choice of using or rejecting.

We had the option of merging the medium, for example:  words with photography or colour and photography. Our first ideas were to make line drawings of campus from memory. We thought of layering these with the actual map of the campus. Photographing words and colours were a way of capturing the smaller details around us. We thought about combining the words and colours together and pairing them up like with the museum of the ordinary framing task in module 003.

We each drew our interpretations of the campus from memory. We used a different colour marker for each group member. This meant that the viewer could differentiate the separate maps and follow one of their choice. The basis of this idea came from the United Shapes of America project by Kim Dingle, where people were asked to draw a map outline of their country from memory. People’s interpretations were all different but my map made sense to me because it came from my own perspective.

I photographed the drawings and printed the page at A3 size. This meant that there was space around the image to paste the photographs. We decided on having a few larger images and most of them smaller. The larger images stood out and would be more helpful to a viewer, as a map because the photos were of larger areas and paths around campus, compared to the smaller details that would not help you find your way.

Placing the images around the outside of the line drawings, served as a visual representation of each area of the campus. The use of arrows suggests to the viewer where they can find the photographed locations on campus.

I think maybe we tried to do too much in one place. My understanding of the task was that we needed to include all the mediums in one map. I think this is why the map looked busy.

Our feedback from Adam was that he would have preferred us to use a digital approach. He also wanted us to be bolder in our design decisions. The example he gave was Stephen Willats work, where he presents photographs with connecting lines to represent relationships between the images. His work is readable as a map and yet it looks nothing like a traditional map.

After the workshop, I placed a selection of the photos I had taken into an illustrator document. I re-arranged them into an images that ‘made sense’. Both images explain the journey from Headington Hill Hall on campus, to the Richard Hamilton Building.

This map starts with the starting destination at the top of the page. The instruction is then to turn left then stop. The bikes show where you will arrive.

The text at the top tells the viewer where to start. The lines leads the viewer down the page while also illustrating the next object you would need to find on the journey to know you are heading in the right direction.

The third image shows wet footsteps on the floor. They ‘walk’ to the left and the fourth image. This is a photo I took of a faded arrow painted onto the car park tarmac. The final photo was taken by my classmate and shows the destination to reach using this map.

We were introduced to the brief for the rest of the semester.

  • Produce a map
  • Think about conventional uses of maps and diagrams then think about how you can be innovative.
  • Think about how forensic architecture does it
  • Plan before you start. Know when to stop
  • Designate time to work on it around your other commitments e.g. do 3 hours of experimentation in the studio on Thursdays. Then move onto the next stage of the plan.
  • Brainstorm
  • Then define what is more interesting e.g. screenprinting or using photography etc
  • Develop multiple formal elaborations.
  • Then deliver
  • Document all in the process book– keep your progression contained within these spreads
  • Mindmapping– free association, there are no bad ideas. Keep this mind map as it is visually already a map.
  • Make the map large. Could do the bookbinding maps.
  • Most important that you try stuff out and research first to show it is informing your work