Research for Design — Part 4
To continue our progress from last week, this week we focused on creating different designs of a lipstick friendly face mask based on our previous research findings and feedback from stakeholders.
We decided to work on 20 different renderings of the face mask, 10 for each. When we finished our sketches, we reached out to a total 12 people and invited them to participate in the following process. We shared our designs with the participants and asked them to choose the top five designs they liked out of the twenty designs and to provide reasons why they chose them.
We contacted our participants individually over the weekend.
Before I talked to people, I also prepared a brief instruction guide to assist their thinking and decision making processes.
The conditions and questions in the instruction are as shown below:
Then I shared the 20 renderings.
During my interactions with my participants, I have got some interesting feedback. Here are the responses I collected:
- The reason I choose it is because I am looking for convenience and comfort and they fill those need.
- I also want it transparent in case I need to communicate with someone who may need to communicate through lip reading. For example, disabled/deaf people.
- I like how №1 has no ear loops because sometimes it can irritate the ears.
- №2 is very simple, asks as a face shield. Protected from virus and people can see my face clearly.
- I think №6 is very unique and different. It definitely adds something to the mask and it can be made to match outfits, etc.
- As a fashion statement, I think №7 mask can change the industry. It’s very defined and original. Since the mask goes around your face, it won’t touch face which can mess up your makeup.
- I like the concept of №8, but not sure if it’s effective. Does it go on face or you wear it on body?
- But I think overall the best, most efficient mask would just be a plain mask. Fashion statement or not, some of them won’t be as effective I think.
- I always go for the simple, comfortable but chic look! The ones I choose are all multifunctional, simple-designed, and sustainable. I am a huge fan of sustainable materials. The reason I did not choose the more “fashionable” ones is because as a lipstick lover, I don’t want my mask to overpower the aesthetic of the lipsticks. It’s like choose sunglasses, you want something that’s multifunctional, something that adds to the look, to complete the look, but not the point of focus you know…
- The minimalist style is pretty trendy now, I also like something that “looks” minimalist lols.
- The face chain one, because chains have been a fashion element recently so I can imagine that would look good.
- The bubbly and helmet ones for the same reason, they look cute but I’m not sure what material might be good for that design. Also idk if it would get misty when put into practical use
- The scarf mask one I think it would function pretty well for the cold weather!
- The sun blocking shield, will definitely save my sunscreen haha.
It was a very learning process just by reading people’s feedback. Their responses really showed me what consumers were looking for in the face mask market and what they expected to be benefited from those potential designs in the future. According to my participants’ comments, I concluded the several primary and mutual features that they were all seeking for. Transparency seemed to be the most popular, and following were comfort, convenience, practicality, simplicity/minimalism, creativity, multi-functionality, sustainability, and fashion.
One of my participants noted that even if face covering did become an aesthetic practice or fashion statement when the pandemic was over, as a lipstick lover, she would still go for a more minimalistic design since she didn’t want the mask to overpower her lipstick. The emphasis on lipstick, to her, was more important. Another insightful thought that I received from another participant was his consideration for disabled people. He mentioned that a transparent mask with other innovative features would be helpful with interpersonal communication. For instance, during the pandemic, non-transparent face mask has more or less caused deaf people inconvenience since they rely on lip reading in their daily communications. The promotion of the usage of transparent mask in the public, in this case, will allow them to communicate more efficiently. As my participant further added, “It’s not just about fashion, it’s about inclusivity.”
The General Analysis
We put our participants responses together and highlighted the repeated face mask choices with different colors. As we can see from the image above, transparent masks (of various designs) get 9 votes and if we include the bubbly/helmet shield design in the transparent category, it will be 17 votes in total. The stick on face/cheek mask acquires 9 votes, ranking the second most popular design. The 3 in 1 (nose filters, mouth covering, and ear buds) mask also attracts people’s interests and receives 6 votes. It can be considered as the high tech category; if it is combined with the votes for the future tech and filter mask, there will be 12 votes altogether. Besides these, the hat mask, the aesthetic mask, and the face chain mask also obtain some popularity. In a nutshell, participants’ interests primarily land in three main qualities: transparency, high tech, convenience. Aesthetics and fashion are something that they will consider later when their most wanted requirements are fulfilled.
Based on the feedback, we will combine 5 qualities that are valued the most and interpret them throughout our next design process. We will create two different prototypes and maybe later promote their ideas in the form of a campaign or an advertisements. While we research for materials that we could use in the actual production of the face mask, we will also create a narrative that embodies our final presentation.
A fake face mask advertisement or campaign is likely the direction that we will go for to present our product design. Recently, I have been looking into lipstick ads in the U.S history a lot for my thesis and have developed great interest in vintage beauty ads and contemporary beauty campaigns. I realized that advertisers in particularly the beauty industry are people who know extremely well how to manipulate consumer psychology through visuals and contexts. They are good at relating the ads to people’s real life experiences and so, bring up emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, empathy, etc.
We will be working on what kind of emotions that we want to embed in our ads this week, and in the meantime, I collected some ad design ideas that I found interesting. I chose these because I thought the visuals were arranged and the background stories were told in such intriguing ways, even though the advertised objects below were not all related to face mask.
What if the mask is actually put into use one day? At that point, things we have to consider are not just practicality, effectiveness, and creativity of the our designs, but most importantly what could be the materials that fulfill our expectations. For example, just as the simple yet thought-provoking questions the class asked our project during last week’s playtest, “How to make the mask stay on the face? What kind of material can be used as a means to create a non-traditional form of mask?” Additionally, inclusivity will be a meaningful theme to focus on as well.