As can be seen from recent design briefs, students aren't being asked to create a completely new invention in revolutionary way. You're usually being asked to modify or rethink a device that already exists so there is a wealth of information and pre-existing designs out there to get inspiration from.

Primary research deals with the observation and cataloguing of associated objects in the immediate environment or locality. Take this years project for instance; a rethink of handheld video games controllers. Primary research of this task would involve examing and noting the features and mechanisims of a videogame controller such as it's antropometrics (it's scale and positioning of features in relation to the human hand), material, layout, etc. Primary research has the great advantage of having an actual product placed in front of you allowing you the chance to measure dimensions, observation from multiple angles and (if you feel up to it), gives you the opportunity to disassemble the product in order to the mechanism that would need to be accomodated, the positions of ribs, etc.

Secondary research on the other hand uses other more indirect sources such as magazines, catalogues, exhibitions and the internet to produce images and information on a product as well as all its variants. This system of research could teach you more about the features and functions of the device and give you more variety in term of the available styles but at the same time there.

For types of research the best methods of cataloguing various design inspirations is through the use of photographs, copied images and sketches of the primary design features accompanied by a short written description.

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