The pre-thesis process started off with listing down personal interests and gathering thoughts to focus on a single topic for our thesis. Even though we were all given the same steps to follow and process was outlined, no doubt the outcome would be very different for each cohort member and I was excited to see what everyone would come up with. For me the process began with reflecting internally to understand what excited me and helped me arrive at a decision through the steps outlined below:
Step #1: Inspiration Cards
This step involved making a list of all topics that interested, inspired and excited me. It covered a wide range of topics right from Color Psychology to Numismatics to Poetry and Golden Ratio. I ended up with 30 cards and every card had a special meaning in my life and it was a tough call to shortlist the topics that interested me the most.
Step #2: Card Sorting
In this step, I grouped my various interests which very similar in some way or fell under a broad category of something. My 6 groups for the 30 cards included Colors, Concepts, Activities, Books & TV, Places and Fields of Interest. This grouping helped me focus on what type of topic I wanted to dive deeper into.
Step #3: Questions
This step involved choosing main interest groups and writing questions which dived into the three levels of interest. This exercise helped me understand why I was interested in a topic and how much was I willing to research or know more about my interest in it. For each topic on the purple card, I wrote 3 levels of questions on the aqua cards below and repeated this exercise for 21 interest cards that I had shortlisted upon.
Why? So many different symbols and shapes
Why? Such unique artifacts in different parts of the world
Why? Curious to know the story behind the creations
Why? Combines love for piano and colors
Why? Wonderful concept to map music
Why? Plays an interesting effect on the mind
Why? Amazing tool and idea
Why? Maps a color to every single word
Why? Colors bring life to everything
Color Emotions and Psychology
Why? To know how colors affect our lives
Why? To understand the true effect of colors
Why? Everyday actions are determined by colors
Why? Some people can’t see colors well
Why? Understand how the brain processes colors
Why? Create a mechanism to enable this
Why? Meaning of fear
Why? Sub-conscious mind at play
Why? Different people have different fears
Why? Compelled to do things a certain way
Why? The reason and thoughts behind it
Why? Brain functions which create this disorder
Why? Interesting patterns
Why? Love the play with geometry
Why? Interplay of shapes and colors and symbols
Why? Interplay of characters, words and colors
Why? Give a strong message in a social setting
Why? A creative way of expression
Why? Everyone should have equal access
Why? Inclusive design is good design
Why? Making a difference to people
Ink in Motion
Why? Feels like a world of dreams
Why? Beautiful and visually appealing
Why? Calms the mind with happiness
Why? Freedom and control
Why? To pursue my own dream
Why? To leave a mark in this world
Why? True balance of nature
Why? Applies in all aspects of life
Why? Social, philosophical and universal truth
Why? It’s wonderful to be among nature
Why? Natures soothes us and makes us feel alive
Why? Specific problems faced during hiking
Why? Love the rhyming sequence of words
Why? Unique way of storytelling
Why? One of a kind communication mechanism
Why? Connection between universe elements
Why? Personalities derived from zodiac signs
Why? Scientific way to prove the hypotheses
Why? Spread joy and positivity
Why? People look and feel good while smiling
Why? Psychological effect of thoughts on brain
Why? So many different symbols and shapes
Why? Unique artifacts in different parts of the world
Why? Curious about story behind the creations
Why? Mystical number appears everywhere
Why? Universe is completely in balance
Why? Applications and use of golden ratio
Why? Beautiful mesmerizing creatures
Why? Understanding human emotions
Why? Unknown connection between creatures
Saturated (Cooper Heweit)
Why? Applications of colors in creative ways
Why? Deep understanding of colors
Why? Effects and ways to use colors
After listing the various levels of questions for each of the above interests, I identified the 5 main interest groups out of all the topics and asked the one question for each interest that deeply excites me and motivates me to find out more about that particular interest topic. The results are as follows:
Phobias and OCD: What generates fear and compulsion in the mind for real?
Color Psychology: In what true way do colors effect our emotions and decisions?
Color Blindness: Is there an effective way to enable people with color blindness to overcome it?
Fractals and Graffiti: How does the interplay of color, form and pattern help in expression of art?
Numismatics: What is the secret behind the creation of various different types of coins?
Step #4: Initial Research
After shortlisting the 5 interest groups as shown above, I proceeded to dive deeper into each of the groups by listing 5 additional questions for each topic to understand the relevance of the topic and to what extent it interested it and compelled me to find answers. As part of the secondary research I also went through multiple sources online in the form of articles, blogs, websites, videos, newsletters, papers, digital tools and examples to understand how each of these topics have been explored by others and what kind of solutions already exist. The compiled results are summarized below:
Phobias and OCD
What generates fear and compulsion in the mind for real?
- Why does everyday fear different scenarios, objects and situations?
- What triggers the obsessive compulsive disorder in the mind?
- Why do we develop irrational phobias?
- What if our fears are an indication of who we really want to be?
- Is there a possibility that OCD can impair your cognition level?
In what true way do colors effect our emotions and decisions?
- What role do colors play in our lives?
- How are our decisions determined by the colors we see around us?
- In what way are our emotions controlled by colors?
- What if we lived in a world without any colors?
- Is there a connection between associating words with colors?
Is there an effective way to enable people with color blindness to overcome it?
- How do color blind people live a normal life?
- Why can’t everyone perceive colors the same way?
- How does the brain process colors?
- Is there a way to overcome color blindness and ensure full color vision?
- In what way does a color blind person experience emotions?
Fractals and Graffiti
How does the interplay of color, form and pattern help in expression of art?
- What is the process behind creating Graffiti and has it changed over time?
- What is significance of creating fractal patterns?
- How do geometry, color and form affect the fractal art pattern?
- What if the golden ratio is employed in the creation of fractals art patterns?
- Why are fractal patterns so soothing?
What is the secret behind the creation of various different types of coins?
- What is the art of numismatics and how did it come about?
- Why is the coin of every country unique and different?
- How is the imprint on a coin of a country decided upon?
- What is the process followed to create a new coin?
- Is there a way to look at a coin and determine its entire story?
Thus after completing all the steps in the above process, I realized I would want to focus on colors! I am deeply interested in a range of topics focused on colors from color psychology to color emotions, fractal color patterns and color blindness. I would want my thesis to dive deeper into how colors affect us and possibly find a solution to solve the color blindness issue as well. I am interested to see what the next steps would be to formulate an exact problem statement and begin the real journey!