Monthly Archives: January 2009

on building custom themes

Off-topic, but I’m totally interested in writing my own CSS themes for my various internetz – and WebDesignerWall has a really good how-to guide on building a custom theme.

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on grub spiced with paprika

I decided [as a designer! a firm design decision! hooray!] to create two separate brand concepts for the first step of this project because I didn’t want to combine the two ideas I had and muddle it into one complicated, hard-to-achieve goal. I even played around with different branding logos! Tough part now is to choose which one I want to do. I’m excited to get to work on this project; I’ve never done anything for children and I think that it would be an interesting departure from my usual “universal design, with dual-functionality focus” and/or pebbles. Something challenging and different sounds like a wonderful change of pace.
Not to mention this project makes me hungry!!

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on “appliances”

For tomorrow, we have to have a brand and three chosen appliances, along with a problem statement and specifics on target audiences, etc.
I’m having problems trying to figure out what “appliances” to do!
Because the assignment says “kitchen product system” as the title, and then the assignment for tomorrow says “choose three kitchen appliances” – and since an appliance is defined as something that is powered by electricity and/or gas, I don’t really know exactly what I’m confined to. For instance, a cheese grater is really helpful for making an even amount of cheese on nachos from a block of cheddah, but is that an “appliance”?

Appliances we listed in class include: coffeemakers, coffee grinders, espresso machine, food processor, blender, mixer [hand held/stand alone], toaster, toaster over, grill, juicer, fryer, steamer, cooker/crock-pot, waffle maker, crepe maker, popcorn popper, cotton candy machine, fondue fountain of chocolate (!), slushie machine (?), etc.

Brand names I looked up in order to figure out a cute one for my own: Aroma, Bunn, Chef Pepon, Cuisinart, delfino, Hamilton Beach, Kitchenaid, Presto, Rival, Sunbeam, Toastees, etc.

This project is a little daunting because we have to create a brand AND three whole products, but I’m really excited!!

on kitchen ware inspirations

((and precedents))
Cribcandy is a one website stop to check out a whole lot of neat household products at once. I’ve been garnering some inspiration and precedents from the interwebz because despite living alone off-campus, I don’t actually own a lot of kitchen appliances (or cook anything all that eccentric) [I do have a coffee maker, a toaster oven that I always burn things in, and a small George Foreman grill to go with my stove, microwave, dishwasher, and fridge-freezer combo). The whole point of this assignment, to me, anyway, is to define the way things are done in a kitchen – which is a wonderful opportunity for someone that doesn’t spend too much time there – right?!?!

1. “hot stones” that cook food [because I am obsessed with stones (and antlers, but those never cross over into my product design {yet})]
2. ‘RAD RAB’bit hand mixer – fun and cute!
3. a roll-up frying pan that can roll up or hang on the wall
4. ‘dishwasher wall mural’ [sort of similar to one of Krystal Persuad’s projects] – a cool idea for the interaction between “machine” and user – > making something boring into art
5. Animal House kitchen tools – > none of these are electric BUT they’re cute and fun and ergonomic [I have the toucan can opener]

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on past and present tense

Ok, I’ll admit it: I scammed on writing a blog entry about the review on Monday, as if that wasn’t crystal clear yet. Monday was a pretty awful day; I was really sick, barely holding it together, and pretty bummed out by the “reality check” talk that our professor and the reviewer gave us. I understood that it was necessary to get the truth out there and understand what it’s really like, but sometimes it feels like no one in this program really actually bothered to give us basic tools at the beginning of our education – but we, as students, are the ones that get ‘blamed’ for not trying to figure out our own design education. It’s not that I’m lazy, I just feel like someone should teach me something before they grill me on getting it wrong and then ask me to re-do it [a la the ‘storyboard’ situation sophomore year]. We had a pretty open discussion in class this morning to get any aggravations out of the way, and it really helped to hash it out a little bit. I’m worried that some people are still a little discouraged, and I don’t want that for anyone. It’s an uphill battle, and we’re all stuck in it. No one wants to quit, but it’s hard to keep fighting for something when it seems like some of the professors and advisers don’t seem very willing to help or communicate with each other. If we have a required class that we need to take, we shouldn’t be notified about it through an email a day into the new semester – we should know over break.
Regardless, I’m on the same page as Sarah when she says that coming to Georgia Tech out of state and that doing this major was a risk, and that she’s going to make the most of it.

The truth is that I should have figured out a better form earlier on, and gotten my head on straight, and then thought about important details – like materials and manufacturing. There are no excuses; I should have thought about all the details, not just half of them. Would a better course on SolidWorks have helped me spend less time on renderings? Yes, it would have. But would that have helped me with time management or form development? No. I’ve got to work smarter, not harder. I just can’t simply quit now; I think quitting now would be more disappointing in the long run. And honestly, I think if I got out of my head more and practiced sketching, that I wouldn’t be half as bad as I think I am.

On an unrelated-but-also-interesting-note, I’m starting to work on something that’s going to be huge with Jesse. We’re going to make an impact here at Tech, and we’re going to mix things up in the best sense possible. I just don’t want to ruin it until it’s ready; no reason to let the cat out of the bag to see that the cat’s kinda gross and bald.

Finally, to refocus on the tasks at hand – this second project, portfolio review, career fair, NYC trip (!!!) , and IDSA conference are all arriving soon.
For Friday I need to have an idea of the three kitchen appliances I want to create, a brand name, and a problem statement about my opportunity. A man that was around for the very beginning of Mr. Coffee talked to us today; it was amazing and I had no idea how gangster Mr. Coffee was. In 1972, Mr. Coffee came out as a replacement for bitter percolators, and by 1976 they were producing 6.5 million coffee makers!

Also, I wish I knew InDesign better because I want to work on a portfolio and I’ve HEARD that it’s “omfg, soooo much better than Illustrator” BUT I don’t know how to use it for what it’s good for.

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on personal projects and architects

Jesse and I decided to work on personal projects tonight since we don’t have a new studio assignment yet, and to improve our designer skills. Tonight I learned that architect kids come out of the woodwork around midnight, because I went back up to the laser cutter on the third floor to print another trial version of a stencil I’m working on, and there were people all over hogging up the stuff for “real projects”.
We did have a really good time wheeling all the way from the 104 computer lab up to the 3rd floor, though. No wonder architects think all we do is have fun…
Anyway, Monday’s review was a real big downer for everyone – people that got to present, and especially the people that didn’t.
Instead of focusing on how crappy the situation is, I’m going to try harder – or maybe just work smarter?
Starting with this next project, I’m going to begin with more tangible, specific goals, instead of waiting for inspiration to magically fall out of the sky and make something all unicorns-and-rainbows.

on ‘the review’

The class presented our dinnerware sets today, and on Wednesday we’re starting project two – a family of kitchenware appliances.


just fyi.

on other details, like graphics

As far as graphic treatments go, I already have three ideas.
1. color theme of yellow cup, clear/white saucer, green plate = “lotus blossom” (maybe too literal?!)
2. creating a graphic that looks one way when the set is aligned mismatched, and lines up when they go together (like puzzle pieces, ok?)
3. an all over pattern of fresh fun!

A few inspirations are as follows:

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on getting it right, almost too late

I sort of ‘sketched out’ a new dish last night. I’m thinking of  editing the saucer so that it takes up the same amount of space as the other one, but it’s more open on the inside and more delicate [more similar to the ‘blossom’ idea]. I sketched out some tweaks last night for the other pieces, too, and it’s a much more refined and concise version of the one I presented for Wednesday.
I’m working to make the curves more similar, and more obviously related through proportional ratios so that when you look at them, you know they go together.
The cup won’t have that indent at the top anymore; it will fit better with the other two pieces.
So much to do 😦

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