on seeing the design process in action

I’m currently working on rendering different materials and colors for kicks while I mull over the comments I’ve gotten thus far.
Some important points I should touch on:

  1. weight and/or “bulky-ness” (could you stack 6 plates together to take from the cupboard to the table? can a little kid hold this at all?)
  2. materials -> directly relate to the weight of the pieces, and impact the ‘honesty’
  3. the cup has no handle; what is the consumer meant to do when they want to drink something hot? Is the cup insulated?? etc.
  4. color -> changed by the material choice, can communicate the words better or worse
  5. that whole “HONESTY” issue -> can be easily solved through material choice, and can be changed by more “honest” curves
  6. proportions -> some people are having SO many problems with the size of things

So, let’s talk it out.

  1. Yes. You’re all right. It looks freaking massive and heavy. But it’s all shelled out, and you can see that a little more clearly if you peek at the drawings and the sliced shells on the individual boards. So the plate and saucer have huge table-prints [footprints? the area they take up on a table?], but they aren’t solid.
  2. I wasn’t making a very informed design decision when I rendered my set for Wednesday’s pin-up; I was mostly excited to show the overall form, and now I can think more about what to do with the materials. I’m currently rendering some versions in plastic and glass; both of these options change the ‘honesty’ and the weight. Glass would let the user know what’s going on because you can see through it right away, without having to pick the pieces up – but it would probably be a little heavy still. Plastic would be cheap and light and also see-through, but hopefully not cheap looking. Plastic might help in the “floating” sense (the saucer ‘floats’).
  3. Originally, I left a handle off of my cup because I didn’t want to do a “traditional” tea-cup set [because, c’mon, this doesn’t have to be your Granny’s tea set – the assignment is simply ‘cup, saucer, and plate’ and those are all open to interpretation ((Sarah is doing an espresso cup and dessert plate! And it’s cool!))], but Collin brought up a good point – is that cup insulated? What if I want hot chocolate in it instead of sake? Why would a sake cup have a saucer? And I realized that if you put a hot beverage into that cup, would you get a steam burn trying to yank it out of the saucer? Because a cup and saucer set that burns you would be really freaking uncomfortable. Also known as “failure.”
  4. Lighter colors say “fresh” to me, too. I want this to be fresh in a light, crisp, large-windowed-apartment kind-of-way but I also think that if the form is well crafted, that any color applied to it should just yell “YO! I’M FRESH!”
  5. So my saucer isn’t very honest – he’s full of lies and secrets [i.e. he’s holding my cup and pretending like the cup isn’t as big as it is]. Whoops.!I think changing the materials will help this, though, and I can always contemplate redrawing some of my curves to achieve more “honest” relation from one piece to the next.
  6. My proportions are all related, they’re just unconventional. Either it’s fantastic that my overly large saucer is attracting so much attention because I did my job by making it quirky, or it’s just so out of whack that consumers would look at that on a shelf and be like “WHAT?”, and then walk by it on their way to Ikea and grab a ‘normal’ set. My words aren’t “comfortable, boring, normal” – they’re fresh and quirky! I define both fresh AND quirky as being different, unconventional, off-the-wall, new, modern, etc. (Did you bother reading my defintion page? It is there for a reason.) I wanted something simple and crisp, but interesting and different at the same time. I think it’s good to hear people have such concrete opinions about it one way or another, though. I like having things that are conversation pieces (anyone remember my curvilinear composition from sophomore year?).

Things I’m going to work on now:

  • materials via SolidWorks
  • play around with sizes a smidgen; re-think curves a little
  • re-draw the base of the plate; right now it would be pretty hard to get it off the table since there’s no place to put your fingers to lift it!
  • colors and graphics

Thanks y’all!
(ps. Isn’t it cool to take part in the design process? Your feedback helps me know what to tweak.)


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5 thoughts on “on seeing the design process in action

  1. Yvonne says:

    Well, I am laughing about a plate that you can’t get off the table… (shaped like a gold bar, perhaps?!). On the cup without the handle – when you are having a bento box, is the tea in a cup with a handle? When we ate in South Korea, do you remember the boiling water poured into the glass? Not even a cup! Just looked like a water glass. The handle is not an issue, in my opinion, hot or cold, just doesn’t matter if there is a handle, but you will need space between height of saucer and height of cup (glass?) to get a hold of it and still be able to lift it.

  2. Collin says:

    Almost immediately after I wrote my little critique the asian teacups often found in restaurants popped in my mind. Though my experience is less in in asia and more in chinatown (haha), the idea is the same. Underestimating ceramics ability to heat up and burn hands could be dangerous, but i’m sure something like that could be overcome with materials (the south koreans figured it out. lol) I am fascinated with clear hot beverage holders (who doesn’t want to see their coffee/tea being mixed up in the cup?) Yvonne makes a good point with with the height of the cup v saucer hole height. If the plastic were harder plastic you may be able to get away with it, but plastic=cheap in most cases.

  3. cabrita says:

    Thanks for your comment–it was reassuring after typing up all my post it note comments . 🙂

    Also, I think your decision to make the plate and saucer transparent is really helping to sell “honesty.” I was a little concerned that the apparent bulk of the saucer was deceiving when it was solid. The transparent material solves that issue. The other thing I’m concerned about with the wrap-around walls is that it would be difficult to clean, and maybe impossible to manufacture? I’d suggest making the top edge of the plate and saucer more relaxed and rounded. This would give the inside on the bottom a softer curve that would be easier to get into and clean, and I’m guessing it would probably make it cheaper to manufacture as well. It’s a little hard to describe in this tiny text box, so if you have questions about my comments, I can explain it to you in person tomorrow. Also, about graphical treatment, what if you made the cup more opaque or opalescent? That might look neat when it’s nested in the saucer. Just a thought, though…


  4. John says:

    I’m pretty impressed with what you’ve done with the traditional cup and saucer. If I saw this in the store I would think “what is that?”, pick it up and then decide I had to have it. However, I think the materials you make this out of are probably of greatest importance. If the cup has no handle, a well insulating material is absolutely necessary. The last thing I want when I drink my cup of coffee in the morning is for the cup to be too hot for me to even hold. I don’t think glass would be a well insulating material. It looks cool, but I think ceramic would be best. Maybe the cup could be made of ceramic, with the saucer made of a transparent material such as glass. I think that would help with honesty if you are to go with a cup with no handle, and help it to remain “fresh” looking. It’s definitely quirky, as a said before with the “what is that?” and picking it up off the shelf thing – which is pretty important in selling a product. So are the thoughts from a non-design student 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

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