Monthly Archives: January 2009

on how there is always more to think about

I was a smidgen skeptical about the “mini-workshops” we had in class today; not because I’m not interested in the topics, but because I didn’t think there was enough time for each teacher to elaborate enough on the subjects (how to present, typography, and page layout skills/graphic design). I did, however, find the workshops pretty refreshing, and reminded me of important points I need to focus on and learn more about.

Things for me to remember about presenting:
Give a well focused and concise introduction. Having a solid introduction would definitely calm my nerves, and help me get my points across more concisely in the presence of overwhelming reviewers.
Practice. Duh. I should practice more!
– Never apologize. I think I’ve taken note of this before, but it’s always helpful to remember that what you don’t tell reviewers, they don’t know. It’s all about what you end up showing during your presentation – they DON’T KNOW that it was supposed to be a different color, that there’s a finger print on [blank] spot, etc.

Things for me to remember about page layout/grids/graphic design:
Be complete. Be complete. Don’t leave anything undecided. Make informed decisions about where everything goes, no matter what. [This goes for everything, not just boards.]
You can’t NOT put a grid in your work. You can put a crappy, arbitrary, absent-minded, unhelpful, hard to read grid on something “without thinking about it”, but you’ve set it up somehow.
Lifetime study – everything we’re learning is a “lifetime skill”; it takes a long freaking time to know how to just throw out a grid or throw down the right whatever for your project with ease
DON’T MiX PropORtiONS! It’s strange, and it makes people uncomfortable. (No wonder I always especially hated people that wrote in strange upper-and-lower-case letters!)
Also from Sam Harris, that presented the “page layout” portion:
– What makes it a family? What makes everything link? Is it one thing? Many things? You decide! You’re the designer!
[color consistent throughout, material, wall thickness, curves, proportions – are they all the same? how do they relate? how consistent are they??]

Things for me to remember/consider about typography:
Learn the terms. They’re good to know – especially when you want to tweak “that space between the a and the capitol O in that one place” in a program and you don’t know what it’s called!
Use font appropriately. This is a given, but always good to remember. Do you really want a cursive font for your warning label, so that it’s more difficult for people to read? No.

And as of progress this weekend for the review on Monday, my schedule goes as follows:
Do some more sketches and renderings/3d models tonight [Yes, I am in studio at 1am on a Friday listening to frat kids have a good time.]
Lathe tomorrow after I have the ‘final’ rendering dimensions figured out
Paint/sand/spackle/repeat
Boards [I’m planning on doing a “time line” to show my process]

Advertisements

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.)

new-set-bigger

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

on my dinnerware inspiration

PS: My final direction is inspired by a lotus blossom + lily pad; it probably would have helped to mention this sooner, but I thought the form could read on it’s own.

on how my saucer is a little “dishonest”

I’ve already noticed that the target word “honest” isn’t really working out EXACTLY the way I wanted it to. If you look at my definition page, I’m defining honest as something that is secure, good, genuine, stable, etc. – not necessarily “oh, this is so truthful and open and straightforward”. I’m interpreting ‘honesty’ through shapes and form – simple lines and clear proportions to each other from the cup to saucer to plate.
But since my definition seems to deviate from what everyone immediately thinks of when they first see the word honest, I’m going to toy around with materials for my saucer. What if the saucer was a frosted glass? Then you could see what was inside it; it would be honest AND open because it isn’t hiding anything at all, and the cup is still neatly nestled inside.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

on how I need a new alarm clock + look at what I made!

I did one of those things that no design student should ever really do… sleep through the important part of a review 😦
If only magic and/or mind-reading were real, perhaps someone could’ve put my finished boards up for me instead of just calling to see if I was ok (and for future reference I am silly and turn my phone off when I go to bed – but this example might force me to finally change my habit).
At least it was reassuring to hear so many people concerned about my well-being, and it was nice for some pretty good designers to ask to see my work after class anyway [!]

I’m putting up a majority of the work I’ve done since the beginning of this project, beginning with my super cute arts&crafts mood board and ending with my current 3D computer models via SolidWorks. Any and all criticism is HIGHLY encouraged! Really. Please.

Jackson already mentioned the following to me:
– pick-up-ability of the plate? it looks chunky and hard to hold in your hand
– define your target words [I did; see above]
– it doesn’t seem honest, more secretive and ‘hiding’
– the size reversal of having the cup small and the saucer bigger is quirky

And I need to add context, both in terms of hands & lips and other tableware, like silverware.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

two weeks down, one week (or so) to go!

I feel much better today after talking to David about my current (and final since it’s due SO soon) direction. I think I just needed some time to re-fresh and remember how to actually design things with more informed decisions, instead of just throwing things together without thinking. But honestly, I think I’ve always had a slight problem with keeping myself in a ‘designer’ mindset when I start projects. I’m not usually good at coming up with a set plan at the beginning of a project. I remember last year when we were given the ‘seating device’ assignment, Jes started almost the first day with concepts ONLY related to being cut out of one circle, focusing on multi-person seating. I started out drawing 50 different random things I saw around me like the bathroom lock, origami, trash – mostly in profile or top view because I just don’t seem able to think in 3D very quickly…

For the remainder of projects I work on in school, I want to try and focus down on one good ‘theme’ or ‘rule’ – like “what can i make out of a perfect circle?” – at the beginning of a project. In the end, I want my projects to come across stronger and more fully developed when I present them. Less “I couldn’t really find a direction until five days before the first pin-up, but I did really good work in those five days!”, and more “I started with this [insert cool idea of a start off point, like only using nouns instead of adjectives for your target words!] and went from a to b to c to d and ended with e with ease,” would be nice in my design life.
Another thing I’m going to try doing more often is giving myself more strict time limits on the things that I’m doing. An hour is quite a decently long amount of time, and if I don’t accomplish one important thing every hour – it seems like a waste. Whenever David gives us ‘real-life’ challenges in class, i.e. GO MAKE A POSTER IN 30 MINUTES OR YOU’RE FIRED, we seem to get a lot accomplished but whenever I’m on my own ‘just trying to sketch some concepts’ the blank paper and the seemingly endless amount of time messes with me.

The sketch models I lathed this week are serving as a really good starting point for the concept I’ve got now, drawing inspiration from a lotus (water lily) and a lily pad. Pink foam modeling isn’t really accurate enough for me (or just not very helpful with this particular project); maybe part of it is that I’m too impatient and need more practice using the wire cutter slowly. I think the proportions of my current models are dead on in size, but David mentioned somehow shelling the inside so that the overall weight and bulk would be less overwhelming and more ‘fresh’. I’m going to be doing a lot of 3D computer modeling and sketching this weekend to work out the super important details. We’re doing a silent pin-up on Wednesday to show all the process we’ve done, and then we’re doing “graphic treatments” for Friday I think? Soon, anyway.
Anyway, I’m relieved and excited to keep working on this now!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

on how I am finally remembering to design like a design student

and not like someone making a crap arts and crafts project like they’re in junior high – thank goodness.
I think I’m finally starting with concepts today that I should have had on Monday. Geeze! Better late than never, though, right?
I’m glad I’ve switched to real sketch modeling, since pink foam wasn’t really working for me.

More later. I promise. I have to go to bed to get up early to keep modeling.

on how a plate can be a platform

“What do you want, brick?” Louis Khan

What does a plate want to be? A cup? A saucer?
What do they need to do vs. want to do vs. COULD POSSIBLY DO?

What makes it a plate – is it the flat surface for holding food, the lip that holds things like mashed potatoes in, the space to set your silverware on in a restaurant to show the server that you are, indeed, done with your dinner?
And if it has to have certain things, like parts inside machines that drive the ID on the outside ((thanks, Leffler)), then what are those things, and how can I make them my own??

[create something new]


(pictures via Design Public)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

on how I could conceptualize more efficiently

Is it better to ignore ideas that you think are tacky or over-done before you even develop them because then you’ll think about even more interesting things?
Or should you just do the tacky, over-done, boring crap first to get it out of the way/as your starting point?
I think I too often dismiss ideas just because I think they’re tacky or that they’ve been done before, instead of putting them on paper and going from there.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Five to Two to One

My concepts are sort of weak as of late; I’m not putting enough process into the decisions I’m making (i.e. why on earth does the cup have that divot in it?), nor am I really thinking too hard about details (why is there a hole in it? won’t stuff simply fall out of it?) – which is really important, since all products are defined by their specific details. For whatever reason, I’ve decided to meld my words into some Asian themed set. I need to go back to the start and re-focus on what my words mean, draw upon the mood board I made for inspiration, look at what I’ve made so far, and then sketch something better.
None of my sets are really sending off the “family” vibe, hence I’m missing the whole point of the assignment.

fresh: beginning, brand-new, brisk, contemporary, crisp, crude, current, different, energizing, gleaming, glistening, green, hot, hot off the press, invigorating, latest, modern, modernistic, natural, newfangled, novel, now, original, radical, raw, recent, refreshing, sparkling, state-of-the-art, unconventional, unprocessed, unseasoned, untouched, unusual, warm

quirky: bizarre, far out, freakish, freaky, idiosyncratic, in left field, odd, off-the-wall, out of the ordinary, peculiar, strange, unconventional, unorthodox, unusual, wacky

honest: authentic, conscientious, decent, direct, equitable, ethical, fair, forthright, frank, genuine, honorable, impartial, ingenuous, just, like it is, no lie, open, outright, plain, proper, real, reliable, reputable, sincere, straight, straightforward, true, trustworthy, undisguised, upfront, upright, veracious, virtuous

revisions
This is simply my starting point. Now I need to make this all work.

And, as a final note, I seem to like “zen” things? This project is reminding me of the dish I made for my ‘Serenity Stone’ project and I’m starting to wonder if I’m a one-trick-zen-pony, if having a ‘style’ is good, or if I need to try something else because of that whole “do whatever wacky thing you can now before you go to the ‘real’ world” I often hear from teachers (?)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: