Monthly Archives: February 2009

on how things are possibly on the up & up

I went to Lenox Mall after class on Monday and got a lot of insight from both the kitchen store and the Pottery Barn Kids on trends and characteristics of things that are literally for sale in the market right now. I was previously horribly overwhelmed by all the different things I needed to decide [materials, form, scale, size, color, etc.], but I feel a lot more informed now [silicone and other materials that are easy to clean, oversized-yet-ergonomic, bright and non-gender-specific].

on how I’m taking a typography module

I’m currently in a typography module on Thursdays from 6-9 [which means I literally have class straight from 1:30pm to 9:00pm with no breaks]. It’s sort of interesting, but I really wish that we had a semester long class with lectures and talks and discussions that could teach more about the logistics of type and type faces, etc. [Our teacher keeps saying that she doesn’t want to lecture us, and assumes that we know more than we do, when really I want someone to get down to the nitty-gritty and quiz me on how to kearn well or something.]
Anyway, I’m currently “working” on this really cool final project for the module, and I’m supposed to find some sort of language [poem, lyric, etc.] (she suggested Obama’s speech, which is ‘laden with metaphors’, but since I sort of missed hearing it the first time, I wanted to choose my own words) and explore it either in 2D or 3D. It’s a creative type of project that I haven’t been able to do in a long time; I’m just having trouble trying to figure out exactly what lyric/poem/written thing I want to utilize before I start exploring the 3D part [read: cool new thing I’m going to make for my apartment, yet also fulfills this assignment requirements]. What to do, what to do? I’m such a language person (in my head, at least), but I haven’t a clue what to use for this.
Actually, I haven’t a clue what to do about anything right now.

on how it’s Monday.

So, my concepts are crap. I’m still on the fence about why I even bothered doing kids stuff to begin with, and I regret the decision to give myself a “challenge” with everything going on in literally every single thing I partake in [work, IDSA, every class, etc.] I wish that I had chosen to do something like wall-art appliances (especially since all I’ve really accomplished lately is to make my living room look decent). BASICALLY I just need to get more pumped about kids again. Can I borrow someone’s for a day [read: Travis Ekmark]?

on how things are incredibly impressive atm

Eep! Our class website for our trip to NYC is now up and really running!!!
So, feel INCREDIBLY free to visit
Not to mention, I am now the IDSA President of Georgia Tech [for the upcoming year, and I’ll be helping out this semester, too].
Pretty SWEET!
This upcoming month is going to be crazy with a trip to Italy, NYC, and conference to New Orleans!

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on thinking of new things to do for kids

I went to Wal-mart and looked around at toys a lot (for an hour, because I had an hour to kill – like omfg, thanksomuch Verizon Wireless!!!!).
What I noticed about toys at Wal-Mart:
– there are not a lot of interesting, worthwhile toys in the age range I’ve chosen
– by the age of 8 or so, gender-role-type toys are basically all there is [Barbies and dolls for girls, NERF guns for boys]
– all of the kitchen/baking/food related things I found were for girls, above the age of 3, that seemed realistic – but didn’t do anything besides simulate real-life ((except for one cupcake making set, but that was for 8+))
– Play-Doh remains to be the most fun [at least to me?] toy sets for the age-range I’m thinking of targeting AND they don’t seem to define the gender of their audience through their design [color/form/function/etc.]

Combining everything thus far, I think my new direction isssss:
– a fruit and veggie peeler that is interactive [via crank, lever, whatever] AND safe -> makes apple fries, carrots for dipping in ranch, etc.
– pasta press (think of Play-Doh precedent) for whole grainsss
– ice cream maker -> some how ‘cranking up’ or interacting with it in some way that stores energy to start an electric paddle [or something]

on re-focusing “fun in the kitchen”

Unfortunately, I got really discouraged and overwhelmed this weekend trying to learn too much about children, etc., and trying to come up with brilliant concepts at the same time. I think I got so concerned about everything, that I shot myself in the foot before I even started sketching concepts. I feel more invigorated now, though, because I realized that all the research I’ve done is useful and that I do not have to stick with the three appliances I originally chose. After class today I’m going to go wander around Wal-mart and/or a toy store to look at toy mechanics and see what’s currently offered in the way of basic interactive toys [levers, cranks, cogs]. I want my appliances to be toy-like, but still get the job done. I think I lost focus on one of the important parts of my original brand concept – healthy food and nutrition.
So what other appliances or “tools” can relate to fresh produce, whole grains, and calcium? Apple and carrot peelers, pasta press, pudding molds, etc. I think I’ll stick with the ice cream maker, because who doesn’t like ice cream? Besides that, there are a lot more foods within the broad, important categories that I can focus on than the simple “fruit for smoothies” and “whole grains from fresh bread.”

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on concept claustrophobia

I originally decided to focus on designing kitchen appliances for children because it’s something that I’ve never tried before (and I thought it would be SO FUN!), but I’m realizing now that maybe the reason I never did anything for children is because I honestly don’t know that much about them. In high school I loved babysitting, and I still do, but that doesn’t mean that I know a ton about children. Luckily, I found an age-placement chart that tells me what grade children belong in according to their age; I never really knew that because I jumped around between grades a little bit from moving around, and I’m half a year younger than everyone in my current year.
Children change so much; the amount of development in a year or two is crazy [according to the cognitive development research I’ve done]! It’s sort of frustrating for me to try and define such a very small population of children for which to design – i.e. only ages 6-9 – because I don’t want to be responsible for sending crap out into the world that people will only purchase and use for three years before simply throwing it out (or in my family’s case, probably just keep it in our basement until said child goes to college, and still wants to keep it because of “all the memories!”). I guess I’m just feeling a little claustrophobic about the corner I’ve put myself in; but I don’t want to try and change my direction now that I’ve done so much research! David mentioned something along the lines of “Remember you’re just a student, and in real life a company would come to you and ASK for you to do something like this so don’t try and constrain yourself with sustainability, too.” In that case, I’m just going to try and re-group around my own ideas and ensure that what I end up creating is THE PERFECT three appliances for 6-9 year olds; three appliances so strong and spot on that it doesn’t matter as much that they’re not technically sustainable. Good luck to me! Haha.

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on being an update of sorts

WOO-HOO! I’m having another hell of a week; still don’t have any means with which to purchase things after a horrible incident in which I accidentally threw my precious, dearly loved Malcolm Fontier wallet at a hobo two weeks ago. I tried to food run at work today which was…and experience. I made eight whole dollars! And then spent half of that on my dinner. However, I am pleased with the progress I’ve accomplished on this kitchen appliance project – I did a ton of research and I feel like I know quite a bit. Now I just need to combine it all into really brilliant concepts for Friday – no big deal 🙂 – we just need “more of everything.”

I’m also really nervous-anxious-excited about IDSA elections because I’m running for president and I’d really like your vote! But seriously, I want to be IDSA president and I think I would do an incredible job because I’m enthusiastic, dedicated, and loud.
[Those aren’t the ONLY reasons I would be a rockin’ IDSA PREZ, just three basic, important ones. More to come via campaign video.]
(Megan worked on our video and she is amazing, in a nutshell. THANK YOU SO MUCH, MEGAN!!!)
The elections are this Friday at 12 so I’m a little on edge until then – not to mention I’m running as a party, with Jes, Sarah, and Randy [Randy doesn’t have a blog, sorry], AND we could technically be elected in part – not as a whole party – so there’s a lot of variables to deal with!

ALSO David’s come up with a wicked idea for us to make $$$ to get to NYC – and I’m super-duper excited [so excited I’m not embarrassed that I just wrote ‘super-duper’]! It’s a little too layered to try and explain in words minus some diagrams and magic, so I’ll just wait a few more days until we have something concrete I can direct you to. In other words, our class is going to go on a majestic trip to NYC and it should be the best experience we have as design students. Ever.
What do I want to get out of a trip to NYC? I want to have the experience of making a plan that’s pretty big-scale, following through, and accomplishing the goal. I also am incredibly excited about seeing the “design scene” in another big city. And bonding with my fellow students, of courseeeee.

AND FINALLY, I feel confident enough to answer that timeless question of “what do you wanna do with that degree when you graduate?” I would like to start my career doing design consulting/strategic design [think unboundary], but also dabble in ‘home decor’ type design [think furniture, lighting, coat racks shaped like antlers, etc.]
I think one of the lucky things about having a career in design is that you can find your niche, and you can always try something new if you don’t like what you’re doing. Sick of graphic design for company letterheads? Switch to lighting! Want to make a vase in your free time? Market that vase while you’re doing design consulting on the side. Ok, so in hindsight maybe I don’t have an answer at all – but I don’t feel bad about it anymore!

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