Monthly Archives: November 2009

Re-Re-Direction

So, the final direction for my silverware product is aimed at children and young adults that like cool stuff.

I.E. the silverware would stick closely to the original design of the first spoonfork, and then it would come flat-pack & die-cut for the consumer to punch out, soak in water, and then fold. It would also come with a small informational booklet & seeds to encourage people to grow their own herbs at home for their food. I would assume it would be sold at museum and educational stores (Fernbank, children’s museums, etc.), as well as novelty stores and funny places like Urban Outfitters. I would want it priced in a range that all ages of people would think it was cool and buy it.

My biggest issue right now is figuring out a name so I can go ahead with better packaging.

Re-Visiting Graphics & Packaging

I’m going to change the name of the project, and make something much more updated and mature.
“Delectable” is my favorite so far, but I’ve only really thought about it for like 5 minutes.
I made a board of precedents that show the graphic style I’m hoping to achieve – super simplified graphics with lots of straight lines so things read as abstracted, but obvious simultaneously.

I hope that this style makes the product more timeless.

All of the pictures were borrowed from my tumblr feed, but I have the credits for all of them in case anyone was worried 😉

So,

if this is me re-doing a personal project, can I just choose whatever I want?
Because I’m like realllllllly into the idea of “steam-bend this at home in your microwave”.

I feel like the aluminum will feel as cheap as it would be to make, the plastic version would just seem like an overly-complicated take on sporks that already exist (and if they’re so prevalent in that form of “silverware”, there must be a reason) so I feel like the COOLEST option would be the DIY one. Plus die-cutting wood is cheap, right? Like. equal to water-jet-cutting aluminum?

So it’s the best.

Cost vs. Cost-Effectiveness vs. Cute

I was talking recently with a classmate of mine and he said that companies look for “sustainable” projects in portfolios that are sustainable for the company in terms of low cost of tooling and materials for them to produce, not exactly for the consumer or the actual environment.

That means that I have to do the following:
1.) research on the cost of the different processes that would be required to make the utensil as a real object out of the different materials I thought of
2.) find more precedents, their pricing and popularity to know what the market is truly like
3.) a few tests to see if my ideas will work at all
4.) define the market and niche I’m looking to supply this to even further so that all of my research and decisions are backed up ((especially if I choose the more expensive or weird material))

Concepts & Conceptualization

I was supposed to have five concepts for today and one final direction for Wednesday.
No matter, I can still have five sketched out for Wednesday and one already chosen before I get there.
Plus, I do already have five ideas!
1. aluminum (is the most easy and simple first choice because it inherently does everything I’m already thinking of)

  • it bends
  • it’s recyclable
  • it could be easily die-cut and flat packed
  • simple!!!!!

2. kerfed wood (a process of taking away material from one side of a piece of wood to allow for it to bend)

  • those lines I scored into the chip board prototype were my first attempt at kerfing without knowing it
  • can still use bamboo or birch or whatever pretty wood I want
  • this is like a literal translation of my first design if it works the right way
  • this would push it past something that looks (and probably feels) like a throw-away (like aluminum or thin plastic)
  • would hopefully be able to easily un-bend and be ‘flat-packed’ again for trips, picnics, etc.

3. DIY at home kits for bending wood

  • WHAT IF you made it like a craft project and you got to soak your utensil in wood overnight, and then in the morning you get to twist it and it’s really fun? That would be really fun.
  • could use steam or heat or both
  • cool
  • it wouldn’t really be able to un-twist that easily (would probably hurt the fibers in the wood, might snap trying to make it flat again) so it wouldn’t be very portable anymore – just sort of a cute “at home” utensil

4. plastic

  • unoriginal, but hey – if it works, it works
  • plastic can be colored and recycled and washed
  • there are improvements to plastic – some are biodegradable!
  • some interesting “plastic origami” projects already exist

5. something woven

  • this would be the most complicated idea
  • a really tightly woven fabric would be flexible and strong and interesting
  • …..I don’t know. It just seems like it would work somehow.

Hope.

I’m just really hoping that all of this extensive research and InDesign document making is saving me time and heartache for next week and isn’t just a waste of time in general. Eeeeep!

Research, and more.

Finished up with my secondary initial research, now I need to move forward and do the following:
1. eliminate all concepts that don’t work at all
2. research more processes (kerfing wood and other wood processes)
3. figure out some direction and start sketching some concepts
i.e. what all can I do if I choose material “______”
4. buy things and play with them (oy)

Folding, bending, friendly materials

I’m not really “re-designing” my Seedling Silverware project, per-say.
I’m really focusing most of my time on finding a new material that fulfills the concept, and doing tons of research in the meantime.
Here’s just the initial part of my research.
Just a little, little, little part 🙂

Seedling Silveware: Re-Visited & More

For the final project of the semester in studio, we get to do practically whatever we want! I’m finishing out a short project from junior year that I think could be an awesome product, and not just a cool concept – the eco-friendly spoonfork utensil with seed packaging. While I’ve been doing extensive research on my different material options (which has been pretty fun, actually) I remembered that when I was in junior high all of my science fair projects were SUPER enviro-friendly. I went to state with the project that I made a natural fruit fly repellent for – because fruit flies destroy so much of the produce crop before it even gets to a grocery store.

I believe that as designers we have the ability to ensure that products are inherently green, and that we should make “being green” something that’s real, not simply another annoying trend that people don’t actually pay more for. Being green doesn’t have to be expensive; just smarter than the traditional resources and manufacturing processes. Even going the extra step to make everything in a product the same material for ease of recycling is a small step to something great. Or simply making a more expensive product that will last a long time, with the notion that the guts of it might have to be replaced and recycled more often.

I’ve been reading about PLA, the corn plastic made from lactic acid, and it’s competitively priced with PET products except that it biodegrades, and won’t take up as much space in a landfill! We’ve come a long way from Bakelight, so let’s not just stop here.

I’m a big proponent of “green” design and material considerations, but I don’t think I need to brand myself that way as a designer because I feel like it looks cheap, trendy, and crafty.

 

As a designer, I aim to make products that do at least three things:
1. take materials and processes into consideration to create something of high quality at a reasonable price
2. something that solves a problem, not just looks pretty or puts a band-aid over the problem
3. makes an emotional connection of some kind with the user, ensuring it’s success and happiness in the home 🙂

 

There is a big gap between Ikea and West Elm; there’s got to be some sort of market in between for different materials and new ideas to flourish.

“Real Website”

My first more professional “website” featuring my design work (that isn’t just a blog) is now live!

It will probably change a lot tho, because I do that.

BEHOLD! My internet!

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