Category Archives: Project #1


I…clearly haven’t been keeping up with this that much in the past month or so, but to be honest I’ve felt so busy that I haven’t really had time to stop and write in-depth about what I’ve been working on. Not long after that last project wrapped up we had our Spring Break (read: as soon as the review was over, literally) and during SB’10 I moved from one apartment to the other and spent forever painting it, etc. I still don’t feel entirely moved in, but that’s beside the point. Then, on to IDSA Conference in Charlotte, NC. Always fun to mingle with new designers, but not enough fun to make up for this dreadful head-cold that I’ve had the past week+ since then. I’m finally starting to feel more alive and alright today, but still debating whether a trip to the doctor would be good or not…

MY FINAL STUDIO PROJECT EVER is due in a week and three school days or something absolutely crazy like that. And Thursday of this week we’re selling the products we designed at the beginning of this semester for ‘micro-manufacturing’ – 10 uniquely engraved D.I.Y photo-cards! Ugh! Oh boy! I’m pretty excited that my parents are coming down to visit and *hopefully* buy some of my postcards.

I feel like there is never enough time to get things done because that is the truth. I hate that this last studio project (again, please note that this is my LAST STUDIO PROJECT EVER even though I am not graduating this May; still my last assigned studio project for ID at Georgia Tech ever for real studio class which is totally weird) is so squished time-wise. I wanted to do so much lunchbox research! Because, oh yeah, I somehow assigned myself to solve the “problem” of storing your food in a communal fridge -like an office or dorm situation.

To be honest, I sort of feel like all of my projects this semester are turning out to be sort of cheesy. I don’t know if there’s enough of that emotive quality I strive for in any of the solutions I’m creating, and I don’t know if it’s my fault, the assignment, the teacher or what…This just isn’t what I thought my last semester of studio to be like! Especially considering that Shakespeare is my hardest class right now (also enjoyable – not a knock on Shakespeare). I’m hoping that with some extra work that these can become things I’m more proud of, but I’m obviously questioning myself right now – and not in the way that I would want to be if I were about to graduate! [YIKES! If I were about to graduate right now with the state my portfolio and apparent sketching skills are in right now I would probably be sick!]

My independent study has been rewarding and challenging at the same time – trying to find the time to work on the projects without cutting into other stuff or forgetting about it all together…

And on top of all of this, I’ve been sort of concerned about the pros + cons of putting all your design work and design thought on The Internet. I had a (semi-really-sketchy) “eco-friendly” design blog find one of my projects and make it into one of their posts…the problem being that it isn’t a manufactured item yet but if I WANTED it to be in the future….it could already have been stolen… Plus part of the studio class (one day) I’ve been taking talks about IP, etc. and so I’m just uber uber nervous.

I plan on taking a lot of pictures of the ‘process’ of laser-cutting these postcards out over the next 2.5 days. I realize that one of the things I unfortunately lack the most in my designing is ‘proof of process’ and that bothers me, since I do try to do a decent amount of testing/modeling/what-have-you.

And to conclude, without a decent transition, I have realized this semester that I am really good at solving problems if a problem is handed to me but NOT good at choosing a problem to solve. I.E. “Paint a picture” vs. “Paint a picture with an eco-friendly substance of a landscape” – > I can think of some really nifty eco-friendly paint substances (juice, fruit, tea, etc.), but I would sit for days and days trying to think of all the different paints and paint styles and orientations and subjects to just ‘paint a painting’ and probably end up not doing anything all that spectacular….
I feel like this is something I’ve thought of/shared/written about before, but regardless, there it is.
I can creatively brainstorm and solve problems, but I cannot determine problems at the drop of a hat.
[I hope that admitting this doesn’t mean that I will never be able to do design as a job…but I feel as though a lot of what design is is figuring out how to solve something with a lot of given constraints – match this already-made brand’s branding form, what else could we add to this product line of cheese graters to make more $? why isn’t this thing that looks pretty selling? how could we make ______ for so-and-so better? – instead of coming to the firm and being like “Y’all! Let’s make _______!” I guess I’ve just decided that I don’t want to be an inventor? To be honest, I just want to learn more and enjoy whatever it is that I’m doing, while making enough money to live. That’s all! Not so much to ask!]

Also unrelated: I’ve taken up that whole picture-a-day-for-365-days thing. So far it’s been fun. I’ve done it for 6 whole days so far! I’m just excited to use my camera, and so far I’ve been using the Word of the Day as inspiration. I think in the future, when I grow tired of the WOTD, I will move on to some sort of ‘alphabet’ set ((but that only gives me 26 days to work with…)). We shall see!

And super finally, I don’t really know 100% what is about to happen in the near future, or exactly which semester it is that I end up graduating but I do know that, despite my current stuffy face and cough, I am decently happy – which is decently nice.

on independent studies

After all of my registration and adjustment to classes drama that I’ve been sorting through and my recent chest cold (lovely, let me tell you!) I had almost forgotten about my independent study! Almost. I believe that my momentary loss of excitement about being able to work alone was lost due to waiting time for my exceptional books to arrive at my doorstep – and now that one (of the two) is here, I need to get cracking!

Independent studies are nice because they allow you to work on whatever you want to, within reason (obvi). I’ve made an independent study that focuses on branding/graphics/packaging because that’s an area of design that I believe I’m interested in and could possibly be talented at, but haven’t had enough/any practice at school. I figured I would do three projects over the course of this semester, one for each full month of school (not counting January drama or May finals). My first project is expanding upon the Converse branding project I did October of last year – exploring and researching the existing brand of Converse and then making a small series of promotional items to go with it. That project last year was sort of quick and I plan on improving the first design for that project, as well as doing two more.

This week I’ve assigned myself to do research and analysis, combined with the existing work I’ve already done.
Next week is for design ideation and direction and meeting with someone to talk about things.
The third week is for me to work, work, work away at things (most likely this will be me attempting to find paper, printers, ect. that can help me do what I want to achieve since last year I couldn’t figure out the best solution in time for the presentation)
Last week is to finalize everything and present it to someone


This semester is going to be jam-packed, and I realize now that I already need to start working much, much harder.

Materials & Experiments

Most of the time, I feel like a design scientist – doing mad experiments, cutting things up, finding things at Home Depot and using them for stuff you aren’t supposed to use them for…

Anyway, my point is that everything is always changing with design because there are so many different ways you can go about achieving the same effect with materials and manufacturing processes (like vacuum forming the same acrylic over a mold vs. just bending it into a similar shape freehand).

Currently I’m focused on two different paths for my postcard/picture frame project. The postcard itself has been determined to be a pop-out picture frame with an ‘easel’ system of holding it up – so that means some parts that also pop-out and have tab/slots to hold things up.

The two ‘directions’ I could go are as follows:

  1. an insert and a sleeve
    – this would probably be a lot more work for people to put together because it would have so many separate parts BUT could also be more time saving than taking a long continuous piece and flipping it over and waiting for the whole thing to be done
  2. one continuous piece that folds over itself
    – like above but opposite…

I’ve been focusing on making things out of chipboard and/or picture matte board, but I’ve seen a lot of interesting stuff involving recycled card from food packaging and cereal boxes, which is just a thinner version of chipboard anyway.

Postcard Inspirations

A collection of current postcard products and packaging that I’ve been exploring for this project. I should look into origami, too. It’s difficult to search the internet for “mailers” and get what I want!


We’re getting further into the development of our company, focusing on what we’re doing – micromanufacturing – to make a cool name; something along the lines of micro14 and variations on that. The product that I’ve chosen to develop further for our company is a d.i.y. postcard; a picture frame that you can insert your own picture, moment, location into to give to a friend or loved one as a cute little snail-mail present.

I’m currently looking at mailers and postcards so that I can get a better understanding of possibilities, materials, and manufacturing. The challenge with this studio is making products that someone else within our “company” can re-create for us to sell – so it has to be totally feasible and working ASAP. These aren’t just study models.

Today and tomorrow I’ll be working on ways to finesse the first iteration of the picture-postcard and expanding upon the idea of having something to hold up the ‘frame’. I’ve also been thinking about picture corners, and wondering if that’s easier and cheaper than cutting out two pieces of card stock and gluing them together to make a ‘folder’ of sorts for the picture itself to slide into. Lots of shopping and trial & error to be had in the very near future!

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Name Game

Brainstorming for a company name…

Layers – onions, artichokes,

“Fruit” – a general name that describes something that has many different options (apples, oranges, cherries)

Adding color as a descriptor to things  – “green ______” for green design, “yellow _______” for ‘fun’ products

Things that already are naturally “varied” – calico?

Traditional things with a twist – “green tomatoes” -> “blue tomatoes” etc.

What is the “feeling” or “spirit” of what we’re doing? Create, innovate, change, invent, conjure, move, shift

And so forth!

Spring Semester!

This is my last semester of studio in my college career! I’m also planning on it being my last spring semester of school EVER, so I’m pretty pumped.  I’m thrilled about the studio I’m in about innovation and manufacturing, as well as the independent study that I’ve created about exploring the relationship between products and their branding, packaging, and retail.

Stephen Chininis is teaching my senior studio class about innovation and our first project involves us creating a company that plans on producing designs that can be manufactured easily with low-cost production (laser cutter/sewing/etc.), and we’re going to market and sell them. We chose different roles in class today and I’m one of three people assigned to “creative services” under the marketing team (branding, graphic design, marketing & advertising). Part of the assignment is to be an employee and run the company, while designing products for it at the same time.

I need to brainstorm some company name ideas and some product sketches before Wednesday. Personally, I like one-word names because they seem a lot more impressionable – like POW! that’s it. We discussed names and metaphors that can describe the fact that we’ll be designing tons of different product lines with varying price points – so things with layers like onions, artichokes, etc.

Now I think I’ll take a nap, then put up some cork boards by my desk, and get cracking! It’s a three day weekend, and I’m hoping to get a lot out of it.

on “KISS”

Keep it simple, stupid.

Need to make everything sleeker, simpler; less parts, less $$$. What about materials? No cloth. Metal. Does that get too hot? Where is the most comfortable place to put that handle?? How handy is it really for a lamp shade to flip around? Stark stark stark. Simple simple simple! Simple shapes, simple parts, simple light. Don’t feature creep. Don’t add hinges. Shapes.
Figure out a “business plan” for this; ‘Tom’s style?? Price, market, audience.

Simple, Shine, Sustainable, Stylish, etc.

I’m still going in a kinetic-energy direction for my desk lamp. My goal is to create a crank-powered ‘task’ lamp that is both stylish enough for home owners, but could also probably be used in under-developed countries that need simple light sources when the sun goes down.
Most of the lamp would be durable and made of metal; haven’t figured out what I want the handle to be like yet. There would be no on-off switch, which would hopefully eliminate both parts and energy waste [prolonging the whole product because even though it’s meant to be “forever”, LEDs will still die eventually…] Playing around with cloth lampshades right now; I found some really interesting felt lampshades online and I love the way that they look – but most likely not the best direction for this particular project (bummer). One of my original ideas was to have a shade that pivots, with one side more direct and one side more diffuse for different lighting needs.

Light Inspirations.

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