Category Archives: Project #3

Lunchboxes.

I am designing a lunchbox for “The Communal Fridge” scenario, i.e. people that are forced to share a fridge with others (office, fraternity, dorm room) but people will often nibble, eat, steal, plunder the food of other people. This is a serious problem that needs some solving (I suppose)!
My goals for this project and the presentation that I’ll be doing rather shortly are as follows:
Create a lunchbox for adults that is
– age appropriate (styling, materials, colors)
– secure (provides security and calm for the user; worry-free about other people getting into it)
– sustainable (what’s the point of a buying a lunch box, only to fill it with plastic sandwich bags that will be thrown away?!)

Absent-Minded

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 MerriamWebster.com 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.

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.

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.

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