Archive for March, 2009



March 24, 2009

As the hours count down until our trip leaves for New York, I’m increasingly beginning to scramble for what I need – I got myself a new sketchbook for the trip (last one was filling up…), and hope to have it filled by the time I get back. Got some snacks for the road, and a couple good books for the trip.

I’m definitely looking forward to all the design exploration we’ll get while we’re on the trip. I’m hoping to, above all, get a new way to look at stuff. It gets kinda easy to get stuck in a rut, especially with getting sick and getting bogged down in homework – I could use a new environment, a change of pace, and a bit of a breather, while still remaining focused on design. I’m getting better, and I’ll be mostly operational this week – still a bit icky, but mostly better. Hopefully with a change of pace and some inspiration, I can get all my loose ends wrapped up, and get moving on and cover some new ground. Thats where all the excitement is anyways.



Plans for the Break

March 14, 2009

I’ve got my work cut out for me, even with Spring Break coming up next week. The main thing I’ll be getting out of spring break is the fact that I don’t have to go to classes or worry about getting up at a certain time. I have some stuff to do, including…

1. Finish off the last studio project. This comes in at the top of my proirity list – I should be done with digital work by Wednesday, and then I get to talk Tripp into letting me use the shop for a bit to knock out a grey model.

2. Business cards – these need to be done early, like by Monday – so I can get them printed and back to me before I leave for Conference definitely, and hopefully before New York. I’ve got them most of the way done, but need to finish them off.

3. I want to get started on getting my website up and running – I plan on a portfolio section, an integrated blog, and some static information pages – as well as a small store to try and make some money off selling stuff. This ties into my summer plans – since I can’t get an internship now that I’m taking some summer classes, I want to see if I can get my own business started off selling small housewares,  jewlery, and possibly some other stuff – I have some stuff I want to try, and see what moves and keep going in that direction.

I’ll catch all ya’ll after the break.



Design Adventures!

March 12, 2009

Today was a really fun day for studio – besides the fact that running around the campus with large white letters for photo ops was fun, it was cool to get out and see a functioning model shop in Atlanta. I didn’t get to welding, but I was perfectly ok with that – I’ve done it before, so I was more along to see cool stuff and network.

Adam and I had a nice discussion about summer plans – Since my hopes of getting an internship this summer have disapeared now that I’m taking classes to get caught up from being sick, I’m now planning on taking the advice of the people we talked to in Professional Practice, and explore a hobby to the point of turning it into a business. Adam is interested in getting some stuff designed over the summer as well, and we’re talking about meeting up to discuss and bounce ideas around. We’ll see how all that develops.

Last but not least, check out this. This printing company is offering a promotion for 1000 free business cards printed before the end of the month for design professionals – no annoying logos, 2 sided glossy 14 pound paper (or matte, or eco-friendly if you want.) You can pick the size and preportion between 2″x2″ and 4″x4″ in increments of .25″, and would be great for stuff like NYC and Conference. No catch as far as I’ve found.



Link Time

March 10, 2009

I was planning on writing about our new project today, but I screwed up my alarm clock while changing it to DST and slept until 11:30. Not a very notable event, but it pointed out my need for a better designed alarm clock.

Since I don’t have that to write about, I figured I’d share a quick link – check this out. In my opinion, this is a bit more like what we should be taught in Materials (a class that is supposed to be about “sustainable design”). Instead I’m stuck designing a toaster that utilizes renewable energy (when all forms of renewable energy don’t produce near enough power, or would require a massive battery which is going to make the eco-friendly advantage go bye-bye), or ‘deconstructing’ the toaster and rot like that. I understand that this is an important topic, and a concept we need to be very interested in, but it isn’t real world design.

When Braunstine started the class, he laid out his requirements for a sustainable product – my only problem with his definition is that by his definition (and combined with his opinion that we can’t expect future technological advances to bail us out) says that the semiconductor, the technology behind every computer chip since we stopped using vacuum tubes, is unsustainable, and will therefore inevitably destroy the world in the end. It can’t be recycled – once you’ve doped silicon with metals you’re not seperating them back out. You melt little bits together, print circuits, nasty chemicals are involved, and its all sandwiched in a nice blob of fossil fuel based plastic.

In other words, I’ll start listening to him as soon as he starts presenting with sticks and rocks. And, if he presented more than just his opinion, maybe delved into some facts once in a while, that would be nice too.



Other Projects

March 5, 2009

While my project is coming along, there isn’t anything in particular to report about it – still making progress in the right direction. I now have an extra week + spring break to finish it up (due to my sickness making things especially difficult), so I’m on track.

I thought I’d write a blog post with some general comments about other people’s projects – perhaps not specific details since I can’t keep half of them straight, but some general comments about classes might be interesting.

The other two studio sections are at a different place than mine is – in general, they have hit the milestones for the project, but on some, it seems like they are missing some of the depth – lots of projects are aimed at either extremely generic target markets (e.g. 20-somethings), or centered around a concept (e.g.  For people who want a well built and sturdy appliance). I’m not sure if this is good or bad – in one way,  it has made hitting their milestones a lot easier, but it seems to miss some of the specific-ness we used on the last project where we had 3 words we were sticking with, that together had a very narrow definition of what was a successful design for that critera.

Our studio seems to have the opposite problem for the most part – We did lots of research at the beginning, which took us off schedule some – we focused on identifying our target market, and narrowing down what they wanted before jumping into generation. On the plus side, this gave us some excellent critera for judging a successful design, on the downside, it put us behind schedule some, and it gave some of us (e.g., Me, Adam, and others)  a bit of trouble when we started doing concepts. I had some difficulty with this approach, since I already have some issues with concept generation and going wild with cool if outrageous concepts, when I added a very specific target market (kids) with some specific requirements (safety, fun), it cramped my style some – I got distracted in the weeds by running my ideas through that filter too early, and too many ideas got weeded out before giving them a chnace.

I’m not trying to say my project got screwed and I got thrown under the wagon by getting too much research, but I’m interested in learning what I can from how things went down. First, I think having a specifc target market is something that has to be done – thats how real projects would go down. What I need to do is learn how to deal with it. For one, sometimes ignoring the most restrictive criteria initially is the way to go – go out and do something cool, and figure how to make it safe later, for instance. Also, don’t throw out your criteria all the way – the first step in the right direction for me was making a gigantic mood board, drawing out stuff that was relavant to my market – not only did it get me thinking about what kids want, but it also got my creative juices going for that evening.

Food for thought.



Is it that time again?

March 3, 2009

Its around that time again – Review is just around the corner.

I’m a tad bit worried – at this point, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be ready for review. I’m making good progress, and am moving in the right direction – however, I’m pretty far behind, and its just not looking reasonable to get the long laundry list of stuff done before Friday. On the plus side, I dropped by the health dept. this morning and I hopefully will be getting better right after Spring Break, so some good work getting done over Spring Break plus a lighter load since I dropped a couple classes should have me back on track before long.

In terms of the project, I’m making progress. I have finalized designs for all my appliances, and just have to finalize some details and get them in solidworks. I’ve got a solidworks model started on the Toaster, and pink foam models on the others – I could technically have everything in solidworks by Friday, but I”m also concerned with doing a good job – I feel spending time on stuff at this point is more important than worrying about the deadline.

I don’t know, we’ll see what I can get done. This week I have a lighter load, I have finally sorted most of the issues to do with being sick, and I’m finally settling into the groove that comes with not getting enough sleep and being sick. I should be able to get rocking and rolling, but we’ll see how it goes.