Monday, December 21, 2009

What makes a great senior thesis?

I haven’t posted anything in awhile, so hopefully some people are still listening.

As my final co-op quarter comes to a close, I’m beginning to ask the question, “what the &$#! am I going to do for my senior thesis?” So, instead of trying to pull an awesome idea out of nowhere I’ve decided to try and understand what elements are inherent in the creation of a solid, culminating project. What are the most important characteristics of a senior design thesis?

Here’s the list I’ve come up with so far:

1.Make sure it’s doable and can be well executed in the given time.

2.Pick a topic that is going to show your strengths as an industrial designer ready to be hired

3.Most importantly, own the topic you choose. Consider a topic that is going to show your talents and drive you to do your best work possible.

Let me know if I’m missing something from the list…


I talked with some guys at work and this is what they felt was important...

1. Process book

2. Presentation & Storytelling: Make sure you plan to give yourself time to put together a compelling story about your product.

3. Schedule backwards: Understand what you want to accomplish and make a schedule backwards from the final due date to hit those milestones.

4. The critics will be professionals: Direct quote, "make sure you know what you are talking about or people are going to nail you on shit."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

HP Storyboards (Do people understand my concept?)

Okay, here are the problem and solution storyboards for my HP project. The critique posed a lot of understandability issues in my concept and hopefully I can use this criticism in a positive way.

That being said, it is hard for a designer to detach and step away from a project they are intimate with. If anyone has a chance to run through my story it would be nice to hear where "hang ups" are occurring.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rough Idea for a Computer Concept (China)

So midway through the quarter I have learned that designing a computer for another country is difficult, if not near impossible.

Here is my idea; since there is a large generation gap in China and online addiction has become a big problem among teenagers, why not design a computer that both closes this gap and helps parents monitor teen computer usage without invading their privacy.

The monitor is a wireless touch device that can move anywhere in the house to help bond families around technology. When the computer is in use by an individual (mainly the kids) a mobile object lets parents monitor computer usage discreetly. The orb changes colors based on what the child is using the computer for. While the teenager retains some privacy, parents can rest assured their child is balancing time on the computer.

What does everyone think? Any ideas on how these objects could integrate together better?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Final Images: Usb drive for Epic Records

In class we've worked through some new skills including rendering in illustrator and utilizing quick 3D models in creating final sketch renders.

Spencer Nugent and Concept Sketching

I'll assume by now everyone has heard of If not, here is a really good demo by Spencer Nugent on laying out and creating exciting concept pages.

If you have time to take a glance, do it. Here are a few questions to keep in mind while watching:

1. How are text, call outs, and motion details used?
2. How is depth achieved?
3. Does creating a thumbnail sketch of a concept page seem useful?

IDSKETCHING.COM : Cell Phone from Industrial Design Sketching on Vimeo.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Sweet Hi-Rez Picture

Here is a cool amazingly hi-rez picture of the inauguration. It was taken with a Canon digital camera and encompasses 200 individual shots, 1,474 Megapixels, and a resolution 295 times greater than your average camera. It is amazing what creativity and technology can create together.

Click here to check it out!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 3 Rules of Visualization

While everyone has a different way to go about creating appropriate concept visualizations, I think these three rules (which I have accumulated through personal experience)are an effective start when a designer begins organizing ideas for presentation.

1. Organization

What idea are you trying to get across in a certain concept. Be concise and arrange your ideation in a meaningful way. A bunch of sketches on a wall don't mean a lot unless it is easy to see a wide range of ideas neatly organized. Extra bonus: it makes it look like a lot more thought went into the work than probably did.

2. Efficiency
Find a way that works for you. Make this your go to method when you need to get a lot of ideas out fast. When you work in a media and style that is easy for you, there is more time to think and less time spent sketching.

3. Dynamism

Even though you should work efficiently and concisely, make sure your work is interesting. Creating excitement through visualization is what we are hired to do.

Usb drive for Epic Records

How can record labels be saved in an era of digital downloads?

Here is one idea. Create a unique, record label specific flash drive (in this case Epic Records) which is given to a user upon subscription to that label. Then the user can bring their flash drives to the label's live concerts and upload the music for free!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Technology is becoming invisible

Looking at the new technology hitting showrooms and retailers this year, something seemed awfully disturbing. Where did the electronics go? With the advent of OLED screens, Wii like controlling technology, and 3D TV, less emphasis is being put on the device and more on the experience.

From the dawn of the CRT television to the most recent development of OLED screens, technology has become an invisible hand in our lives where it used to be an anomaly. In the near future, it seems being able to see the actual box holding the technology will be a thing of the past. Will industrial designers even be need in the upcoming future?

Samsung shows off a folding OLED cellphone

Sony's 2008 and 2009 OLED screens. The second TV in this video is incredible

Friday, January 23, 2009

My New Portfolio

My revamped portfolio is now up. While some pages are still rough I hope to get some feedback to help finish it up! What does everyone think? Let me know.

Full link to my portfolio

Portfolio design is a very subtle art. The trick to a good one is keeping it simple, only including the most pertinent information, and having really nice visualizations to capture interest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Branding (Part 2: Re Branding)

The other day I posted an example of what I feel is good branding. Maybe it reflects on the economic times, but it seems like a lot of big brands are undergoing identity re branding. One such company that showed up on a few months ago is Pepsi. In the graphic world, the change in the Pepsi logo has created quite a stir.

A visual look into the Pepsi logo history

Most of the time when we talk about good design we subconsciously consider both the design aspect and the situational aspect. For example, if Pepsi were an upstart company and this was their original brand identity, it would probably be considered great design. However, Pepsi is loaded with history and consumer recognition. Because of this situation the redesign becomes a hotly debated topic.

One thing is for sure, if the new logo and typeface are a success, Pepsi's re branding will be hailed as great design...If it is a flop, well, you know the rest! What does everybody else think? Is this a smart move or a move in the wrong direction?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Method as a Holistic Identity

When we talk about good branding, often times names like Coca-Cola, Apple, and VW tend to come up; which are brands that have been thoroughly exhausted in discussion. All of these brands create an authentic user experience, an identity which every user craves. Method is unique because it has developed this connection through organic forms, simple beautiful packaging and a loyalty to non-toxic materials.

While Method has only been around for less than a decade, it has become especially successful in the ever increasing "green" market. And although there are many environmentally cleaning agents in today's market, not many have created the market share or impact that Method has.

Not only do they create connection through visual appeal, but if you check out their website, you can see that they have created a community of users that promote the products. Ultimately, Method has found a niche market where it can explore the possibilities of being green while remaining sophisticated.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fusing Art and Design

For awhile I have been pondering the merit of art in design. As designers, we are consistently fed the idea that form follows function. But looking around at products being developed and bought today I have to wonder, is this phrase being taken too literally. Are products following function so closely that they lose any innovative or artistic quality altogether?
While trends drive what we do as designers, and although this is generally a positive phenomenon, there are negative drawbacks to this approach. Instead of creating beautiful, functional objects designers often settle for following trends. A good example of fusing art with design and trend setting comes from a small consultancy called Non Object. While their products are very functional, they are innovative in that they seamlessly join consumer needs with breathtaking forms.

It would be interesting to see more design move in this direction. Creating good products is one thing, but creating beautiful visuals that consumers would be irreversibly attracted to seems to be the next step.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Inaugural Post

Welcome to the first of many posts discussing various aspects of design. Being a 4th year industrial design student at the University of Cincinnati-DAAP, I want to share my thoughts on product strategy and development in the hopes ( and with the interest of fellow classmates) that we can better ourselves and become more knowledgeable about the design world around us.

Coming in to every quarter at school, it is interesting to assess where one has come from and what knowledge has been gleaned from various experiences. Whether this is at school or on the job, it is interesting to realize the way these two aspects of our education overlap. I have had the good fortune of some wonderful on-site learning having worked at Fisher-Price, ECCO Design in New York, and Kaleidoscope. From these experiences, I can identify strong skills and also skill sets needing more development.

This quarter my primary focuses will include the following:

-concept communication through speech
-efficiently manage concepts through categorization
-delve deeper into the design world to understand current events and trends