Thursday, February 26, 2009

biological clocks

Lately I have felt like I can't go to bed before 2 AM, and if I do go to bed before then, I usually don't fall asleep until 2AM or so due to too many thoughts in my head, usually about computers. So here I am, updating my blog! Yay!

We are working on tea kettles in Des Com. We have done a bunch of iterations, and now are narrowing in on a single concept. I am going with this concept, but changing some things...mainly the lid. I got some good feedback today in class and I am excited to see what the final design looks like...especially when I use some new skills in hypershot!

In the past two weeks I have been in Alias way more than I wanted to, but I have learned a ton just by using it....and making my models this time around wasn't nearly as frustrating as last time. I don't know if I am just better, or the forms are simpler.....but I think I will go with the first!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Barreleye fish

Probably the weirdest and coolest thing I have ever seen...can you believe that this is a real creature?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Goals for the quarter: Progress Report

At the beginning of the quarter, I posted about three goals for the project....lets see how I am coming along on them!

1) Get myself excited about this computer project, and get my personal style into the final design without going over the top.
Um....hahaa. I wouldn't say I am quite excited about the project, but I am feeling all right about it. With each day things are seeming to come together...and I think it has hints of my playful style, but I think it will look sleek.

2) Relax! Try not to worry so much! HA! What an opportune time of the quarter to ask that question! But seriously, with all that is going on, I think I am doing ok on that goal. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time and not get overwhelmed by everything that is due in the next 3.5 weeks. Baby steps...

3)Get a job at a children's products company. Yes, I can say I actually accomplished that goal! I will be at the First Years in Boston this spring.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Design Strengths

I believe most of my design strengths lie in the area of visualization. I just really enjoy making things look good, especially Photoshop and Illustrator renderings. I enjoy the process of creating a visual in that way, and I think my experience with traditional media has helped me in that respect.

More specifically, I am especially strong at character driven design. Character design has always been an area of huge interest to me, and I think that is why I am so drawn to toy design. This helps me add a lot of personality to my projects.

Monday, February 16, 2009

dexter: everyone's favorite serial killer!

I have recently started watching the show Dexter, which has a fantastic opening sequence that I thought I would share...

For those who don't know, Dexter is a dark drama/comedy about a guy (Dexter) who works for the Miami PD as a blood spatter analyst...but off the clock, he is actually a serial killer. A traumatic event from his childhood has robbed him of emotions and bred in him the desire to kill. However, guided by his foster father's "code," he only kills the bad guys.

So yes, dark and gruesome...but compelling nonetheless. This intro is great because it shows an everyday routine in a very menacing manner...and it feels very frame by frame, like a storyboard.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Here are my storyboards....they are going to change a lot as the project goes on, because I realized I really need to state why the personal drive is different and better than a regular old flash drive. I've been flip flopping on the "for the home" and "for the classroom" bit....but I think I am going to settle for the classroom. I drew these with the home in mind, so that is a major change.

Do you like to draw characters?

If so, maybe you would like to participate in our new blog (our meaning Tracy and I). We set it up to just be a fun little weekly character sketching exercise. We will post a topic every week (usually Thursday) and then you will have a week to post your character sketch!

We are looking for people who really want to contribute and be into the post a comment if you want to participate and we can set you up as a contributor.

Here's the blog!

If you don't want to participate, still subscribe to see what we can come up with!

This week's topic is: Draw a character inspired by a plant or plants.

Designing in a fishbowl

Yesterday I took a trend survey for someone in the Livewell Collaborative, and it got some things rolling around in my head. The survey was simply about me...what I like to do for fun, my favorite store...sounds pretty easy, right? It was actually suprisingly difficult. I felt so separated from a lot of these questions. When was the last time I went to the store other than a grocery store? What do I do for fun? What do I care about more, the enviroment or the economy? (What kind of a question is that at a time like this anyway?!) Needless to say, the survey took a while.

I feel like when I am in school, I live in a fishbowl. I can see out of the fishbowl...but rarely do I participate in anything outside of it. As designers, we should be living outside of the fishbowl, having different experiences and letting ourself be informed about things other than ourselves...isn't that what its all about? However I feel like when I am in school, I don't have time for anything other than my projects. I remember as a kid when Dad would take us out for Sunday drives, where we would get ice cream or splash around in a creek, maybe even discover a new place. Now the notion of a Sunday drive seems inconcievable....Sunday is work day!!
Figure A: Escaping from the DAAP fishbowl into something a little less suffocating

I don't mean for this post to sound negative, if that is the way it is coming across. Maybe I am the only one who feels this way since I am a worrywort/workaholic. Or maybe I am just feeling a little tired of computers right now. Either way, does anyone else have any thoughts? Anyone feel similar, or am I just crazy?

Either way, I am excited to get out of the fishbowl and into Boston next will be the furthest away I have ever been from home for a co-op!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Design for the user

Today on campus I saw one of these:

It was pretty cool, there was plenty of space in the front for a wheelchair, areas to secure the wheelchair for safety, and a ramp that comes out of the vehicle. Pretty good example of user-centered design, eh?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thoughts about Innovation

Innovation is kind of a tough thing to define, because everyone has different ideas about what innovation is. For me, it boils down to one major point...

An innovative product makes sense: it is easy to use and doesn't over complicate.

I have seen a lot of products that people claim are innovative because they present a product in a new and different way, but I think that there is more to being innovative than just the "new and cool" factor. In the end, the thing has to work, and it has to make sense.

Sometimes I get frustrated by innovation, because I think that I am forced more to think about creating something totally new than just creating a good product. I understand, though, that the "new and cool" is what sells a product and makes it valuable to the consumer... I just think that sometimes things like usability and human factors get lost in the quest for innovation.

In the end, it is important to realize that innovation can take many shapes, whether it is a different form, an ergonomic grip, new technology, or a completely new invention.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

some more illustrators i enjoy

Illustration has always been a huge inspiration for high school, I was pretty sure I wanted to be an illustrator, but on further thought, I realized that I wasn't so great at drawing backgrounds. Haha!

I thought I would share a few more of my favorite illustrators...

Tony DiTerlizzi: This is from the Spiderwick Chronicles books, which I have never read, but I have always enjoyed DiTerlizzi's illustration style.
Chris Sanders: Some of you might recognize his style from Disney's Lilo and Stitch. I love Sanders' watercolor paintings, they are so vibrant and full of color, but serene at the same time. Sanders is also someone who has a definite style...his art is instantly recognizable if you know his work.
Brett Helquist: I love Helquist's painting and drawing style....he uses a lot of hatching and crosshatching, even in his color paintings, which gives the pieces such interesting texture.

So those are just a few, I could go on and on, but I have managed to spend the last hour or so looking at I should probably move on to something else!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Refined computer concept

Today we presented our "final" concepts for the HP computer. Mine is for India...the idea is that it is for a classroom environment, where students would have their own flash memory drive that stores their data and settings for the it is almost like you have your own computer every time you use it, even though more than one student is using the computer every day.

Here's the rendering I presented. This week we are storyboarding for Des Comm, so maybe the concept will become a little clearer once I have that nailed down.

Final USB drives

Here are my final USB Drives for Des Comm class. Overall, I thought our class did a very impressive job with the USB project! I need to learn some super sweet rendering skills like others in the class....wish I was more comfortable with 3D rendering!

Here's a link
to my pdf process book, if you want to see the whole process....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

some laughs

Totally not design related, but thought I would post this to give everyone a few laughs while working on computers!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

One of my favorite illustrators

Growing up, I was not the typical girl who loved playing with Barbies and dolls and makeup. Instead, I liked dinosaurs.

Needless to say, I have always loved James Gurney's Dinotopia. At first, I was into it just because living with dinosaurs was my ultimate childhood fantasy. Now, I appreciate it for the art (and still a little bit for the dinosaurs!)

These paintings are way more intricate and detailed than any story board we would ever have to do, but I think you can still learn a lot from looking at them.
Each of these paintings tells a story...even though they are published in books with words, the words really aren't that necessary. This is a major challenge for us as designers...communicating our ideas without words.

This painting does an excellent job of showing movement with the blurred background.

This illustration is interesting because it shows the detail that went into creating Dinotopia: Gurney goes into all sorts of vehicles and devices used in the land of Dinotopia, making it feel real. Just like IDers dabble in illustration, illustrators dabble in ID!

Last but not least, here is a link to a slideshow of Gurney's painting process, which I found very interesting. As you can see, it all starts witha sketch!

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go draw dinosaurs....I mean, uh, computers?