Sunday, 23 November 2014

Baffled: Design Ideas & Presentation

I started the design process by creating a mind map of different ideas and followed that up with some sketches of how the folding would work and how the surround would hold itself upright.

My general thoughts were to get the baffle to fold down to the size of a packet of pocket tissues, so they could be carried in any size handbag or rucksack.  I also explored the idea of a self-inflating baffle with a low density foam core that could be compressed down very small but would inflate discreetly.  A self-inflating model could also then be used as a head rest in a noisy train to lessen the noise around the passenger.

When I presented my sketches last week, I felt that I had looked at this project from all realistic angles and come up with some novel solutions.  I knew that my sketches were a bit lacking - to be honest I've really struggled with the whole magic marker thing.  I've looked at all the recommended books and done some practice but I ended up colouring my sketches in with chalk pastels as I just felt more comfortable with that.  Also, I feel like I've never had to draw something with no real references before.  I've painted oil portraits and acrylic still life and have done a number of water colour botanical illustrations, so it's not like I don't know how to draw organic shapes (actually, my lecturer didn't realise that I've had such a varied arts background, sometimes it gets hidden behind my engineering background), I just prefer geometric precision and line drawing and I think my style is similar to traditional engineering drawings.

Actually, the bulk of the criticism I got was about the form factor of the product.  I've found it hard to get to grips with this as I've never considered products to have to represent something, or inspire the user, as well as just being a product.  I appreciate and understand the feedback that I've gotten, and am going to try to explore different form options, trying to pull inspiration from various places.

I think that's what is going to be the challenging part of this module for me.  Whereas the other students with arts backgrounds are working hard learning engineering and digital design, I am having to really prove that I can marry art and design, and that engineering doesn't define me.  Just because I have a first class honours Masters degree in Engineering (cue the trumpet fanfare), doesn't mean that I'm not just as much an artist and designer as my fellow students, I just need to get back into the swing of it.

Out comes the sketch book...

Books I've been reading:
Learning curves: an inspiring guide to improve your design sketch skills - Klara Sjolen
The language of things - Deyan Sudjic
Materials for inspirational design - Chris Lefteri