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Basic Formgiving Skills

Tu/e Elective

The assignments had a constructive order. The first lesson we started with just drawing basic shapes. After a walk though Eindhoven they asked us to draw objects we had passed on our way, in order to draw them we needed to break the forms down to basic shapes. The clue given here was that ideas in your head also consist of basic shapes and are thus easily to draw. What is the difference between the object you saw whilst travelling and the object in your head? Both do not stand physically in front of you, so you can just draw them the same way through using backs shapes.
The second part of the assignment we had to build a self drawn design. This form-study in MDF was to help us practise spray-painting and using the machines in Vertigo. ‘The devil is in the details.’ How good can you make it? How beautifully can you sand it? The goal was to make the transitions so smooth that no one would be able to notice the original MDF parts. This is particularly handy in case you’re building a prototype, if you do not have expensive materials at your disposal, then you must make sure that the alternative looks stunning.

How can you show your prototype best? As assignment we needed to imitate the chosen power socket as precise as possible. At the presentation of the products the lectures lifted the object and studied the back of our work. ‘But that isn’t what I want to show.’ ‘That doesn’t matter, because as a designer you need to make everything nicely also something like the back.’ The point being, that people pay attention to such small details. You are a designer, design everything, use your gift to put your product out there in the best possible way. Design even the tag explaining your product:

The devil is in the details- when presenting control every aspect that could influence your work.

In my first project I was able to experience this; one of my teammates made an user test prototype which did give the intended feeling, but looked really ugly. In stead of giving feedback on the feeling, what my teammate asked, people only commented on its shape. He didn’t understand why people kept commenting on the prototypes shape, that was after all not what he asked. That is however, simply what people pay attention to and only after the product looks nice people will be able to give useful feedback on for example the feeling. Because of this incident I made absolutely sure to make good use of this lesson in the future. So, in my current project I used the knowledge to make sure that we had a great presentation for our final prototypes. The posters, cards and pedestal all complimented our prototype, for which we fortunately received much praise.

The end-design for the assignment Basic Form-giving Skills required us to make an extended cord combined with a power socket. My final design was a modulair system. In my experience power sockets always have too less or too much free places, with my design the user can decide for himself how many places he wants. Another aspect of my design are the lights every ‘little tower’ has, these indicate whether the socket is being used or if it has been placed well. The setting I placed my design in was an office. This is why I choose black, simple forms. Which would make my design inconspicuous, suitable anywhere, classic yet modern and professional looking. The remaining point of attention would be safety; is it still possible to touch a free magnet (used to click the little towers together)? And thus; is this concept technologically possible?

It was especially nice to notice how I was able to implement the lessons learned during the assignment directly in my processes.

Lecturers: Bart Hengeveld and Miguel Bruns

Client: Tu/e

Year: 2014

Duration: ~80 hours, 8 weeks

Individual Work

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