Sunday, December 7, 2008

Des Comm Evaluation

There have been both positive and negative aspects of the des comm quarter this fall quarter.

Some successes would include the fact that Mike Roller was our teacher and that he was really willing to help us learn and grow as design students. I feel like he can really relate to us and has given us great tips on how to be a better presenter and really sell our designs. He has prepared us very well for the future and has really got us thinking about what we want to do when we graduate.

Another success I feel was when Mike approached us before the start of the quarter and asked us what we wanted to learn. This alone showed me personally that he actually cares about our development and wants us to have fun while being given projects, because sometimes I find that I'm not at all interested in some projects that Im forced to put my time in and I think that affects the outcome.

Some possible ways to improve the course could be to have a little more time to finish certain projects (even if that means not having as many projects) because I'd rather spend more time in my design to have a well developed design in the end. Another improvement may be to do more digital presentations so that we arent wasting paper and time pinning up numerous papers.

Fall '08 Evaluation

I am actually proud of myself and my achievements this quarter (which is rare because I am usually disappointed with the outcome of many projects in previous quarters).

This quarter I have been designing without really thinking of them as "school projects". Instead I have been in a mindset of thinking about if my products could actually be in production. As a result, I have been thinking a lot more practically while still being unique (I always strive to be different from everyone in studio).

On the other hand, I still recognize many things that I need to improve on. For example, I would like to work on starting on projects the moment they are assigned for next quarter. This way, I wont have to be in a situation where I am sick and end up really behind when I am well or feel obligated to settle on a concept or idea that I am on the edge about but have to follow through for the sake of time. Also, I definitely plan on being more pro-active about helping out everyone else in studio during critiques because sometimes the best people to give you advice on how to improve are my own peers. At the same time, I will take in more information that I get during critiques and not take for granted the fact that I have other people who are one the same level as me and willing to help me improve just as they do.

Blog Evaluation

Throughout the quarter as I have been writing blogs, I have thought a lot about how effective this sort of communication is.

As a designer, I am always looking for sources of inspiration and ways to expand my overall knowledge. I feel like reading other people's blogs helps alot with really getting a grasp on a person's ideas and philosophies because when I write in my blogs I am truly expressing my feelings (kind of like a journal but open to the public) therefore I am giving other people an opportunity to know what I think about a certain aspect of design without any sugar coating; everything is real and honost (unlike a critique where sometimes I have to bend over backwards to sell my designs).

Sometimes when Im looking at blogs online I scroll down to ones that show the designer's work. I love looking at really nice concepts and renders because it motivates me to do better and increase my standards for myself.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Interview Notes

I interviewed my mom’s cousin Victor Robertson who is a designer/ inventor.

I asked him 5 of the following questions that focused on design communication and his different approaches and methods.

1. When you are given a project to work on how do you tackle the problem so that you are able to come up with a successful concept in the end?

One of the things that I have learned in this profession (and something you will soon learn when you get a career) is that companies are passionate about their work but at the end of the day their main goal is to make money as well as make an impact on the industry somehow. As a result, I approach the problem in a way that expresses my creative input but will also be beneficial to them in terms of profit. Sometimes this is done by toning down my outrageous ideas and design products that are more practical.

2. When it comes time to presenting your concept to the company or client, how do you go about doing this?

First I do a little research (depending on time and the project will determine how in depth I will go with research) to kind of see what kind of similar products are out there and how to make them better. Then I do some quick thumbnails just to get my ideas on paper, then do more developed sketches with specific functions, forms, etc. Then I try to figure out a clever way of showing how this product will interact with the person.

3. I am constantly in the process of updating my portfolio, do you have any suggestions for me on how I can show my work effectively to get the job that I want?

Well, one thing that I always tell people is to show your products in a way that they completely speak for themselves. As you may already know, designers have a very short attention span so I feel like any way to get your point across with little explanation necessary is a great approach. Another thing you can focus on is the overall layout of your portfolio: effective fonts, simplicity is a big one, and showing different portfolios to different clients according to their specialty (they don’t have to be completely different portfolios but maybe have some that have certain projects in comparison to others).

4. You’ve seen the design industry grow over many years, how has the industry progressed when it comes to the way ideas are made and presented.

Well I have noticed that companies are hiring more and more young people which is great because it brings in a fresh new perspective each time someone new is hired. As a result, our ideas are more dynamic and we will have a wide range of ideas.

5. Is it frustrating when no one seems to grasp your ideas?

Yes it can be, especially when you feel like you have something substantial. However, it is my job to be able to understand why someone doesn’t understand an idea. Also, a lot of times people don’t understand something simply because they can’t relate to it. Therefore, I try my best to present concepts in different contexts so that we’re all on the same page.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Reviewing Earlier Goals

I looked back at what my goals were earlier in the quarter and they mainly focused on producing better thought out projects and designing something more practical and production worthy as opposed to just making something that looks cool; also to have a thorough process for my project for my portfolio.

I would say that I am at a point in the quarter where I am proud at the progress I have made. Specifically with my HP project, I have really focused on what the consumers' needs are and how this electronic is going to make their lives better. I am still concerned on the aesthetics but I really want a successful design where form and function go hand and hand. I feel like I am well on my way, and at this point I am hoping to deliver a model that will communicate effectively to the panel.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Individual Strengths

I feel like my individual strengths as a designer center around the fact that I'm always developing concepts that are very different than many other peoples' ideas (for example the people in my studio). I feel like being a designer gives me freedom to produce whatever crazy ideas are floating through my head; it's almost irresponsible in my opinion to just design to conform or to not step outside of the box sometimes. Another strength I would say is designing for people that are less fortunate; giving people who can't afford certain luxories a chance to interact with innovative and modern products.

I focus on these strengths by finding ways to improve existing products that people aren't thinking of. When I'm ideating, I try to mentally put myself in someone's shoes who have certain obstacles in their everyday life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Favorite Approach to Design

I approach design in a way that puts functionality over aesthetics. Not too long ago, I was really trying to think of what I want to do with a career like this because, although it would be fun, I don't want to just have a job that only involves making stuff look cool.

More specifically, I am currently designing a desktop computer for a sponsored studio with HP. Our main goal is to end with a product that is sustainable and will thrive in the marketplace. Usually in past products I end up forgetting what my initial goal is. I used to focus primarily on how the product looked as opposed to what it will do for the consumer. I am doing my best to constantly think of my demographic and how this computer will affect their lifestyle (positively as well as negatively).

In addition to this, it's a lot easier to make something look cool than it is to make something that will improve someone's life. I feel like truly successful design will make a drastic impact on someones life.

Successful Illustrator

An illustrator that I found to be amazing is Gus DeGuzman. He is a fashion illustrator and I've recently been looking at his work for inspiration. His style is really unique; he uses realistic proportions but with an abstract twist.

Flash Drive Project

I learned alot about creating interesting/ intrigueing sketch/ render layouts. I also learned that there should be nothing holding me back, unless under strict constraints. Sometimes I play it safe with my designs and I learned that I am capable of creating something cool and production worthy all I have to do convince myself that it can be done.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2nd Inspirational Designer

Another designer that inspires me is Naoto Fukasawa.  He is a world renowned designer and i admire him and have a lot of respect for him because of all of the awards he has won and all of the hard work he put into his designs which have also influenced other designers.  One of the main reasons why I admire him is because he is very dynamic and has designed products from umbrellas to electronics.  This is important for me because when I graduate there are so many areas that I want to go into and he has proven that it can be done.

Naoto is similiar to Bvlgari because they both appeal to the high end market with their intricate and sophisticated forms and materials.

They are different because Bvlgari is more of a fashion/ accessory designer and Naoto is an industrial designer.  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inspiring Designer

One designer that I am really inspired by is Bvlgari. I feel like Bvlgari accessories, bags, etc. are very sophisticated but also trendy and cool at the same time. They do a successful job appealing to all ages; it is a high end brand but for those who have the money I feel would really like their products.

I really like the prints, materials, and textures that they use for a lot of their bags and ties. I'm not really a jewelry person but if I were I would definitely shop at Bvlgari.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

3 Technologies

One technology that will affect the way we live is digital television. Starting in I think January TV will be all digital and this will affect mainly lower income or older families who are used to analog TV. In general, this will create an awareness that technology isn't just changing for those who can afford "cool stuff" but it's changing for everyone whether they like it or not (no matter how conservative either, lol ;)

Another technology that will change the way we live is the Internet. Pretty soon books, magazines, etc. will most likely cease to exist because these days (and moreso in the future) you can access almost everything on the computer.

A third technology is the mp3. Music is a constant flow of evolution that went from records to a-tracks to cassettes to CDs and now mp3s. Pretty soon all those before CDs will cease to exist as well. This will drastically change the way we live because all of our stereos, cars, etc. will have to all have to change to adjust to the iPods, Zunes, and other mp3 players.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Favorite Movie Trailer

My favorite movie trailer so far is the one for The Dark Knight. I thought this one was a good teaser because they really got people excited about seeing the actors and the way they portrayed their characters. Especially after the death of Heath Ledger, people couldn't wait to see him more than Batman and I feel like the trailer put a little more emphasis on The Joker which I feel was a successful move on their part because of the amount of people they will draw in, while also not exploiting him insensitively. Other than this, one of the main reasons why someone would want to go to a superhero movie like The Dark Knight is to see action and adventure and basically to see a bunch of stuff explode, which is exactly what the trailer portrayed.

Strong Brand

I feel like New Balance is a great example of a brand that communicates a clear and strong message. They stand for a genuine shoe company that stresses the importance of the actual performance of the shoe above aesthetics. They communicate to their consumers and fans that they are there to help them with their issues related to their feet for everday walking as well as being active with sports. By focusing on the overall stability, stress relief, etc. of the insoles as well as the shoes themselves, New Balance has successfully remained a trustworthy brand that consumers can return to for comfort.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interesting Blog Post

I read a blog about portfolio design entitled "Portfolio day might make you cry, but it's worth it".

This blog talks about AIGA portfolio day and how it's a great way to network yourself with local designers who may be hiring at the moment (which is important for me especially because I will soon be graduating and looking for a job).

I love the quote "you are more than your portfolio".

This basically applies to the fact that even though your portfolio is amazing there should be so much more to offer to a company.

Erik Spiekermann's quote in the blog, "Portfolios don’t matter. You hire the person, not the portfolio" may be going a little too far but I can kind of see where he's going with that. My portfolio shows what I already know and what I have done thus far but doesn't explain my full potential for growth and adapting which may be beneficial to a certain company. The portfolio may get me an interview but I have to rely on my personality, determination, passion, etc. to show the employer that I have what it takes to take things to the next level.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


My name is Stefan Martin and I am a 4th year industrial design student. So far my design experiences have consisted of school projects such as toys, concept art, power tools, computers, etc. In terms of co-op, my first professional practice was with the Live Well Collaborative working on a Pur water filtration project. This was a good experience to mainly learn about marketing, business, and overall research within the design process. My second co-op was at New Balance which I enjoyed a lot because of my passion for shoe design. I just returned from GE Appliances this passed summer and I feel like I have progressed a lot in terms of my sketching ability, Solidworks skills, communication skills, etc. during my time there.

I would say that my interests relating to design are endless. Part of the reason why I am in this field is because there are so many opportunities. I'm interested in shoes, furniture, consumer electronics, and appliances but I'm also interested in graphic design and fashion design as well. I think my passion in design will give me a great platform for when I am searching for a career.

As far as this quarter goes, my goals are pretty much centered around producing better final products than I have in the past. I feel that my process is good but I will need to deliver much better. Also, I plan on progressing in my sketching and communication skills while having well thought out projects to put in my portfolio.