By Herbert Hsu | 2013
W2: Problem Reframe - Reflecting ArtCenter
W9: Hacking Reality - Reveal the Red Box ( 21 ways to extinguish the fire )
W7: Vision Calibration - New DMV
W10: Creative Remix - Milk of Ethics (Creative Strategies X Radical Green)
Creative Strategies is the course in ArtCenter led by Fridolin Beisert. Ten strategies are developed in ten weeks to deliver creative projects. Students and instructors give crits and challenge the designer to develop their critical thinking and ideas even further. Various background and profession each designer holds make the intense design works and review full of sparks, surprise and laughter.
W8: Changing Perspective - Shelter 409110
Ask the question
Given the brief “Take a photo of the ArtCenter experience for the new catalogue“, the project ask us to reframe the original question to develop new design. The catalogue is for the people not in ArtCenter to know more about the school, and that is the starting point of my concept.
The making of reflection
How to present reflection visually? I find that eyes are perfect subject for the photo representation for reflection. I started to observe eyes of my friends and I took photos of them, and tried to find what is the best to tell the story of experience. I use the iconic bridge of ACCD as the symbol of the ACCD experience, and I edit the photo of my eye with the image of the bridge on it.
The idea is further enhanced when I choose not to take away the bloodshot in the eye which represent the intensity and determination of this experience. I also made some graphical elements for the catalogue. Altogether, it is the reframed Experience of ArtCenter.
Reflect the experience in ArtCenter
Eyes are the windows for reflection. The eye presented reflects the experience in ArtCenter. As students just enter ACCD, the bridge is the what the student first see. After years of study, the image of the bridge will be marked on the eyes of the students, and will always be with them. This reflection is the experience in ArtCenter, which all the students here will recognize and remember.
Driving Change or Driving Mad?
When people talk about DMV, the same experience shared is how inefficient it is and how they hate to go there. No one likes DMV, but you can’t get away with it. When DMV tells people it is about driving change, I wonder if DMV can start changing itself?
Calibrate DMV visual identity
There are evidence show DMV tries to make improvement. It has online services that allow people to make appointment in advance so they don’t need to wait in the DMV. However, I find the design of DMV website is so inconsistent with DMV image elsewhere. When I entered the website I thought I might enter the wrong site. So I decide to calibrate DMV’s visual identity to align with it’s mission to serve people more efficiently.
Starting from the website and its Facebook page, I pull out the visual elements and logos it uses. I also collect the identity DMV uses on the print-out documents. The inconsistency is very obviously shown, and I decided not to destroy the whole VI but to give it a consistence design guideline.
The New DMV
The vision of DMV is driving change, and provide better service to make your life easier. With that in mind, DMV introduces the new logo and identity to give people a more clear, modern new look. The new design can be applied to different occasions and environments. It’s also recognizable in black and white print as well as new digital interface. With the new look of DMV, it will be easier.
A day in the life of a sparrow
The challenge is to change perspective and design for a small creature. I look out the window of my apartment; I see sparrows.
Taking sparrow as the target to design the product for, I investigate what is surrounding the bird in its day in life. Among the surrounding things, its home, meaning its shelter, is one of the most potential to be designed.
Shalley the sparrow in ArtCenter
To design a home for the sparrow, I create a persona for it. Her name is Shalley. as a product design student in ArtCenter student, she has to work very hard everyday to produce great work. Sometimes she works so late that she needs a place to rest since it’s to dangerous to fly back to her house in the middle of night. Poor Shalley, what if there is a way for her to stay at school to for the perfection of work without compromising the need for nap?
The shlter for sparrows in ACCD
The design guideline is that the house for Shalley shouldn’t be permanent since no students can have their permanent belonging occupies the school’s space. Also, the shelter perform as a barrier for sparrow to rest well with privacy. The designing process begins, and I design a tent-shaped shelter that can be easily assembled, and provide private space for Shalley.
Make the shelter for Shalley
A small scale paper prototype is made to test the assembly and the final shape. Some detail of design is also made during the prototyping phase, and then I start to find the right material to produce the final shelter model. In order to make the shelter fit in the actual ACCD context, I add more details into the final model, such as, referencing the check-out system of ACCD model-shop and create a bar code sticker for sparrow’s shelter.
To better serve the need of sparrow students in ArtCenter, there are temporary shelters in the model-shop that student can use their ID to check-out for free. Our friendly staff in the shop will help sparrows assemble their shelter and hang it in a empty classroom. All the sparrow need to do is pick a preferred tree stick and put it in, and ready to enjoy a good nap in it. If the sparrow like it very much, the shelter is also for sell that it can be the perfect house for the bird family.
After doing the work at around 2am, Shalley the sparrow is too tired to fly back to her house in Pasadena.
It checks out a shelter and hangs it in the studio room while other human friends will need to drive back home with half eyes closed.
The shelter prevents Shalley from being bothered. A good sleep will help her continues working in the next day.
Hacking reality in ACCD
Hacking reality has multiple purpose, and one of them is to raise the curiosity or awareness of the people to our physical environment; a perfect example is the Piano stair in the subway Stockholm. Give the challenge, I start to observe the environment and try to find a pattern. I find in our long, cold campus corridor, there is always a red box, the fire extinguisher box.
What is the pattern of the red box? I find that it is almost in front of every major departments. I wonder if I can make a exhibition to reveal that fact by creating tiny pieces representing each department and exhibiting them on or in the box. The idea soon changed since there are far more red boxes than I thought, totally 21. Many of them I can’t find a topic for, and most important of all, it would be beyond my bandwidth to produce 21 objects in less than a week. The final thoughts turn to still making a exhibition around the red box, but the exhibition is about the red box itself.
What’s in the red box?
It’s there for the emergency, and for the most of the time, it’s there for nothing, and no-one even pay attention to it. The red box is always closed and quiet. People will never know what’s inside until there are really issues happened and we need the fire extinguisher, but, are we so certain what’s inside the box?
Is there a hose? or a extinguisher? or both? or the worst case, it’s empty. I decide to anchor my direction on revealing all 21 red boxes in a creative way.
Ask the question differently
I try to ask myself if it is me the first time seeing the ACCD catalogue, what would I expect except the works of the students? and I ask another question “What is my experience in ACCD?“, then “What does ACCD give you?“, “What did you do in ACCD?“, “How your progress can be seen?“, “What can be shown?“, and the final one “How you reflect ArtCenter experience?“. Experience leas to reflection, and people can't reflect without experience. That's the concept.
Creative Strategies in ArtCenter
What kills the fire?
I brainstorm 21 different methods of putting off fire, including traditional methods like water, soda, and even the Gods in Western and Eastern in charge of sea and water. I put individual methods inside a graphical space and print them out. The graphical space is designed with the reds to make it feel like it is a hole on the red box.
21 ways to extinguish the fire
21 ways to extinguish the fire is a hack into the fire extinguisher box in ArtCenter. It reveals the red boxes normally ignored in a creative way by showing what it could possibly be. It is also an ambient exhibition in the campus that shows a creative detail.
Creative Strategy X Radical Green
In terms of green thinking or eco- logical awareness, there are ethical difference between individuals.; That’s what I learned from another class called “Radical Green” by Claude Wiley. In Claude’s teaching, ecological ethics can be categorized into three:
Light Green ethics
This is the most common practice people take; an anthropocentric approach that we value nature as resources. In order for human to survive we should protect the environment. It is all about the interest of human, and in this way we're managing the nature rather than being part of it.
Mid Green ethics
People with Mid Green Ethics acknowledge the right and intrinsic values of other living things and animals. They agree that animals should have certain rights just like human. However, that level of acknowledgment has a limit that when it comes to human right, the right of animals should still be sacrificed.
Dark Green ethics
It is also called ecocentric approach. people with Dark Green ethics see human as only parts of nature and share the same right with other beings on the planet. In this case, the living right of other beings weighs the same as human, and If necessary, human should sacrifice their own rights in order not to damage the right of other living things in the ecosystem.
The puzzle of ethics
The project is about how I can visualize and show the difference of ethics as a designer. In the beginning I found the idea of puzzles interesting because there are several pieces that completes the whole, just as pieces of ethical choices completes a person. However, in this approach I find it difficult to show the thinking behind each ethic.
Productize the ethic choices: Milk
The second idea is to make a series of products based on those ethical concerns, and by comparing the products, the ethical thinking can be revealed clearly.
In terms of the choice of product, milk suddenly comes to my mind. Milk is such a typical product the human abuse other animals to make while there are many alternatives available. Also, it is a everyday product that can easily make people reflect their experience.
Realistic packaging design of the future
In order to make the project more convincing, I studied a lot of different dairy packaging and I also consult friends in graphic design major. From overall design styles to detail content information, they are all be on my new designed milks. Finally, I design the product to be more futuristic in terms of the content as well as the packaging.
Ultimate Milk (Light Green Ethics)
The future of milk of Light Green Ethics is Ultimate Milk. Human with the technology of cloning can assure every cloned cows are identically the same. By using this method, human engineered three different types of cow that produce the mix of milk caters to different human needs. The engineered cows require less food and produce less pollution. Light Green people see this technology as the cure for environmental problem, and they have the milk with the best nutrition.
Algae Essence (Mid Green Ethics)
Algae Essence is the future of milk of Mid Green Ethics Humans realize they shouldn’t torture cows in order to get the milk from them. The technology that extracts the essence from algae is then developed. The essence is rich in protein and other nutrients no less than cow milk. The industry of collecting algae is very clean and sustainable; this algae can be found in the ponds or any watershed, making it the perfect replacement of cow milk.
Annie’s Human Breast Milk (Dark Green Ethics)
The milk industry changes because of the ecological awareness among the society. Human should no longer employ other living things for nutrient resources. Annie’s is the first company to answer the call and start to commercialize human breast milk. They hire unemployed female to produce milk, so it creates job for local people. Annie’s follows industry practice in dairy production of disinfection, also with further process it offers wide spectrums of products includes low-fat and flavored.
Annie’s believes this is the most eco-friendly, and most ethical way of human to live sustainably and responsibly on the planet.
Special thanks to advisor Fridolin Beisert for all the teaching in Creative Strategies, and also thank Claude Wiley for teaching me Radical Green.
Creative approach on design
Rapid design & presentaion
Carton packaging design and prototyping
Five selected mini projects from the course Creative Strategy given by Fridolin Beisert in ArtCenter manifest creativity in design
In a Nutshell