Archive for the ‘CORE’ Category

C9 Understanding of packaging design

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge 2

Current working level 2

Having previously studied Packaging Design I would like to, or perhaps hope to think I had a reasonable amount of knowledge on the subject.

First and foremost a packages main aim is to contain a product,  this could be for security purposes on expensive items like an i-pod, or it could be simply for practical purposes such as a bag of apples.  A package can be used to project a products information,  perhaps the first thing a person notices on a package is the brand, this can come in the way of a well-known graphic such as coca-cola or even a colour such as the Cadbury’s purple.  However, the information on the package could be a legal requirement such as the amount of alcoholic units contained within a can of beer, or the weight of a food item.  Of course if you don’t know the brand, the most important information featured on the packet could actually be telling you whats inside!

When constructing a package you need to think about facilitating a products storage.  Is it going to be able to protect and store the product safely?  What will be the most cost-effective way of transporting as many products at one time?  How many of the product can you get onto one shelf at a time?  How many items can a store hold of your product?

This can often have a bearing on a packages design.   Designers may want to produce an innovative package but they will be given strict guidelines as to the maximum cubic centimetre they are allowed to design within.  If we think of how a product lines up on a shop shelf they are usually all in rows.  The shape of the package and therefore the way it can be laid out is aimed at maximizing  the amount that can be transported at any one time for minimal cost.  As well as the amount that can be fitted on a shelf at one time or stored in the least amount of space thus leading to bigger potential profits.

ready for the shelf

When designing the package you need to think of how it is going to be constructed.  What design or shape is going to hold the product effectively yet use the least amount of packaging and therefore be the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly.  You need to think about the materials a package is constructed in.  First of all will it be for practicality or will it be for strength and security.  Will any further wrapping or structure be needed within the outer packaging to contain the product safely?  Health and Safety is a huge issue so things like any sharp edges on the packaging need to be assessed.  Is there any inner items or small things that need to be clearly marked that could be hazardous to an adult or childs health?

Environmentally the government are extremely strict on the type of packaging that can be produced.   You must ensure that the packaging you use complies with environmental regulations. The weight and volume of the packaging must be the minimum necessary, and the packaging must be recoverable by recycling, incineration or composting. There are also limits on the level of heavy metals that can be present. All of these are important things needed to consider when designing your packaging.

So far I have had experience of  developing design drawings and creating net cardboard packages and also plastic vacuum forming.  Also creating prototypes, turning wood and sign foam and creating the labels on Photoshop through briefs given to me by various companies at Sheffield Hallam University.

Whether or not I will get the opportunity to produce my own packaging remains to be seen although there is no harm in considering the way my products can be packaged, especially if they were designed to be mass produced as packaging itself is a key component to housing and advertising with many factors that need to be considered to make the packaging viable.


Initial knowledge 2

Current working level 2.5

So  far I have a small amount of experience in modelling techniques.  I have produced models in basic card and corrugated card from a net form.  I have also produced small packaging models in sign foam by turning, sanding or cutting the foam.  Then preparing it using wet and dry paper to give it a cleaner finish.  Then spraying them with a primer and going on to spray paint them.

I have also produced small mock-up models by turning wood using the spindle technique and the circular sander and from these wooden models I have vacuum formed plastic over them to create a finished product.

I will be looking to develop a wider knowledge of modelling techniques over the course of the year perhaps producing a greater volume in a more varied range of materials.

Recently I have had to produce scale models for my plate storage unit.  As I found out it was vital to produce them to scale because what I thought was the correct size initially was too small for my designated design, following that I created one that I thought would be big enough which it was, however it was not really an economical use of space.  Finally I downsized which gave me the appropriate dimensions to produce my final product.

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I do not underestimate the importance of modelling and in future projects I intend to explore all manners of materials and media.  Having begun producing designs using computer aided design I now intend to produce some working scale models with the aid of computer manufacture.

Although I have developed a competent knowledge of using the 2D design and the Pro Desktop programme I don’t think I utilised them to their best ability during Deans project (please see C5).  On producing my 2D designs, when I came to manufacture them on the laser cutter I vastly misjudged the dimensions of them and so it was important to use spare bits of perspex to get the right size required for my ambiance light and I guess in a way this was modelling in itself as it helped me to achieve the correct size for the stand and the hole for the acrylic tube to run through it which did take a number of attempts.  I feel satisfied with this process as I had to source my own acrylic for the final design and had I jumped straight into the cutting a lot of it could have been wasted.

Again coinciding with the plate rack valuable lessons were learnt about size and dimensions and so the importance of modelling within the design process is apparent.  If anything I intend on introducing the modelling earlier into my forthcoming projects as a way of developing my designs because what looks correct on paper can be vastly misjudged when brought into the 3rd dimension.  It is apparent that modelling is an integral component of the design process and my aim is to fully utilize the process at the earliest opportunity in the future.

For ED320 I decided to produce a scale model (1:50) of how my space saving unit would be constructed.  It was a useful process as it gave me an indication of where the joints were going to fit within my product.  It threw up some questions as to where I needed to feature housings to accommodate paneling and gave me indications as to where I could improve upon the initial idea for instance the introduction of a back bar to add support.  It was quite a laborious process and in reality for this project I felt that the model I produced on PRO desktop was  perhaps more relevant as unlike the plate rack project it was not viable to produce a full scale model, although as an early indication of what laid ahead in the construction of the design it certainly was not without its merits.

modelling mortise and tenons

C7 Construction of working drawings

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge 1

Current working level 3

Although having never had to do a working or construction drawing I am certainly aware of the process.  Working drawings and specifications are probably the main tools used by a person or technician who has the task of constructing a product.  A working drawing should give a complete graphic description of  how a product fits together and how it should be constructed.  A set of working drawings can be both general and detailed with general drawings including plans and projections with the detailed drawings focusing on different sections and giving a more specific description of that part of the design.  A working drawing is the final ‘constructed’ drawing and is an important part of the design process.  It will usually consist of a front, side and plan view of a design but it usually co-insides with the complexity of the idea.  Dimensions in the drawing are necessary  so that any person looking at the working drawing would be able to manufacture the product.   Working drawings should be precise and drawn to scale e.g. 1:3 and it should be technically correct as a way of showing truly how a product is going to look.

In ED216 when creating my plate rack it was a fairly simple idea and so I did not have to go into huge technical detail about specific components of the product.  Although in my final design I did show different projections of the product and how it will look in 2 point perspective.

Plate rack final design

This is quite a basic drawing in all honesty, having looked further into working drawings I understand that the whole nature of them is to be an accurate representation of the final product and to also show how it is constructed.  My project for ED320 is certainly more technical than the plate rack and my aim will be to produce a professional portfolio with accurate working drawings throughout the design process.  I will be looking to produce a final presentation piece of technical accuracy and detail with the aid of a drawing board, T square and other instruments to take my drawings onto a higher level of professionalism.  I will be looking to create exploded view drawings that did not feature in my last project but will help show the construction of certain aspects of the design.There is also an application on Pro Desktop I will explore before the year is out that helps give an accurate working drawing of a design created with orthographic projections and dimensions.

For ED320 I have included exploded diagrams created using a drawing board and set squares drawn to scale 1:5 with a 30 degree isometric projection.  My final orthographic projections were again created on the drawing board but to scale 1:10.  I feel this represents a greater knowledge of constructing working drawings than I included in the first two projects, and also allows the reader to visually understand how my space saving unit will be created

Initial knowledge 2

Current working level 3

Prior to undertaking this course I did have a knowledge of basic visual presentation techniques.  I used to use various media when designing packaging in my previous course and these would include the use of graphic fine liners, pencil crayons, pastels, watercolours and monograph graphic pencils or indeed a mixture.  I have a knowledge of perspective drawing and can do 1 point, 2 point or 3 point drawings depending on the subject area.  It is an area that I enjoy working on as I feel  happier with a drawing once I have sketched and rendered it as I can  look at the design as complete.  I like to think that rendering enhances my drawings and allows me to present my work with a greater strength in visual communication.  I think it allows me to convey a depth to a 2 dimensional drawing and in some cases allows the onlooker to perhaps see how different materials will look.

However,  I have been told that I spend too much time sometimes rendering my initial ideas when a simple line drawing can introduce the idea and rendering can be saved for its development.  I am slightly stubborn in the fact that I have always worked a certain way and I like all of my pages to have strong visual communication as well as a design process.  One thing I need to do is get a balance correct as having undertaken Bhav’s project I did spend a lot of time with my presentation of ideas but I need to be careful of avoiding the trap of concentrating to much on the aesthetics of an idea rather than the content of its value.  In order to improve my visual communication I was made aware of marker pens being used as a media for more professional designers and although I had not used them before I thought it would be an opportunity to practise with them for ED216.   Here are some of the results.

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A lot of these were initial ideas and I recognise the fact I could have kept them  looser and more  sketchy in order for my ideas not to be pinned down too early and save the main rendering for development work later on in the project.  I will bare this in mind for my next project and rather than get bogged down in spending a lot of time rendering the initial ideas, maybe produce a larger body of designs to help improve my development and save the more impressive visual communication for later on in the design process.  It has been a while since I have drawn but it is one of my favourite parts of the design process and in the forthcoming project for ED302 I will be looking to improve on what I feel is a subject I am competent in to take my drawings to the next level and make them more professional.

For ED302 I took a slightly different approach.  I produced all my drawings first using fine liner and annotated them and then moved on to the next sheet, as such I produced a large body of work without drawing and rendering each page 1 by 1 and I found it a more efficient way of working, however………….. I don’t seem to be able to resist going back to the drawings and trying to enhance them  I wasn’t a fan of having pages and pages of black and white and so admittedly I did go back and render them all!  After the first page I started to wonder why as I new then I’d have to do the lot but looking through my folder I do get a sense of satisfaction (most of the time) that I made the effort and I tried to use a few different techniques that were slightly looser and quicker but still offered good visual communication.

Initial knowledge 1

Current working level 3

To be honest, prior to the course I had only a little knowledge of using computer aided design with a programme called RHYNO.  For my ambience light project I have begun to explore different types of programmes including 2D design and PRO desktop.  I am enjoying learning how to use the programmes and their features, and although the standard of the drawings may seem a little basic, I intend on using these programmes a lot more so I can realise their full potential and let them aid my designing

mood light 1 word mood light 2 n 3 word 5n6 word

My next step is to aim to produce my drawings on 2D design into fully operating models.  I have explored some of the features of the programme and intend to use the laser cutter to cut the shapes out in different sizes and angles so I can produce a 3 dimensional model before producing my final ambience light with the electrics that coincide with it.

whirlpool lights works whirlpool 2 works

Further 2D designs of this manner can be viewed at

As well as experimenting with 2D design I have also been playing around with Pro Desktop, although my first few tries are getting to know the package, I am fully aware of its power and intend to produce more complex designs as my confidence grows

ambiance light 1 colour.alb ambiance light 2 pro word ambiance light pro 3 word

5th word final design print screen final edit word

Following on from these designs I used the laser cutter to recreate them in acrylic, whilst allowing to get a sense of colour, shape and size for my final design.

this turned out to my final design but it was too large

I needed to learn how to re-size 2D design

2 colours of acrylic layered

A more suitable size for my lamp

modelling and layering my final design

my final model

angle from the base

Following ED216, I feel that I have certainly got to grips with the basic use of the programmes 2D design and Pro Desktop.  I self taught and had to do a lot of trial and error before being able to produce the work that I finally submitted.  I felt this was the best way to help me learn as although it was great to be shown the basics and in truth of utter importance,  I found that I was able to engage myself with the programme and although completely frustrating at times, it gave me a certain background knowledge of the way they operate and their potential.  Although competent,  my ambitition now is to be fully confident, in reflection I perhaps did not use the programmes to their full potential for producing computer manufactured models.  I am aware of the power that these programmes possess  but did not feel I reached my own or their  limit and did not use Pro Desktop to make any significant models using its dimensional prowess but instead chose to focus more on its visual and graphic comunication details as a way of portraying my designs.  I was however able to help certain classmates with different issues regarding their own work and felt a sense of achievement having put a lot of hours into developing my own knowledge.

The key for me now is to take on the knowledge I have so far built up and actively use it to produce not only designs, but full scale, dimensionally correct models and explore the use of machinery such as the 3d router to build on what in reflection I feel is a competent start.

For ED302 I decided that as well as making a foam board model I would also utilise PRO desktop to produce a dimensionally correct CAD model to feature in my folio.  After a more in depth look at  the program earlier on in the semester I felt I had a better understanding of how to dimension components and also how to create individual components and then mate, align or center axis them to form a full model.  For my space saving unit I found the process of creating the individual pieces of timber long winded but useful not only to see how the product will look but where I needed to apply things like housings to fit the panels featured in my designs.  All components were created using dimensioned toggle construction lines to get an accurate representation of what I would actually be producing and by aligning then mating the components I was able to assemble the individual components to form a full frame and the final product.

I found the process extremely useful as I was able to see how joints would fit, it indicated if a joint would not work, for instance if there were multiple joints on a thin piece of timber I could see they were overlapping and was able to change my design to accommodate the intersecting pieces.  I am definitely pleased I chose to expand on my CAD modelling as I feel it is the sort of thing you need to keep doing on a fairly regular basis in order to improve and refresh already gathered knowledge, it was a slightly frustrating process and at times I was not sure whether it was the program or just me making errors either way it seemed like pro Desktop  didn’t like me but I persevered and was satisfied with the results and and satisfied that I had expanded my knowledge and I now feel competent in the different aspects of CAD and dimensioned modelling.

example of CAD modelling

Initial knowledge 1

Current working level 2.5

When I think of product analysis I think of perhaps its structural design,  is it going to function as I have wished it to?  Perhaps analyzing faults within the product in order to make adjustments to improve upon the original idea.  I think using models in this instance is absolutely vital.  You can get to grips and analyse how the product is actually going to come together, whether it is going to be practical.  You can see in no uncertain terms what is working and what is not.  You are allowed to re-shape and re-size certain aspects that in effect looked good on paper, but in turn did not work out 3 dimensionally.  By analyzing the product, you can aid in its development, in its improvement.

As far as disassembly of a product goes, I believe it to be not only its actual physical disassembly at the end of its life, but what happens to the product after it has finished its use.   For example the recycling of a plastic bottle, how much does it cost to do? What effect does it have on the environment?  Legally what is required by the government?  This is something I will have to look into in further projects.

The brief for my plate rack design project was that I wanted to create something original that would fit into a contemporary kitchen.  So I conducted product analysis on existing ideas and also the items that featured in a current contemporary kitchen.  This way I was able to see the very basic shapes that were available but it also gave me detail of why these shapes were used.  The standardized shape had been created for practical purposes so  I was given an indication of what was working well within the design.  By analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the various ideas I was able to use aspects that would be suitable for my design but put a contemporary twist on it to help it stand out from competition but still be practical.  By analysing existing products in contemporary kitchens I was able to see what materials were used and their minimilistic style and could create a design to compliment these items.

I am writing this post reflectively and actually thinking back I am not sure I emphasised the product analysis enough in my research.  I did indicate certain areas of why I had chosen to do aspects of designs, but in my future projects I think I could make a bigger statement of intent by directly analysing individual products and identifying clearly the points which points could be improved upon and relate them to my individual designs.  I do try to do it constantly but it does emphasise the importance of annotating all work so that the reader can understand the thought process I am undertaking throughout the projects development.

In reality the plate rack was a fairly simple product.  Disassembly wise it was not made up of many components and thus would have been a simple process of taking the different parts apart and recycling them if necessary.  Where I feel I should have used product analysis and its dissasembly procedure to a greater extent was for my ambiance light.  I researched existing ideas and the different mood lights but I did not really take into consideration what was actually going on within the lights themselves.  Had I analysed deeper the workings of the lights and the components they featured I would have got a more accurate understanding of what I would need to consider when manufacturing my own light.  With more detailed analysis I could have seen how many leds would be needed to make an efficient light, what sort of power they will be using, and basically a better understanding of the electrical process that makes the light switch on.  In reflection I did not use a critical enough analysis of the products available and their disassembly and had I have chosen to do so I think it is obvious that I would have had more success with my lamp.

This is an important lesson learnt and in future projects I fully intend on using a more thorough analytical view and actually delve deeper into breaking down existing and my own products to get a better understanding of the individual components that would make the product a success.  By disassembling a product it may give me a clearer knowledge of how it works and what areas I feel work well that I could include or what areas I feel could be improved upon to make a viable solution.

Going back to electronics I have chosen to gain additional competence in digital electronics.  By initially finding out about what digital electronics is and what it looks like I have been able to understand the workings and layouts of various products available.  I have almost dissassembled digital electronics as a subject by breaking it down into sections, gaining a better understanding of its principals before applying them to my own circuits.  I have found this process rewarding as by stripping it back to basics I have managed to develop a clearer understanding of the subject matter as a whole and no longer find it as daunting as I had a good grasp of the basics before moving into more complex notions.  There was an element of just getting on with it for the ambiance light but  If I had used this method for the project I think I could have benefitted from diassembling the process of creating light, analysed it, considered it and come up with a better solution in my final idea.  Quite simply more clynical analysis originally would have allowed an understanding to find a more suitable solution.

With the introduction of CAD modelling as well as the inclusion of exploded diagrams in ED320  I have been able to analyse the way my product is assembled and therefore have a clearer idea of its diassembly procedures also.

C2 Conduct effective research

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Starting knowledge 2

Current working level 3

Conducting effective research before developing a new idea or product I believe  is absolutely vital.

First of all I  must understand the need of the product, why have I been asked to design it?  Who have I been asked to design it for?

You almost need to gain inspiration before designing a new product, this can come from looking at existing ideas already available to purchase.  Asking questions such as what does the market need?   Actually creating questionnaires or surveys directly asking people their opinions on what they would like and using the information to make an informed choice on what is needed.   Perhaps thinking about how I can create a product that doesn’t already look like something that is already available?  Which in turn is vital as to not adversely affect a company’s copy write laws!  Possibly looking for a niche within the market that can be explored and exploited to give my product the edge over its rivals.  Basically a good round observation of the market place as a whole is necessary so I can come to an evaluation about where my product will fit into the market.

Once deciding on where I believe my product may fit, I feel it is important to think about  how its going to be produced.  What sort of materials will I be using?  Will there be more than one material used?  How will these materials interact with one another and how will I be able to assemble them effectively?

The next question may be whether the materials are cost-effective.  Depending on whether the item is designed to be produced for the mass market in which case the lower the cost the better, or whether in fact it is a one-off product allowing for a little more expenditure.  Once this is decided I need to think about the processes which are going to be required in order to produce the product.

I usually start a project by doing a mood board to get some ideas flowing about what I am about to do.

Next I like to brainstorm some ideas, looking at where a product might fit, who is going to use it, how much is it going to cost, what is it going to be made out of e.t.c

Once I have decided on a product I need to think about customers and the target audience, where appropriate I usually like to conduct a survey asking potential customers their thoughts and ideas and hopefully look for  popular choices but try to exploit a gap within that  market.

Following this I think about where the product isgoing to be located and look at what is already available on the market and try to come up with something original in my initial set of ideas.

looking at location

existing ideas

Following this I research materials.  If you go to R2 there is some research on the materials I have used in my first 2 projects and mini tasks.

However, one thing I stated at the beginning of this section is that research should not only be about reading and writing about materials,
Research should include testing them and interacting with them and seeing how different materials might work together.  If I’m honest with myself although I did extensive research on the different materials available in ED216 however I didn’t work with them and test them as part of my research which in truth I should have done.  Research is an on-going process throughout a design folio and I need to remember that in the future.
Again in my space saving furniture project I have conducted my basis for research in a similar vein as the above.  But I think I have gone more in depth and looked at other factors that will be of importance.  I have looked at the materials and included research about sustainability but I have actively sought advice on the appropriate materials to use from professionals as well as testing them before using them in my project which I did not do in the previous projects.  I have also evaluated ergonomics and actively used the findings in my designs so I feel I have made an improvement on conducting effective research.  With the research I have undertaken I feel I have analysed it more and actively included it in the working process.  Whereas before I gained knowledge about subject matter, but was not critical enough in applying it to my work and therefore could have been viewed as conducting research but not effectively using it.