Where is the factory that they send all the ID people to to make them draw things the same way? I mean seriously, this guy's stuff looks nice, but it looks exactly like every car concept drawing I've ever seen. Its like going to McDonalds. The fries taste just like the chicken which tastes just like the burgers. Do they all go to the Conformist Institute? or maybe they just all read the same magazines, which is what made 1701 so smart (but spell so poorly).
Must be the same place that brainwashes them to be so self-congratulatory.
I will accept some of the crits based on what Ive shown in the blog- I am the first to say that the posts so far are not designed to sell the products themselves. All the stuff so far is demonstration of Solidworks capabilities. I have not really posted real development work for the ID work I do.
Also who cares about the sketches? Who cares if the sketch is on a marker doodle on the fore-arm? The important thing is to solve problems. I was personally happy with the squirt bottle, based on existing market solutions. I approached it from a power-tool design perspective. None of the units hook over your hand well. Their triggers' sharp edges rest on your fingers, and the angle is ergonomically incorrect for spraying.
Further the shapes do not flow with the palm of your hand and are pretty broken up. I actually went and purchased a few bottles to see construction methods to see what could be eliminated, buttressed or approached differently. There were enough low lying fruit that I did not have to examine too far to get a decent improvement. Granted I have not prototyped or tested, but that wasnt the point of the project. The point here was to create a software demonstration. Again the priorities are totally different, but I wanted to show a concept that was at least well thought out.
If you have specific crits as to lack of originality or specific improvements, that would be appreciated.
I appreciated the video on the helmet - it is cool to see the process, and the experimentation/back-and-forth isntead of just the final presentation sketch. Wacomb tablet? We have been seriosuly considering getting one. Ed
Yup- Wacom tablet.(Intuos2 9x12) Definitely worth the expense as far as I am concerned. The only disadvantage to them is that it is harder to create a paper trail of your ideas. But the huge upside is the natural movement, emulation of pencil and paper, and what I think is an increase in speed. The wacom is directly mapped to the screen and so you can see the pointer jump from one are to the other instead of rolling across. Wacom sales might actually ship you a demo unit if you talk to them. Of course this would probably be for their higher end units.
Odd comment from Daisy - when I am at a design review with stuff from five designers, I can usually tell who did what based on their styles. There is a difference in line weight, choice of views, use of color, the pens or pencils they prefer, etc. Ummm... why do all the Engineers detail drawings look the same?
- Ed Eaton
P.S. Oh, I could leave it at that, but how could I pass on the opportunity to go on and on in detail for a little bit? I've got to be me.
AND... I have to acknowledge that the dude has a point. There does appear to be a general conformity in how designers, or at least really good ones like Parel, make presentation sketches (personal to Daisy - I will ignore the weird potshot aimed at me. Are you catching on to how I dissect the content from the attitude of the poster? I stand by that. You made a good point, and I just ignore the meaner junk)
I have also noticed and made snide jokes about how sketches look homogenous, but when I gave it some thought last nigth I saw that there are good reasons for that perceived similarity.
The conventions used in presentation sketching have evolved over the years, just like the conventions in shop drawings have evolved over the centuries (when was the last time you put a serif font or a curly leader on a drawing?). This is not to be confused with thumbnail sketching, which can look like scribbles from anybody.
I would say that the driving factors for this apparent conformity are how people interpret sketches, advances in technology, and competition for jobs+fashion
First, we can't change how humans perceive things or increase the time they have to invest in understanding a sketch. Sketching techniques have evolved over the years to get the idea across as unambiguously as possible as fast as possible - you have just a few seconds of your audience's time to get them to understand a concept, and you have to make the most out of that time. The sort of sketching you see from Industrial Designers works, so we evolve to do what works or we are weeded out. Its like writing, another form of communication
- we can all experiment with writing styles in our own time, but in business we use short, organized structures (bullets, short paragraphs, no fluff, even sentence fragments) because it is efficient, it works, and it fits with the readers expectations.
Second, the available tools influence the style of the presentation sketches, just like the tools in your shop or the vendors you use influence the products you design. Early designers used ink and water colors. I love Frank Lloyd Wrights presentation sketches, but would never go want to do it because watercolor is messy and a bitch to master (all my attempts have devolved into a messy gray). In my old man's day (I'm a 2nd generation ID), they upped the bar and used air brushes to fill in color and it would take a couple of days to get out a presentation sketch (lots of masking). Take a look at car concepts from the forties, fifties, and maybe early sixties. When I was starting off in the mid nineties, it was the last hurrah of several decades of markers. They were a lot faster, but still- when you put down a line of color, you were kind of stuck with it. You could bang out a rendering like Parel's helmet in half a day, but if you wanted to experiment with color you would have to do it on a side sheet, adding time. And it still wouldn't look quite as nice unless you spent the better part of a day (or more) on it. A few years ago it was mostly computer rendered orthographics - lay out the design in Illustrator and color it in Illustrator or Pshop (still used a lot, BTW, but it has limitations - you can walk through stores and identify the products designed this way if you pay attention) Today, using a tablet you can bang out a perspective rendering AND experiment at the same time, all within a few hours. Sweet increase in productivity, and also allows the designer a little more room to experiment and push out more designs. To sum up - "It's the technology, stupid".
Third, there is fashion as a result of the evolution of sketching. We see something that was effective in someone else's sketches and we use it ourselves, be it line weights, contour lines, whatever. There are conventions that have evolved for sketching glass as people copied from one another, because they just work - everyone that looks at it interprets it as glass, so we use it. There are conventions for repetitive patterns (we don't draw every hole in a perf panel, just a few here and there to get the idea across). There are conventions for using heavier weight lines at the back of the sketch to reinforce the depth.
We sketch like we sketch because it is efficient and it works, not because we went to a 'conformist institute' (and who the f*** told you about that???? I need to get a name to pass on to ID central command or they will confiscate my square glasses).
Personally, I admire the current trends, and if I were starting off I would feel pressure to sketch like that because people looking to hire me would interpret a mastery of that style as someone who also understands design. But I am 37, and am ultimately smitten with the heavier sketching (lots of blacks with maybe some washes of gray if I feel up to it) that I grew up with, like Joe Johnston used to do for ILM. I also have a pencil sketching style that is crisp and quite effective, and frankly most of my stuff is done like that because it communicates well and is fast to do (but I usually present to technical people - if I had to do stuff for marketing folks, I would pull out the big guns and add pizzazz and color because that is what they have been trained to read) Old goat, signing off...
mikemcd: thanks- I will try and get it more realistic next time. Ed- agreed with what you said. Though I can appreciate an interesting sketch, I believe that I evolved my personal technique as a mish mash from the designers I work with, the work I see online, ArtCenter techniques and from the techniques of Ryan Church. However I ferreted out all these sources not to become an individual looking sketch artist, but somene who can quickly pump out as many directions as possible.
The crux of the sketch is that it is merely a means to an end. I am not really worried if my sketch looks like everybody elses. If the design is generic however thats the problem. I am still working on that. It is only recently that I have grown comfortable with my sketch technique and its abitility to represent shapes. I still have a lot to goas far as clearly representing mechanical concepts and manually drawing exploded view during meetings.
The frustrating part of designing products, is partially my own lack of knowledge of all the manufacturing processes possible in China (it is a pity that you can have really cool processes available domestically that the marketing team doesnt consider because of location), working with skittish marketing teams, as well as time-frame. I suscribe to many different publications to get me more information about materials and processes, but time-frame of development usually means that the development team is not particularly interested in rocking the boat. My own fear is that I am slowly becoming too much of a trouble-shooter not exploring ideas, but evaluating those created by others. So any empirical comments regarding generating genuinely new ideas are much appreciated.
Yup. I think this is common - thatnks for confirming. I might add that while designers want to pump out as many concepts as possible, there is still pressure to take more time to make them more readable and appealing. For instance, things like vignettes in the background add time, but they help clarify what is object and what is negative space, and a well-chosen vignette can reinforce the message (I've seen rocky vignettes for climbing gear, ice for a coolers, flowers for feminine/softer products, etc. I saw a contest that was won not because of the concept imo, but because of the Japanese kid smelling a flower in the vignette). When it comes to how much pizazz to throw in, the bottom line is that when faced with many concepts, the audience will gravitate towards colored ones or really spectacular ones with interesting views - that's a little bit of human nature that can be manipulated to steer your audience when you need to, like in a rendering contest (back to Mikes comment). Fortunately, I don't have to play that game much anymore. But I used to work with a guy who would always go larger and with more color than the job was spec'd at, but darn it, his stuff got chosen a lot because on a wall of 8.5x11 black-and-white sketches he delivered
14x17 color renderings - I keep that in mind for the next time I have to play that competitive game
What I find hard to keep up with is the constantly shifting costs of different materials and manufacturing processes coupled with the drastic changes in tooling costs we have seen in the last decade. On one job, we tried to shift an aluminum extrusion to a plastic extrusion when the cost was coming in too high, and I'm still a bit incredualous that the savings from the change were trivial. With injection mold prices in china dropping fast compared to extrusion dies, we might consider just molding the parts (or die casting! Unlikely, but its that crazy right now) I used to have links to various material price resources that I would refer to, but by the time you finish the design things could flip due to fluctuations, so I frankly don't bother anymore. I just work close with the manufacturer or manufacturers rep after we have an initial design, review the costed BOM, and look for opportunities.
In my expereince, as the design develops and costs of the things that 'have to be there' gel, manufacturing processes suggest themselves. Still, there's voodoo to those manufacturing processes, AND still more voodoo when you apply the process to the client. For some customers, it's desirable from their perspective to mold several parts and screw them together (?? - too long to go into) while for others part count and assembly time are paramount. Some are averse to tooling investments, while others just don't care. Corporate culture can obsolete any research on materials and processes - have you noticed how many times accountants, cost centers, whether tooling is amortized or purchased from a separate budget, and junk like that drives design solutions?
Fortunatley, working on as many jobs across as many industries as we do, we get a general 'feel' for the current state of things, and even get a vibe for what our clients company will do/can't do. To add to the database, when I first meet with a client I ask as least as many questions about money/accounting/etc as I do about what they want the product to actually do. And its all thrown into the creative mix.
To maintain creative flexibility, I always keep focuses on the product spec for the 'home run product' - if this could be the best it could be (per the projected volumes), what would it be? I don't latch onto a look or process and certainly never marry to anything - I just keep referring to that spec and roll with it (and of course challenge and modify the spec to make it even better) as things develop.
I keep that home run spec in my mind at all times - the product, the money-making for my client, etc. I find that when I am absolutely expert on what the product has to do for my customer to be the best it can be, I can shift directions in a second on processes, look, etc, to keep it on target towards that home-run spec. I have literally redesigned products for an entirely new process in 30 seconds. Is this creative? Maybe - I have been accused of it. But its all quite rote for me - I have to achieve X, but now use Y to do it. Just make it so.
In my experience, the biggest killer to creativity is to pretend away limitations (usually manufacturing) or to compromise on the spec, something I see happen a little bit too much. When I hear someone bithc that 'it cant do X and Y', I ask 'prove it', and constantly challenge myself to do the same. Literally 90%+ of the time, it can be that home run ifyou just aren't lazy or overly married to an eralier direction that you were fond of.
Oddly, another killer is embracing limitations that aren't real - for instance, does it have to be a new idea? Its not something we Industrial Designers are supposed to say publicly, but isn't it brave and creative to occasionally see what might work that's already in the box? After flailing unsuccessfully past the edges of the envelope, the route to the home run might be right there in the envelope. I love how we are so entrenched against 'in-the-box' thinking that we have to come up with cool designer words to justify it ('retro' comes to mind). Four wheeled cars are still cool - it doesn't have to have 3 or
13 wheels to be useful or interesting or creative.
You know, I started to read this, and really. I just coudnt make it trough. This group does have its windbags.
I'm going to try to comment without taking myself too seriously or rambling about in a self-conscious stream of consciousness blather.
Can't see the forest for the tress, sonze like to me. Hekter Criminy! Were all cubists the same? No. But they were all cubists. How could you tell they were cubists if they were different?
You got theat from a fotun cookie.
I suppose you'r just trolling for an answer, but of corse since you read magazines you already know. Engineers don't make detail drawings. Detailers do. Assuming you'r just teasing, it has something to do with standards which specify that drawings are supposed to look the same. That is why detailers put their initials on them. You know the guy from Ukraine always draws first angle projections.
Remember? Engineers are not creative people. All we can think of is boxs all day. We draw the same because we are the same. 1701 should know about engineers from watching TV and reading magazines. Pop cultur tells you wat to think. We all have pocket protectors and teach our kids how to use sliderules and , ah shit. You know all this already.
pity you don't read your own stuff.
which business would that be in? not one that you are acquainted with.
oh, that explains it. I thought you were 19 and really did know everything. Wow, 37?!?! You must be the onely one here what got that old! That must make you REALLY EXPEREMCED.
no, no, "spouting" is spelled differntly.
You know, the "old goat" bit was a touch of sarcasm that I dont think has penetrated yet.
When you get old enough to understand how little you know instead of continually calling attention to it, then you have achieved something.