why i do it

From the beginning, I’ve always had a natural leaning towards wanting to help people whether it’s a temporary help (that’s only going to affect that one day) or going to assist their lives for a lifetime. Working on these blogs I’ve realized that there are so many creative and more exciting ways to reach out to those people who are less fortunate. In order to design a great product for people, the designer obviously needs to collect information and data about that specific target group. Collecting this information always brought me closer to people and opened my eyes to their lives… then emotionally swallows me up.
There are so many problems in this world today that it wouldn’t be tough to choose one problem to make my objective. When I am able to have the right means of executing my plan… whatever that may be… I know that problem would lead to another which will open my eyes to a whole other world that is out of my comfort zone. I am hoping that it happens sooner than later so I can take what I have learned here at RISD and apply it to whatever I am doing and knowledge will hopefully stay fresh in my mind.
Travelling out of the states and going on mission trips with my church in the past, I have seen so many trials and tribulations people face on a daily basis but have learned to deal with. Things that we wouldn’t know about unless we tried to live like them for a week or so. It’s such a humbling experience being in that area… even if we didn’t spend every hour living like them it was tough so I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be them. But in order to design something specific for a group of people, I would think that one would have to live with them and try to understand to the best of one’s ability.
Reading on the internet for the blog, I came across many problems… one being the lack of water or having access to a water pump or having a place to cook food. What they need is simply necessities/essentials for living.
I would love to try and help them through design whether it’s a water container that doesn’t later turn into a carcinogenic product or a shoe that lasts longer than the rubber clogs that they wear if they have any shoe at all. These are the things that I focused on in my blog. Because designers design for people, I feel that we are the connecting piece for those who need our help and for those who don’t know how to help. It’s important that we keep all these people in mind and make a product that is universally understood.
“Two and half billion people are still without access to improved sanitation – including 1.2 billion who have no facilities at all and are forced to engage in the hazardous and demeaning practise of open defecation. The news is better for water: the number of people without an improved source has dropped below one billion for the first time in history.” –unicef


I admit that I am very confused about the boundaries of art and design… But now I think, is there a boundary? Is there a limitation to how much art one can add to a product...? OR... is art even an addition? Can’t art and design be squeezed out of the same tube together equally? ? ?

Designing, to me, is to create a product that is functional with no unnecessary parts that is as ergonomic as possible for the specific target group. Creating a product with the aesthetics in mind is crucial but the design must be classic.
Creating something that is timeless would be key for me but many products these days such as cars and electronics follow the trend storm that will die out just as quickly as it came.
Designs that touch back to history and that haven’t changed much through the years such as pots and pans or picture frames are classic designs to me and will never become “tacky” or stupid.
Something like a pot would not and usually does not have much “art” and if it does then it is less obvious. All the parts to a pot are necessary and functional… They all have their own job and its obvious from first glance.
Something like a picture frame is classic but also very different from a pot because they are decorative pieces. Even if they are decorative they do not draw too much attention to themselves and they are there to hug the picture and hold it up. Of course there are designers who are targeting children and end up creating a crazy colorful “shit” frame but wooden ones or stainless steel ones that are simple yet unique… Those are the ones that string back to their roots.
Cereal boxes might be something that is classic that mixes with art well because the shape and the box itself have not changed for quite some time. The bag of cereal inside... the cardboard box with the “resealable” tab on top… Nothing special about it but the art on the front will always change. The colorful noisy image on the front is what sells the product. In this case, art would have to dominate.
In each product, there is an obvious presence of art and design but one is always louder than the other. In a chair, comfort would come before color or “fabulous aesthetics”.

I think that designing with art in mind is great… IF you can pull it off.
It should not be loud and obnoxious because that will take away from the product itself and makes it almost look like the designer is trying to redeem himself for another part that doesn’t function correctly… And art should not look like it was put there last minute to make it beautiful but add to the product and compliment its appearance as a whole.
Art and design go hand in hand and should be pout to use that way. It would be difficult to sell one without the other but designers should definitely be more conscious to what they are giving more power to.

I came across a Ukrainian designer named Yurko Gutsulyak and he designed a very unique and fun calendar. Each month looks like a comb of matches and each day, the owner of the calendar would pull off the match of that day and burn it away. There is nothing to throw way in the end and it’s much more exciting than the average “stack of papers” calendar. … its amazing, I love it

blue jeansssss

This summer, aimlessly walking around in a mall, I overheard a girl talking about bringing in an old pair of jeans and being rewarded 20% off her new pair of jeans. My girlfriends and I ran home and brought back 3 pairs of old jeans to exchange. Going home with our new jeans, we didn’t really think about what the store was going to do with our old, raggedy, holey jeans. Later, reading about it on the internet, i was informed that all the collected jeans were being donated to the children of Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

This is not really germane to the point but whether you are donating them to a foundation or storing them away in your closet forever, throwing them out is not an option. Now, there is another place that is collecting old jeans and that is a company that makes insulation for homes out of particles of old jeans.

As energy prices began to rise, home owners and home builders began to understand the significance of insulating the home. Proper home insulation can reduce energy costs by so much and is able to retain heat which maintains a comfortable temperature, longer.

Most home, being insulated probably by fiberglass roll insulation, are hazardous to children and it contains carcinogens and formaldehyde. To prevent itching while handling this material, the sheets are covered with a plastic wrap. More material makes it harder to get rid of later.

Having a home padded for saving energy doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice your health anymore.

Found in land fills and other locations, recycled denim is accessible and makes a great insulation that is much safer than other materials.

“Blue jean insulation holds more heat and also absorbs more sound than the insulation commonly used in homes. It eliminates formaldehyde and other harmful components found in other insulation, reducing out-gasing and irritation to the skin, nose, and throat. Blue jean insulation is made with recycled denim trimmings from blue jean manufacturing factories.”

Bonded Logic, a company that creates this insulation has donated their services to colleges and have collaborated on projects to help communities that are in need. Together, they collected old jeans which was all reprocessed to make insulation for the rebuilding of a Louisiana school which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
This new insulating material is treated with a boron based solution for fire retardency, mold and mildew growth and for keeping bugs away.
It’s so safe that they are comparing the toxicity of this new material to average table salt. This video at the bottom shows that this new material
“burns” slower and has less damage done to it while being held under a torch.


share your soles

Not knowing what i wanted to major in, i was frantically searching for the perfect major that would suit me and my goals. It was imperative that i chose a major i could put into good use in the future; not for myself but for the underprivileged or the handicap. With a lot of guidance, i found ID.

With the knowledge that I gain in this major, I would like to put it towards helping people in need whether they are our neighbors or living in poverty-stricken places outside the country.

From last week’s lecture, I was left feeling very guilty and small which only made me hungrier than I was already to reach out to those in need. With that in mind I looked up designs that are targeted towards people in third world countries and I came across shoes/sandals.

Dated back as early as 26-40,000 years ago, shoes have been worn by people to get around “comfortably”. It was a way to protect the feet from weather, shards of materials, and hard surfaces, which lead to callusing.

When mud and dirt dries/hardens on the feet, the material of the shoe plus the earth help insulates the feet in colder weather.
Today, shoes are heavily influenced by fashion and are seriously overpriced but with the right materials and design, a shoe can be created out of all recycled materials and be just as durable… if not, more.

In the 1940’s, the Vietnamese created strong sandals out of old truck tires. There were many advantages to wearing these sandals during the war; one being that many soldiers suffered from “trench-foot”, which is a fungal infection, caused by the thick boots they were required to wear. These sandals were great because they were practical, easy to clean, comfortable, long lasting because they are truck tires, and they dried easily.

Today, studies show that there are almost twice as many tires as there are feet in this country… so what do we do with all those tires that have been thrown away? People discovered a way to recycle the rubber tires and use them for making sandals to send to the less fortunate people around the world.

Many organizations today make these simple sandals and send them off to third world countries to replace their old sandals made of water bottles and other pieces of trash.

Mona Purdy is a woman who started the organization called “Share Your Soles” and she has collected over 350,000 pairs of shoes which she sent off to Haiti, Honduras, Kenya and the Dominican Republic. Children in these areas have no shoes or have had maybe 2-3 shoes in their life. With these shoes, they are able to go wherever they want without worrying what they are stepping on or about breaking callused skin on the bottom of their feet.

On an interview with ABC7 news, Mona Purdy says…"Shoes are transportation. Shoes are education, shoes are health insurance. We don't get that here. We take them for granted, but to them, they are car. They get them where they want to go safely. (I still get that high from the first time I did this. I've never lost that, it's great."

Color and gender
Colors are always used to differentiate or set apart genders. Starting at an early age, my mother dressed me in pink dresses, pink shirts, pink polka dot spandex pants. I had dolls with pink clothes and my room, from my bed sheets to my towels, were pink. Now, what is it that makes pink a feminine color?... or blue a masculine color? Associating pink and blue to babies is more than just a marketing gimmick and there are reasons for those color choices. Now a days, pink is the color of females from hospital computer systems to the production world and baby boys are always linked to the color blue… why?
An expecting mother usually decorates the nursery and chooses the tone and color palette depending on the gender of the child. If a mother is expecting a female child, the clothing, the dolls and the accessories are usually shades of pink. Baby boys are dressed in blue to stay calm and relaxed. Other colors are not so soothing for babies, for instance the color yellow is shown to make babies cry more than other colors. There are reasons behind why little girls and little boys are drowning in those two colors.
But in the 20’s, the “manly” colors were shades of pink because it was the washed out version of red. Parents tend to choose these stereotypical colors to announce that they are proud expecting parents. Red was a strong color that symbolizes courage and power. Females were dressed in blue because it was a calming color that was more “easy on the eyes”. It wasn’t until the 50’s that blue became a masculine color. Some blame the Nazis for associating the color pink with females. During WWII, the Nazis used the yellow Star of David to identify the Jewish population and pink inverted triangles for the homosexuals. Some say that because of that situation, pink is associated with females.
The color pink, like giving a pink rose, represents universal love. The darker shades of pink are effective in counterbalancing disorders and hostility in some detention centers use limited deep pink tones to diffuse aggressive behavior. Later studies show that pink is more calming than the color blue.
Blue being the coolest of colors is usually used in artwork to represent the heavens, oceans, depth, and calmness. It was a color of conservative people. You can see this color a lot in homes, pajamas, and in public bathrooms. It is also often used in baby boy’s nurseries because it sooths the baby and is calming and easy on the eyes.
Because there are reasons for colors, I believe that designers are careful about their palettes and shades of those colors. Colors effect more than just aesthetics which is why its safest to just stick to the colors that have beneficial influence especially for babies.
As a designer, I believe that when creating products, all designers have goals… one would be to create something that will make people’s lives easier on an everyday basis. Designing something aesthetically pleasing just comes with the package. After a while,
newspapers, lights, and wheelchairs become a part of one's lifestyle. Good design reaches out to certain groups of people which makes it a “personal” design. Two of the three timelines were about lights that heal people and wheelchairs which transport people with disabilities. These are all designed to reach out to individuals on a more personal level. Ergonomics reach out to people in a more general sense of personal design. Ergonomics IS personalizing. Design is generic because it caters to all of the people who use that product but it is specific because it targets a certain group. Personal can mean chairs that mold a person's bottom or a toothbrush's angle to make it easier to reach "hard to reach" areas. All things around us are personal because designers gather research from everyday people.

Light therapy was first documented in 1856 and is still used today to treat problems in a safer way with fewer side affects. With medications only taking you so far… it's amazing that something as simple as light can heal disorders. Depression is something many
struggle with and medications pile up and after a while, they have a negative
affect on the body. Light, even sunlight, is harmless when used correctly and it has the power to heal. Studies show that 15 minutes of sunshine every morning is healthier for males but females can also benefit from feeling happiness throughout that day. The healing light timeline was about healing people with different problems through LEDs, lasers, fluorescents and dichroic lights. From babies who have jaundice, people with acne, people suffering from depression, or whether it’s patients with hard to heal wounds; people have learned to create different types of light and use them to their full effectiveness by personalization.

Anything that will make life easier is welcome like the idea of a paraplegic being
able to keep up. A wheelchair is what paraplegics depend on and almost can't function
without it. The wheelchair evolved from a stiff chair that was uncomfortable to a more ergonomic chair and a chair that is reaching out to everyone's demands… Everyone who needs the wheelchair to go from point A to point B can rely on this chair with wheels and they are once again in control of where they are headed. Carrying oxygen tanks or making big and small chairs depending on the patient’s size, wheelchair designers have researched a lot to make the chair into what it is today. The first designer of the wheelchair made it specifically for himself so he personalized it and made it accommodate him. Starting out in wood, people have created better; lighter more durable wheelchairs and they no longer had to worry about splinters and longevity of the product. Today it is made of light weight aluminum with a suspended cushioned seat with no hard support to cause discomfort. Design to me should be simple, inexpensive if possible and definitely specialized because all people have different likes and needs.

Design should be simple and clean like the design of a simple brown moving box. Its sole purpose is to hold items but be strong and durable enough to contain all the items and not break. It is also easily stored when filled and also easily stored because it unfolds and can
be put away flat. They are also cheap and accessible to all people and light in weight.
Personal designs affect more people by reaching out to them and they can love it for what it is and they can connect to it. It shouldn't have anything too decorative because it can distract the consumer from the way the item is meant to be used especially if that ornament is a big part of the product and has no function. A chair can have a seat, backrest and legs but it doesn't need a handle. A chair that has intricate detailed designs that has been hand carved into wood is unnecessary because it can't be mass produced. It's a beautiful piece to have and items like that can be collected but other than that, the product cannot be accessible to all people and the material does not help the object “work” to its full potential. It can be made of aluminum and made lighter and cheaper and probably more durable. If people can still connect to the piece after it has been stripped of all unnecessary things, then that is personal and they can appreciate the design. Basically what you see is what you get.

Design is personal to me because if I were the one who designed it... I would obviously design with myself in mind. I would make it comfortable for me but others probably won't agree. Like beds… they are hard or really soft and comfortable. I would like to connect to others through design. For others to connect to my artwork like I do my own would be amazing… when I design I want it to be simple and visually simple as well. I would design something that one wouldn't need an instruction sheet for and something that anyone can look at and appreciate the honesty of the design. I would not want it to be expensive and I would want it to be accessible to all people. As an industrial designer, I would want people to hold the item in their hand and feel the same way I do when I hold it and understand the reasoning behind all the dips and curves. I like honest design because like people, I want to know what that thing is all about without a lot of explanation. That is personal to me because then I can relate to it right away and I don't need to second guess anything. There is that personal and then there is this personal. I like old antique objects. I love the history that is stored in those pieces and the worn out look like it belonged to someone. I love it because to me that is also personal and it tells a story. In old Africa, the people carved people out of wood to represent maternity and fertility. They would carve a face into the dolls and rub the face every day with hope that they could become impregnated one day. Soon enough, the women would rub the faces so often that they would rub the faces right off the dolls showing history. Like that, I would like my design to have a big part in people's lives.