For my senior design capstone to complete my BFA in Design, I created Backed. During the initial stages of deciding what I wanted to create for my capstone, I observed that many students were standing in the backs of crowded lecture halls. While some students have no option but to stand due to overflow in overcrowded classes, others prefer to stand, perhaps to ease pre-existing back problems or to give the typically seated position a break. Regardless of why students stand in class, doing so can result in several issues, both physical and academic. These issues include back pain, discomfort, and a general lack of focus on the material being presented. In an effort to reduce these issues, I created Backed. This supplemental device serves to encourage proper posture and to better both the physical and mental engagement of students.
The summer following my sophomore year in college, I underwent spinal fusion surgery to correct my 55-degree spinal curvature due to scoliosis. Had I been given a device in high school to help with my back pain and posture while my spinal curve was rapidly developing, perhaps the progression of my scoliosis would have slowed. My history with back pain prior to surgery fuels my passion for helping others manage and prevent back pain, especially within the classroom and office setting.
It is my hope that one day Backed might actually be implemented in lecture halls, offices, or any other location where sitting for prolonged periods of time causes people pain or discomfort. Additionally, design and utility patents are currently pending for this product.
The spreads shown here come from my final project in Typography I. The task was to create a Source Book including multiple type projects from throughout the semester.
In Typography I, I advanced my technical skills immensely, as well as improving upon my typographic skills. In this Source Book, I included the projects I was most proud of.
I played a lot with dissecting letter forms and using them as a colorful design element. I also played with sizing and hierarchy of typographic forms.
This project began with a redesign of the common can opener. Being left-handed, I find can openers difficult to operate, and wanted to make one more accessible to a wider variety of users. The one I designed features an opening apparatus located at the top, rather than the side, and can thus be used with either hand.
As I began packaging concepts, I considered Cody Wilson, the man who made 3D printable files of a gun available for everyone to download. While controversial, I admired Cody’s idea to make good and innovative design available for virtually everyone. After this research, I catered my design to fit an alternate world in which the community produces all items for themselves. This box, containing solely the cutting mechanism, is delivered to the user, along with a code to be entered online to access the file to 3D print the remaining can opener parts.
I built the box manually in the woodshop, and laser cut the logo on top using the CNC router.
In my Typography II course, I created my own typeface based on a system of shapes and lines and set the alphabet and numbers 0-9 in it. I emphasized the quirkiness of the contrast between such thin lines paired with such heavy, bold geometric forms.
The second part of this assignment was to incorporate this typeface into a poster promoting a spring lecture and exhibition series for the University of Texas School of Architecture.
Solar Light Kit
I completed this project in my Objects and Spaces course. I designed these solar lights to fit within a case, both designed to be easily carried and used by children. My idea behind this project was to enhance children's safety while participating in outdoor activities at night.
For my final project in my Branding and Visual Identity Systems class, I was tasked with rebranding the Human Rights Campaign.
While the HRC is already a well-known and established brand, I focused on its lack of visual excitement. Maintaining its iconic logo, I aimed to reconsider the HRC's remaining visual identity. I found that the HRC's dark blue and yellow color scheme failed to effectively communicate their progressive ideals, and opted for a more vibrant palette.
I aimed to make all of my mockups simple yet striking, and able to easily grab the attention of the average passerby.
3D Foundations Final
I created this piece for my final project in my 3D Foundations class. I cut angular shapes from foam core, stacked them into this design, and then made a plaster cast of the design. I then made a rubber mold of the plaster. Using the mold, I made six individual plaster casts. I then used silver and copper spray paint to apply a metallic gradient onto the pieces.
Finally, I built the wooden frame in the woodshop and painted it white. I then adhered the plaster to the frame.
The final work turned out slightly quirky because no plaster cast is exactly identical to another. Even though I set them all from the same mold, some dried with the forms appearing concave, and some convex. I have included images of some unsuccessful production attempts of my plaster casts. Although I couldn't use these for the final piece, they turned out almost digital-looking, which was a neat accident.
Delightful Chair Project
For my Design Theories and Methods course, I was tasked with creating a Delightful Chair, based on my definition of delight. I defined a delightful design as one that successfully encompasses four main elements: aesthetic, material, comfort, and simplicity. Expanding upon this, an object designed simply, according to its function, should also use clean forms, natural and sustainable materials, and offer comfort and support.
After researching chair design precedent, I found that slouching backwards with one's pelvis and legs slightly forward reduces lumbar and disc strain, as well as releases spinal pressure. Having just endured spinal fusion surgery for my scoliosis, this data was of the upmost importance to me, and influenced my design tremendously.
I also used the Open Survey method to influence my design. Based on twenty people's responses, I discovered that most prefer a softer chair, a bench with a back, give equal attention to aesthetic and comfort, and would ideally prefer a seated meditation experience with no distractions, a hard yet comfortable surface, and with back support.
I took this data and survey results and created my Delightful Chair. Ideally, it is to be used in a meditation space.