Sketching is a common practice used by designers that fosters the ability to think critically about existing objects and interactions, and generating ways of improving them.
It is good practice to keep a sketchbook on hand and sketch often. For Weeks 2-7 of the quarter, you will keep a sketchbook, in which you will think about objects or interactions in your daily life and sketch ideas for how they could be improved.
Each week, we will have an open-ended topic, a theme, or a specific design problem to tackle where you will do three sketches on design solutions related to that topic. For the open-ended questions, you just have to come up with any new product idea or improvement to an existing product. For projects that are specific, you will design three alternate ideas that solve a more specified problem based on user research. For weeks that are themed, you can come up with any idea, as long as it meets the theme. For example, if the theme was “Cooking & Eating,” you might redesign your toaster knobs, come up with a new recipe organization tool, or a smart refrigerator. The idea can focus on an entire system (e.g., smart refrigerator) or one specific interaction (e.g., new toaster knobs). The focus is on the quantity of sketches and ideas and not the quality. The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. Futuristic, off-the-wall, and original ideas are welcome and encouraged!
Every Friday for weeks 2-7 of the class, you must bring your sketchbook to class with at least three new sketches related to the topic for that week. Each sketch must be on a single page, numbered and dated. The back of each sketch page should also be left blank to leave room for notes and critique signatures. You will break into small groups to discuss and critique each others’ sketches and get feedback on your ideas, and each critiquer will sign your sketches indicated that you’ve discussed them. Take good notes during these sessions, as you’ll need them for your reflection assignment. At the end of the quarter, you will write a short reflection upon your sketching experience, its usefulness in the generation of design ideas, and what you learned from feedback during the group critique sessions.
- S1: Open-ended: Sketch three new improvements or design ideas to any problem you want
- S2: Theme: Health & Fitness: Sketch three ideas relating to health, wellness, rehabilitation, therapy, exercise, nutrition, etc.
- S3: Theme: Semi-automated Cooking: Sketch three ideas relating to partially automating cooking. This could include tools/equipment, practices, and novel interactions. No replicators please, we’ve seen those for years.
- S4: Theme: Civic Engagement: Sketch three ideas related to civic engagement, including social equality, local communities, public spaces, local governance, social support, etc.
- S5: Specific: Your Project: Sketch three ideas for solutions to your team project’s design question based on your own user research.
- S6: Theme: Interpersonal Communication: Sketch three ideas related to connecting with others, communicating, sharing information, sharing experiences, etc.
At the end of the quarter, you will write a short reflection upon your sketching experience, its usefulness in the generation of design
ideas, and what you learned from feedback during the group critique sessions.
For this assignment, do the following:
Review your sketches, and spend some time thinking about how your relationship with sketching has changed (or not) over the duration of the quarter. Then write a reflection essay. The objective here is to thoughtfully reflect on your experience overall, however, I would like you to specifically note your favorite and least favorite sketch, what feedback you received on these sketches during critique, and include photos of these sketches (in super high quality please!).
Additional questions you might respond to in your reflection:
- How did you initially feel about sketching?
- How has that changed?
- What have you learned through sketching?
- When was sketching most beneficial? When wasn’t it?
- Were there any surprising moments?
- Are there things that could improve the sketching component of this course?
What to Turn In:
A 1000 word reflection essay on your experiences with the sketching assignments this quarter and at least two high-resolution images of your favorite and least favorite sketch.
Please turn in your assignment as a PDF or Word-compatible file via EEE Dropbox.