As second year comes to a close, we were asked to answer some reflection questions..
What was the most valuable lesson you pulled forward from first year that was helpful to you in second year?
Coming in from first year, I learned to never underestimate the value of study models. Having had Hilary as a professor, she sometimes required up to nine study models per pin-up. Although this was overwhelming at first, and some of the models were at times very questionable, it forced me to get into the routine of thinking in both a 2D and 3D way. At the start of second year, the form studies were very much in line with this ideology. It got us working with our hands which was a very engaging way to start off the year. Combining both the modeling work I did in both first year and first semester of second year, I could not fathom doing a product design project without having a physical thing in front of me. Modeling helps me not only figure out what does work, but what really doesn’t work within a design. I tried making a prototype for every product we made.
What was your greatest challenge this year and how did you overcome it?
I would say that my greatest challenge overall was constantly challenging myself to think in a lofty way- I phrase we were often encouraged with. “Lofty ideas” are harder to come by than one would think and I certainly learned that this year. I tend to think in a safe way, often landing on one concept that works without thinking twice. I would like to think that I managed to grow in this department but I know this is something I still struggle with. I can’t say I have fully overcome this but I am excited to keep pushing myself with each and every project.
What was your greatest accomplishment during the year?
My greatest accomplishment of this year would probably have to be my Design-Build project. I have never felt as overwhelmed by a project before. It was the first scaled model that we were to create out of real-life materials. The whole process was immediately daunting. I unintentionally challenged myself by planning my entire build process around welding and heat bending steel. I had no idea how exact the processes actually were and it was a very intense learning curve that I had to quickly overcome if I wanted the results I envisioned. My chair turned out crooked, which sounds ridiculous but is in fact true. Tack-welding is not a simple process, especially since I was trying to connect two imperfect profile frames with connection pieces that were not all perfectly perpendicular. As a result of this, the wooden panels that I wanted to add in would all have to be very specific to every frame it was going in. To solve this issue, I dremel-ed every plank individually until they were all perfect fits, a task that took several hours. After completing the entire prototype, I really could not believe my eyes. It wasn’t perfect, but seeing my design translate from paper to reality was really exciting despite all the obstacles I had to overcome.
If you were to give advice to next year’s class, what would it be?
My biggest piece of advice to next year’s class would be to challenge yourself continually. It sounds cheesy but our discipline requires it. It is very easy to fall behind without self-motivation and no one will be able to do the work for you. It is up to you to master the softwares, skills, machines, and everything else that is required to be an industrial designer. The baseline is to always stay hungry, and to always want to achieve more. Akshay said on the last day of class that sketching is a constant- and so is much of everything else in this major. Unlike a math class, a problem is never fully solved, and there is always possibility to redesign, rethink, and reimagine.
If you were the professor in the second year lab, what kind of projects do you think would be the most valuable to the students?
As a professor, I would definitely find the value in more projects such as the wicked problem or the UX Design. To me personally, I definitely underestimated the amount I would learn from these projects. However, looking back, I have more experience in thinking than I ever thought possible. Before this, I never thought “creative thinking” could be a skill, something that one can practice and grow with. Additionally, more “building” projects much like the Design-Build are hugely valuable. I think many of us really doubted how drastic the difference between paper or the computer to a real scaled model can be. In accordance with that, design-build and the form study projects allowed us to venture into the shops and understand form and materiality.
I have learned more than I could have ever expected this year and am excited for third year which I know will be challenging but very rewarding.
My second year work is published at www.sophie-colle.com