Saturday, November 29, 2008

My ID History

Honestly, I never knew I wanted to become an industrial designer until the winter of 2006. At that time, I did not even know what industrial design was all about; all I knew was that an industrial designer designs products for mass production. However, after several events and inspirations that occurred in my life, I realized that Industrial Design was right for me. Although, I never thought industrial design to be my profession and career, I was glad to have chosen this decision because it defines me.

When I was in elementary school, I was always the kid who would sit in the back of the classroom doing something. Whether it was drawing or creating something, I never left my hands do nothing. Whenever someone asked me, “What are you doing?” I would always respond, “I don’t know”. At that time, I just moved to Korea from America and did not know how to speak any Korean. Drawing was my only form of communication to interact with other people, so I carried a sketch book with me all the time. It made me so irritated and frustrated when I wanted to express my feelings to people that I once considered being an inventor. I wanted to create something that can transfer thoughts through imagination. This idea started me to think more creatively and see problems in the world.

Ever since I started to think seriously about my future (which was around high school junior year) I always thought of architecture as my career. It all started when I first saw Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. The house was my dream and inspiration. Its location, exterior, and interior design were everything I could ever want for a house to be. The house attracted me so much that it made me want and think about it all the time. How could a design make someone think about it all the time? There was something mysterious about that house that made me attracted to more of design than function. So thinking I was going into architecture I applied to schools that had architecture and design programs.

After I got accepted to RISD I had a struggle with myself to choose between architecture and industrial design. It was truly one of the hardest decisions I had to make in my life. It was also a point of no return because my parents were struggling financially and I did not have the luxury to switch majors. It made me think about what was better for me. After talking with my parents and listening about my past, I remember what I wanted to be and why I wanted to do it. It led me to choose industrial design because I wanted to invent my designs. I wanted to create my own style like all artists and designers. I wanted to show more of me in my designs so that when people see it they will know why I designed it that way.

Ever since I came into the industrial design department, I never felt regret about choosing this major. I met people like me and people with similar backgrounds; I felt like I was home. For the three time lines and all the essays I have written, they were all based upon my thoughts and ideas of my history. They are what I think an industrial designer should be and how history has taught me to be as an industrial designer.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Means of Innovation and Change

There were so many people who inspired and influenced me to become an Industrial Designer. Whether, they were from songs, products, movements, or images, they made me the man I am today. However, recently I have taken a close look into Tokujin Yoshioka’s designs and they inspired me with innovative thoughts. What captured my eyes in Yoshioka’s designs were his style and innovative ways to explore material. He explores new opportunities in materials and creates a design with his style. Of all the artist and designers I have viewed, he was the most creative designer I have ever seen. For an Industrial Designer I think it is crucial to learn many materials and it capabilities because in the future we will never know what we might design.

This year I am taking a studio called, Reactive Matter. It is a studio which studies
nanotechnology materials that change color or shape and produce light or even electricity. As a designer, our class has to figure out how we can incorporate these materials into products. Our current project is creating a compact dwelling for two people and incorporating nanotechnology materials in it. Our class has to think about how we can reduce the size of essential household needs. The honey comb chair, I thought, was a perfect example of showing how to reduce space. It was aesthetically beautiful and compact that it was perfect for a compact dwelling house. The honey comb chair was an innovative design because Tokujin Yoshioka experiment a new material and found a new purpose for it. His creativity and dedication showed me why designs have to change.

I have always wondered why every month cell phone designs would always change. Why is there a life expectancy for products? Why do we have to make the same product look different? Why do we have to waste more material to make it look different? These were the questions I asked myself whenever I saw a new cell phone. However, after viewing the honey comb chair and taking the Reactive Matter studio, I realized that every design is a hint of the future. When we look at the first cell phone, its only function was to call and receive. However, after several years of experimenting, cell phones started to add new features: text messaging, camera, internet and so forth. Every time a new feature came out new designs were developed and created. Every design became a history and from that design it creates a better and new design from it.
The honey comb chair was not created for compact dwelling, but it can be used because it is a new way to save space. We never know what is going to happen in the future, so people experiment new designs and materials to find out a new purpose. New designs give new ideas and possibilities, which is why there are many designs and life expectancies for all products. As a designer, we must think ahead when we design a product. We should not focus on it will work, but what it might be created from it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saving the World

Every year, the earth’s population is growing whereas the earth’s resources are decreasing. There are more consumers than there are of resources. It is up to us, humans, to solve this problem and confront it with our knowledge and understanding of the earth.
Nowadays, the most concerning issues that people have is the limited amount of fresh water and oil. Because of these two resources, many people have fought for it. The American-Iraq war was an example which led many innocent people to die. We, the people, should not fight each other for these resources but gather minds to solve this issue.

After looking through the website, I found two interesting articles that might help solve the problems with fresh water and oil. For oil, I found the article that explained about the electric car where it can reduce the amount of oil dramatically because it is run by electric batteries. By just reducing the amount of oil we use for cars, it can save not only oil but the environment as well. The o-zone layer has been constantly decreasing due to the fumes that automobiles produce. But now, with this technology it will help save the o-zone layer and dramatically reduce the amount of oil used in gasoline.

Water is the one thing that everything needs in the earth. It is the one resource that keeps the environment alive. The earth surface is covered with 70% of salt water which we do not use at all. The people in third world countries suffer because of the lack of fresh water. If we can corporate this technology to be used in such third world countries, then it can save many people from skin infections and dehydration.

The two most important resources, water and oil, can be reduced or be produced by these two new technologies. The earth’s resources are being used up quickly and if we do not do anything about it we will destroy our earth. To make a better world, we need these technologies to be developed and further studied. Not only will it save lives but it will also help save our earth.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Essential vs Inessential

After listening and viewing the lecture that Dr. Bruce Becker has shown us, it gave me a brief but clear understanding about the issues in third world countries. Sanitary, insulation, shelter and many more issues caused people in the third world to die. It was because of humanitarian designs that at least some of these issues were solved. The most problematic issue that I thought in third world countries was; obtaining fresh water. Fresh water is essential to human survival because it allows them to drink and be clean. In third world countries, many people died because of water pollution and skin infections. It was sad for me to see that in some countries where people are dying because they lack in fresh water, whereas in other countries, people are living luxuriously because they are abundant with fresh water. In this world, I believe there are essential items and inessential items. However, I feel that there are more inessential items that are being produced more than essential items due to the country’s wealth and power.

The biggest problem that other countries have rather than third world countries is that we create and make a lot useless and “only appealing to the eye” products. What I mean by this, I see a lot of materials that are used inefficiently in toy and fashion industries for only temporary use. Since toys and fashion items constantly change the most than any other products, a lot of time and money is spent to create these items. In a few months or even days, these products will only be storage. Toys and fashion items must always follow its trend and once it is outdated people get rid of it. So much material and time is wasted for people who only think about themselves and not for others. It is sad to see that in some countries, people make temporary products for purely pleasure, while other countries lack essential products for survival. Sometime in the near future, I hope that one day people will realize the seriousness of humanitarian products and focus creating more “life saving” products rather than “useless” products.

The product that I found most essential in all countries is water filtering products. As I mentioned before, fresh water is essential to human survival because people will always need it. It will also save many lives in third world countries because it can give the people what they lack. For most countries, people will know how water filtering products are used, but for third world countries, the design is crucial. People will need to understand how to use it just by looking at it. The design must be simplistic and if there are instructions, it has to be simple enough so that people can understand how to use it by referring to diagrams and so on.
For a designer, designing a humanitarian product is both complicated and simple. Whatever the product might be, the design must show its purpose and function at the same time. Nowadays, constantly changing trends cause designers to make inessential products. As a designer, I can only wish that someday a new trend will be; saving lives.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Design, Meaning, and People

To me, I believe products get their design and meaning by their function and their usage. Whether products are created for ergonomics, ease, aesthetics or pleasure, they are created to help people with different problems. Even though some people might think a certain product might be useless and unattractive, it is still a design that has some meaning in it. I believe that every product has a design to serve its purpose. Not everyone in the whole world will like or accept a product’s design, but as long as it serves its purpose and meaning, I think it is a design we should consider and acknowledge for the future.

As a designer, I have come to realize that although how hard I try to create a design to fit everyone’s standards, I will never be able to satisfy them all. I realized and accepted the fact that designs will always have good or bad reviews because everyone in the world thinks differently. However, if a product is designed to serve a purpose that can solve a problem or an issue then I think it is something that people will just have to accept because it will help some people in the world.

The vibrator was socially and morally unaccepted to some people because some people believe that vibrators were inappropriate. Although, in the past, it was created for medical uses and to reduce “workloads” for doctors, people found that it can also be used for women pleasure. It became popular to women because it also allowed women to feel better and relieve stress. However, after the vibrator has become popular in the world, the downside to this design is that it promoted many X-rated movies and personal issues to the world. I have read an article about vibrators saying that it created a positive and negative side for people who think about the usage of vibrators. The negative side wanted to abandon vibrators to eliminate X-rated movies and the positive side wanted to keep it for their pleasure. When I ponder upon this issue, I think about, “How could a design create an issue so extreme like this?” It made me visualize the seriousness of how designs can affect people to think differently about each other.

Nowadays, the images of vibrators have changed completely from the past due to its different designs and functions. I agree with some people that it is embarrassing to mention and to have, but I understand its purpose. I noticed that people think differently due to their religious beliefs because I also come from a Christian family. Religion restricts people to act and think in certain ways, which is why I understand how some people think vibrators are a tool for guilty pleasures.

Designs will always get criticized by their appearances and function, but they are only designed to serve its purpose more efficiently and easier. Not all people might like the purpose and appearance of the design, but as long as the design solves the problem it is issued then I think there is a meaning in that design.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sitting (Functionalism)

Wheelchairs have been around for more than 300 years, but its form and function has not changed ever since. Nowadays, society has changed by creating special facilities for handicaps and it also gave people hope to do the impossibles.


Light has the affect to change one's emotions and feelings due to the material and brightness of the light bulb. Through time, people have found different usage of light to improve emotions and feelings for people in different environments.