Inspiration and Relevancy

It is in a creative’s inherent nature to be open to something potentially inspiring. Inevitably, these moments leave an impact on their work and mindset. We are what we consume. All of our experiences, the individuals that we look up to, and the things that we aspire to be and achieve are a few of many aspects that make us unique. It’s important to recognize and be confident in the power of your voice by virtue of its uniqueness. It lends way to a vision and purpose in design that’s different from others.

There is something to be said about being inspired by those outside of one’s field of work. While it’s important to understand design, design does not exist in a bubble. I think design is very culturally driven.

Good design is relevant. It has the power to start a conversation or influence one. It also contributes to the identity of the user. The things you own say something about you. This is why it’s important to truly understand the audience that a product is for. Not only will the designer develop a product that hits the target on what it aims to achieve, but the product will be much more relevant and impactful through its representation to how it’s being perceived.

To give an idea a stronger purpose for existing, there are some considerations that should be addressed. What are the pain points that this product is aimed to solve? What is the narrative that it fits in or is establishing? What is the greater message that it is sending? These questions help contribute to its relevancy within the culture it is designed for.

Cruising to the Beach

This past Saturday was another car sketching day at OSCC — this is a car design class that’s led by automotive and industrial designers Cliff Krapfl and Mike Herbert from TEAMS Design. We studied a bit of Dusenberg history and learned how to sketch super old school. The last time I used a Higgins bottle of black ink was about 7 years ago. As to a calligraphy pen — that was probably 10 years. It was so incredibly refreshing to become acquainted with this medium again!

There were a few collages of vintage posters and photography clustered on the table. Some of the thumbnails caught my eye with their compelling storytelling. With a 11x17 sheet of paper and two hours of class left, I tried to capture what I was inspired by...

Cruising along to the beach… what a perfect contrast to the 50 degree Chicago weather ;)

Cruising along to the beach… what a perfect contrast to the 50 degree Chicago weather ;)

Flipping Cars

Around a month ago, I sketched with a few OSCC pals at TEAMS Design. There were some model cars lying around at the table. I liked the Studebaker. At that time, I was really into drawing machine guts, so I decided to flip the car onto its side and sketch it. I set a timer for 5 minutes (the grandest lie) - no pressure, just something quick to warm up.


I ended up getting really into it!

For a couple of weeks leading to this sketch, I had been doing some daily quick sketching exercises (mentioned in the previous post). I studied all sorts of photos. My intent was to sketch quicker and get better at proportions.

Sketching this flipped Challenger was my first time applying the lessons and habits from these daily exercises. I sketched my way through the car more strategically and was more aware of the lights and shadows. Some things could be better, but honestly I’m just glad I finished it within the evening.

I didn’t realize the kind of impact this kind of sketch would have on others. This sketch has come up a few times since then in conversation or through instagram attention. I guess it is uncommon to sketch a car on its side. Maybe it is a bit daunting? To tackle this topic, I saw past the mechanics and focused more on the values.

Anyway. It is hard to see where the improvement or progress is, especially when sketching and designing everyday. That is, until defining moments occur, like this sketch!

Morning Guts

I have been doing some morning sketching exercises to explore new topics and refine a quicker sketching style. I join a small group on youtube led by Vaughan Ling from Art Center. The sessions are typically 1-2 hours long. It’s a lot of fun working within time and medium constraints to sketch things that are typically unfamiliar to me.