7 weeks of Smart Design
Since literally everything I’ve been working on is NDA, i couldn’t find an interesting post-related photo, so here’s one of our more interesting supply drawers.
I spent Monday testing out a ton of products OXO sent me to gain some insight on how various competitors’ products work. I’ve started off creating my presentation material around self-generated insight on my part; images i’ve found online, usage cases i’ve conducted myself, and user reviews/feedback from various websites online.
All of this material was first processed with/including text and sometimes resized in illustrator before being printed out and pinned to a large wall-sized piece of cardboard. From here, i added comments using post-its. Post-iting is a highly valued skill around here, and i’m pretty proud of my ‘board’ so far to say the least, which isn’t saying a whole lot since compared to the other ones around here, it’s a complete mess. I’ll be checking up tomorrow with my supervisor Lauren to see what I can change to make it more clear/valuable.
Today was pretty relaxed as far as past work I’ve done goes. I was sitting at my desk for once, attending to a single project for once.
Today i spent half the day working on the aforementioned 4 by 8 foot presentation board to prepare for an internal brainstorm on Friday and the rest of the day making models for some internal testing/questioning. After meeting with Lauren and walking her through the story of the research and demonstrating how i’d use the board to guide a brainstorm, we both agreed it needed a few tweaks as well as more information, so it was back to rearranging data.
Unlike most other client relationships, Smart Design and OXO’s work relationship is pretty relaxed, so where we’d be making powerpoint presentations and pretty refined deliverables with other clients, OXO is totally okay (and much prefers) viewing our raw ideation directly on a big board.
We had another community meet today and the event we’re holding soon is looking to be pretty nuts. I’ll be making sure to take lots of pictures. My established role for getting the party ready is to learn how to use a paper cutting machine we’ve recently aquired, so we can make our own popcorn containers.
Ending off the day on a good note, my bike’s been shipped in to our building from Arizona, and I was able to build up the bike back in our shop. Many days of bike touring are ahead of me.
This morning i played football/soccer with my coworkers at 8am, it was really tough in all honesty; i haven’t purposefully exercised in a long time, all I’m really conditioned to is casual bike riding. What made the game pretty interesting was how our teams were divided - Oxonians vs. Smarties. It turns out I was actually playing against one of OXO’s product directors who are heading the new project I’ll be working on starting today.
All day I worked on the presentation materials for the project i’m working on right now. We’re in a hurry now and are already nearing a midpoint checkup sometime in the next two weeks or so.
Near the end of the day, another project was kicked off, with myself and a fellow engineering intern heading the design development of another product for OXO. This project is already looking to be killer in that we’re refreshing a pretty successful product that hasn’t been changed in years. It’s pretty amazing to be a part of a redesign for something that’s had such a long and successful run.
The day ended off with me feeling very sore and shaky. I really need to start exercising more. I think football every Wednesday + riding my bike everywhere is a good start.
I worked on my board all day, missed lunch, worked on my board more, revised it for the 7th time (moving post-its around is a lot more difficult than rearranging boards on Illustrator it turns out.), had my board reviewed twice during the day, and after finding more points to fix, worked on my board a bit more.
Today was a lot of image finding, printing, running back and forth, pinning, and post-it noting. Not much else to take note of.
As soon as I got to work today, I spent the hours before 11am prepping brainstorm questions and adding last-minute images to my presentation board, all in order to round out the research that I had fixed up yesterday.
Going through and leading a brainstorm was pretty fun, and it was great to see the whole process from the perspective of the person who organized it. I began by explaining all of the research I had gathered in rough chronological order; describing interesting personal finds or revelations discovered via talking to people. Along the way, people in the group would ask questions and I would respond to the best of my ability.
After walking everyone through the research, I prompted them with things to think about regarding various product features OXO had requested we develop further, and we began to sketch out many many ideas ranging from the goofiest to the most basic. This proceeded for about an hour, me prompting people with things to think about, and my coworkers drawing responses. I ended up with a lot of material to work with, and after everyone left and I finished taking notes, I grouped related sketches/ideas together and went to work thinking of improvements or ways to fuse the better ideas we collected into several more concrete concepts. All of this went up on a board, and on Monday I should be presenting all of this material to OXO.