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industrial design

Manifesto

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Manifesto

I'm not writing this for you, I'm writing this for me. 

What am I doing here? What am I doing?

I will follow until I know how to lead. And then, by God, I will lead. 

Someone once that wisdom begins in wonder. Is that why I put my eyes to the sky and the lights on the mountains and let it hollow out the inside of my head, because then won’t it fill up with something more pure?

Someone once told me that as a designer you're only as valuable as your most obscure reference. Which is why I cast a net to be as broad as can be, French and art and biology, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and so spread thin like butter and afraid that it’s bad that I'm going wide instead of deep, but then I can draw things together in a way that’s never been seen, don't you know that the facade of the Crystal Palace is based on the form of the world's largest water lily—?

I don't understand why my art brain and my design brain are not the same. But visual arts and writing are all that I need for self-expression, and I can turn on my science brain like the flip of a switch—

But I just want my designs to make logical sense. I want them to make sense and to fit a need and to do what they're supposed to do. But in order to get there I am going to throw out all societal rules, take a nap under the table during the freshmen’s final, use that orange peeler to open your pill bottle and use an exacto knife when everyone else is using scissors—

I feel like being a designer is a contradiction. You've got to have that neat block-letter handwriting and tight sketches with thin black lines as straight as an arrow. But then you've got to be able to think like a mess, your workshop is colorful chaos, I don't think that I'd ever be analytical enough to work out the mechanical functioning of any old object but I'll do my research to try to get into peoples' heads?

And what if I'm a bit looser of a human being? Frayed cuffs and pockets filled with gold. What if I sketch in burnt umber prismacolor instead of a black Papermate Flair? But my life is thinking and aesthetic, and I want to do the big-picture research and make 60 degree case mitre trays with sprays of purple and green.

I wrote this on my gold iPod Touch in the sun on my walk home. But then once I walked into my apartment, I looked up and realized that my manifesto had already been written a year ago, and it was hanging up above my air-dried local walnut standing desk.

I will go broad instead of deep. I will draw connections that have never been drawn before. The more that I know, the more I can see.

Design research is mad science. Creating objects is mad science.

I’m making things up as I go along. My entire life is mad science.

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Desert Shoes, or, Colors in the Desert

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Desert Shoes, or, Colors in the Desert

The only picture that you actually need to see. That's me in white up near the top.

The only picture that you actually need to see. That's me in white up near the top.

Once upon a time, I went to Disneyland.

My friends and I spent a day driving from Utah to Southern California, and another day driving back. It was my first visit to a Disneyplace, and while I definitely had fun, I have to say that what impressed me most was...the colors in the desert.

"Is it socially acceptable to pull over to the side of the road and frolic?"

"Is it socially acceptable to pull over to the side of the road and frolic?"

"Quails are my favorite ground birds, because they come with built-in hats."

"Quails are my favorite ground birds, because they come with built-in hats."

"Can I please be a prairie dog?"

"Can I please be a prairie dog?"

"All I want is to see a thunderstorm in the desert."

"All I want is to see a thunderstorm in the desert."

I came back with my head full of muted colors, spare landscape, subtle textures, open sky. I could see the colors in the desert like I'd never seen before. Orange rocks in St. George, muted green sagebrush and Joshua trees of the Mojave, watching the air turn periwinkle blue with the twilight.

My head was still full of desert when I came back to BYU and found out that my first assignment for Spencer Nugent's sketching class was to design a pair of shoes, based on a concept of our choice. Guess what I picked.

This was one of those "I'm on Pinterest AND it's my homework!" kind of days.

This was one of those "I'm on Pinterest AND it's my homework!" kind of days.

Thumbnailing was an absolute blast. I used my favorite Prismacolor colored pencils to explore the characteristics of each type of desert and how they could be incorporated into a shoe, then scanned and compiled the pages and narrowed down my focus on Photoshop.

I wanted to retain some of the looseness of the thumbnails in the presentation page, as well as represent the design inspirations with a contextual background.

It took me two days to try to figure out this background and Spencer solved it for me in two minutes.

It took me two days to try to figure out this background and Spencer solved it for me in two minutes.

It was also fun to create all three colorways of the shoe, each with its own color palette and stitch pattern. Bonneville features the geometric pattern of crystalized salt, Mojave sports a three-fingered filigree inspired by sagebrush leaves, and Moab highlights the swirling motif of long-petrified sand dunes.

Like I said, this project was a good time. At one point, I was feeling extremely optimistic and wanted to make a pair of these desert shoes, but a bit of poking around on the internet told me I don't yet have the knowledge or skill to do a good job at it right now, though I want to give it a try in the future when I get some more time on my hands.

But in the meantime, this concept has morphed into a desert backpack, and with my up-and-coming sewing skills...I think this one will be a reality.

Roll-top backpacks are where it's at.

Roll-top backpacks are where it's at.

Until next time, Southwest desert. I'll see you soon.

Camilla

Love your desert.

Love your desert.

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