Design Foundation

Diploma Celebration 04.02.2011/ Abschlussaustellung des Fachbereichs Design, Münster

Since I mentioned the diploma celebration in my last post I would like to introduce to you the official page. (sorry, only in Deustch)

The motto is “Das gefällt mir gerne” (“I really like this”). We (the first semester) are supposed to do the event management 🙂 The plan works out great so far! I hope we can carry out our concept to its fullest ò_ó

If possible I’ll make some photos for Loyal2Art 😉

Here’s a teaser:


The Icosahedron (Ikosaeder) is the main motif...

The Cube Project

During the whole semester we had to simultaneously design 4 different cubes. This was my first opportunity to really build something you can actually touch 😀 Of course the professors had a few specifications for the project:

  • use only one material for each cube (like paper/fabric/wood/metal/plastic etc.)
  • use only the materials provided in the workshop
  • measurements 10×10 cm (about 4,0″x4,0″)
  • every cube must consist of more than one single part
  • the main connection between the different parts mustn’t be made by generally used means (like glue, tape etc.) BUT during the creation process of single parts all means can be utilized

Obviously this assignment is meant to give us the opportunity to work practically with different types of material. Idea – scribbles – illustration – draft – manufacture.

So here is one of my drafts (the plastic category cube):

plastic draft

Detailed drafts really help during the producing process!

And here are my babies 😀

material:styrodur (plastic category)

material: very hard, pressed paper (paper category)

cube 3

materials: foam and thin fabric (fabric category) The clue is that the little squares are either stitched to the top piece or the bottom piece of the big cube. While one square hangs the other one "disappears" and when you flip the cube they switch. I hope you get my idea...

cube 4

material: thin metal layers and thick copper wire (metal category)

It’s not crucial for the cubes to look good – the main aim was to experiment (the overall topic during the first two semesters, I guess). It was a lot of work but it was also a really exciting and fun experience 😉

The results will be accounted in my Foundation Course grade!

Transformation and Colors

After dealing with moirés, reliefs and modules now we’re working on transformations.

The topic “transformation” is all about combining and gradually changing shapes with different color pairs and contrasts. One simple way to transform shapes is to pick a basic border-shape and develop all the movement within these borders, which restrain the transformation process and reduce chances for confusion later on. Here is an example I made:

example colorless

Even if you leave out the borders in the beginning the order of elements is still obvious.

The next step revolves around colors. After a very short introduction in color theory we were supposed to apply different color combinations. A good way to gain the viewers attention is to expose him/her to contrasts, since the human eye reacts to those phenomena extraordinary strong. Nevertheless you can try the opposite way and use color harmonies to attract your audience and give them a nice feeling.

Here are two variations of the previous example:

complimentary contrast

complimentary contrast

color harmony

color harmony i.e. similar colors (without lines)

Next time we are going to do some manual color mixing (not digital) to sharpen our senses 🙂  Our professor really cares for us to know what we are doing when picking colors with computer programs and not depending on them to dictate our choices.

Modules – A better Understanding of Dimension

Right now everyone is working on modules in the Design Foundation Course. After creating more or less flat 2D reliefs this was the next step in understanding dimension. It’s really quite different from simply drawing something on paper.

There are a lot of new things one has to consider when going 3D! First of all you have to design your object with modular attributes. In this phase I made many quick sketches and made some modules out of paper on the fly to test their functionality. That’s were most mistakes can be found (and should be since it’s really time consuming to do everything all over again because you overlooked something). The second step is creating the construction draft. It’s best to use the computer for this part. It’s much more precise. Step three is choosing the right material (I used 250 g/m² copy paper and regular glue). In order to test the full range of combinations you’ll need at least 20 modules.

In my point of view the most important part is the designing phase. If you make mistakes here everything you produce later on is meaningless in the end. That’s why you shouldn’t miss out on the testing phase! Although you can’t find every possible flaw you sure can avoid making major mistakes making all your efforts worthless. When I created my modules initially they did look sturdy but after constructing a few bigger units I realized the connections were too unstable. Therefore I had to redesign everything and start all over again 🙁

But now everything works out just fine 🙂


From Flat to Relief

There is one step between the 3D emphasizing patterns and creating actual 3D objects: Reliefs! In class we were given the following limitations:

  • use thick paper
  • nothing is to be cut out and excluded from the relief
  • format 18×18 cm
  • no coloring

I used some of my patterns for the reliefs without creating new ones especially for this task. This way I really had to find ways to cut pieces without cutting the whole thing apart. I advise you to print out your patterns and draw the cuts with pencil before actually cutting! This way you can prevent mistakes later on, which happened to me a few times and it was really awful having to start all over again 🙁

This is how two of my reliefs look like:

relief 1relief 2

And here are the corresponding patterns:

pattern 1pattern 2

Beyond Moirés

It’s been a while since I last posted something on the design foundation course. Perhaps you still remember the topic was “the moiré pattern” a few weeks ago. Well since then we created many moirés ourselves and presented them in class. Our next task is to try and concentrate some more on three-dimensionality. After designing some basic patterns we were supposed to play with them and try different combinations and variations. After that we will try transforming our work to a 3D object (probably made out of paper) and try some different color applications to underline the form.

These assignments are supposed to make us understand how three-dimensionality is created out of simple lines and forms. It’s a very experimental approach 🙂

So here is one of mine moirés and one pattern stressing three-dimensionality:



moiré stressing three-dimensionality

moiré stressing three-dimensionality

By the way, both patterns are created with the same fragments. I just rotated and scaled them differently.

Design Foundation Course – Moiré Pattern

The moiré pattern (also called interference pattern) is a flickering human eyes tend to see when two patterns are overlaid at an angle.

Here are some examples:

moire example 1moire example 1.2

Second example:

moire example 2

moire example 2.2

Furthermore we got the task to create 5 moirés ourselves. The required format was 18×18 cm (7×7 inch). Of course we were given some tips again:

  • divide format in halves, quarters etc.
  • use different line thickness and/or space between lines to create a feeling of depth
  • don’t mix up too many different shapes and patterns

Additionally we were shown a little trick in order to draw a “progressive grid”. Here’s the trick which should make clear what “progressive grids” are:

progressive grid trickOh, and if you’re interested in some professional moiré artists look up Bridget Riley 🙂

Design Foundation Course – Prominent Designers One Should Know

The Design Foundation Course is the first of six basic courses one must complete in the first semester. It’s covering some of the very basics every artist needs to know and gives the opportunity to try out different design methods.

The very first homework I got is to look up a list of prominent designers and get familiar with their achievements and style. And here’s the list:

  • Max Bill
  • Otl Aicher
  • Ruedi Baur
  • Stefan Sagmeister
  • Alfredo Häberli
  • Konstantin Grcic

Some of them have a really interesting career. Otl Aicher was one of the early Corporate Design pioneers and Stefan Sagmeister designed CD covers for the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. You should definitely check them out and expand your knowledge on design and art.

Additionally students were allowed to name any other designer they know and include him/her in the list. So basically the ones given just form the backbone.