Project Wednesday: Improving your Design Eye / by Krista Boivie

This week, I took a challenge from Daniel H. Pink’s book A Whole New Mind. The challenge was created to help me recognize how design affects my life.  In the activity I was to channel my annoyance with any household item and then think up a way to improve the design.  The final part of the challenge tells me to send the idea into the manufacturer of the item.

For the past two months, I have participated in a freezer dinner group.  Everyone in the group makes enough of one meal to give to the number of participants in the group and then we meet and exchange the meals.  There are three benefits to this group: 1. I get a larger variety of food to eat over the course of the month. 2. I spend less time cooking, 3. It has been fun to socialize and get to know new people.  

As I was preparing mass quantities of my dish, I became annoyed with the my 1-cup measuring cup.  I was transferring food from one bowl to another and I needed to strain the food first. Due to the size of the dish, I didn’t have anything large enough that would allow me to strain all of the food—so I decided to work in small batches using the measuring cup.  However, the measuring cup did not have a strainer, and I made a mess trying to keep the liquids from entering the bowl. 

My design recommendation to the manufacturer is to create a line of measuring cups that have a fine mesh bottom so that they can be used to measure exact quantities of food, but also serve the dual purpose of a strainer.  

I felt very proud of my design challenge for about an hour, until I realized I could have just used one of my slotted spoons to accomplish the same task.  Isn’t it funny that there are times when we are struggling to do something the we often overlook the simplest action or tool.  I will be sending in my design suggestion, even though I know it was a silly idea and will probably be tossed out.

As I work on challenging my creativity this month I am ever present of the use of design. Every little product that we touch was conceived and created.  As a former graphic designer, I love looking at the way products are created and analyzing the choices the designers made.  I am always amazed at the emotional ties I have to certain products--even something as simple as my toothbrush. 

How often do you really look at the products you use on a daily basis?  What impact does design have on your life? How can design help you develop your creativity?