Designing a Creative Travel Journal 3 :: took a wrong turn, somewhere

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Week 3 of Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society, via coursera.org, introduced us to problem decomposition…you break a big problem up into small parts, and come up with all the possible solutions for each small part, independent of everything else. To give you an idea: if you were going to design a fabulous chocolate cake, with an experimental crรฉme de cassis frosting, in the shape of a volkswagen, you would then go and make half a dozen kinds of chocolate cake, several versions of the alcoholic frosting, and also work out some plans for shaping and arranging pieces of cake into a volkswagen. Then you would try as many different combinations of the ideas in those three lists as was feasible, and ‘sketch’ them up as concepts.

I picked two latent needs to explore from my list in the last post:

First was that the journal could be carried on the body. Second was that it would have lots of pockets for all the souvenirs, plus the art materials, LED lights, ziplock bags for leftover curry, reading glasses, intra-uterine devices, USB drives, hypodermic needles, a spoon, a safety pin, pet hamsters, and all those other things friends as well as readers of this blog suggested. At about this point, snippets of the old fable about a man, his son, and a donkey, started to flicker behind my conscious thoughts.

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By decomposing each of these needs, I drew a lot of “attaches to the body” objects: backpacks, shoulder bags, belt bags (aka bum bags or fanny packs), things with hooks that could hang from your belt or your neck, stuff you could wear on your head, strap to your biceps or thighs, hide up your bum…

Then I tried to tackle the idea of storage, and found myself drawing boxes, a chest of drawers, zippered pouches, suitcases, pockets, envelopes, cargo pants, photographer’s jackets and other bits of clothing, even those shower accessories things, with pockets, that rolled up…all sorts of ridiculous things.

Then I tried to take something from list A and something from list B, and draw the concept. What I ended up with were a bunch of weird, bulky bags and rolls and things that looked like stuff an arctic explorer would take on an expedition. Once or twice I tried to lighten the load, and put more emphasis on the idea that somewhere in all this junk there was a journal…yes, a book! Most likely suffocating. One concept looked like the bibles carried around by missionaries in the jungles of Borneo. I threw in a modified medieval belt book (it’s wrapped in fabric like a big scarf and I added zippered pockets…there’s a knot or knob on the end that you slip underneath your belt, which is just a length of rope, because hey, it’s the 11th century, and you’re a Franciscan monk, okay?) and, in a kind of hysteric desperation, even drew anย apron with some pockets. And ruffles. Called it the “Writer’s Apron”, shed a few tears of self-loathing, and went and got miserably drunk on the back step near the outhouse. It would be funny, except that it’s…not.
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7 thoughts on “Designing a Creative Travel Journal 3 :: took a wrong turn, somewhere

    1. Ah, sure he did, there are some serious designers doing the course. All up, about 5,000 students signed up, I’m sure I’m nowhere near as savvy as some others out there. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the enthusiasm, though!

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  1. LOL @ the IUDs! Really enjoyed this peek into your creative process, Nat, or at least the creative process for your prototypes. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. I know right? I wasn’t trying to design a journal anymore, I was trying to design a camper van disguised as a journal…
      My ‘creative process’ as you so kindly put it, has been on its best behavior for this course I’m normally 1/100th as focused, organized, analytical, productive. That’s why I’m doing the course. ๐Ÿ˜‰ To learn to be less of a train wreck.

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