Reconnecting People

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Occasional fits of obsessive analysis, bits of what I'm learning along the way, with a dash of self-promotion.

Pencil Design Process Video

 

Brief

A fellow design thinking nerd approached me about creating 60-second video for her design thinking class at Washington University. Her group's assignment was to brainstorm ideas for constructing a pencil, prototype some of them, and then select one to manufacture 30 copies of for the whole class. This video documents that process.

This video shows the process of designing a pencil by Di Kong, Neena Wang, and Shikha Mittal for their class on design thinking at Washington University in St. Louis.

Creative Process

Initially, I was planning to shoot this video as a mini-documentary. But then I visited the group in the architecture studio at the Sam Fox School where they were working. The robust studio furniture offered me the chance to stand on the desk and shoot straight down. That's when it all came together: We could tell the entire story from this angle. Here was a chance to elevate the materials the students were exploring and highlight the hands-on craftsmanship they were applying to the design challenge. Besides, their classmates would have the chance to see their wonderful faces during the presentation. So we decided to give the hands-on work center stage.

Stills

Build-in

Build-in

They didn't actually have a clay prototype to film, but we made sure to include it in the story. Simply writing out and striking through its name was enough to illustrate.

They didn't actually have a clay prototype to film, but we made sure to include it in the story. Simply writing out and striking through its name was enough to illustrate.

The point of failure in the foam pencil. This happened over and over again.

The point of failure in the foam pencil. This happened over and over again.

Wrapping the paper around the graphite

Wrapping the paper around the graphite

"Sharpening" works by peeling away the paper.

"Sharpening" works by peeling away the paper.

Credits

Credits

Ideation sketches

Ideation sketches

Close-up of the foam and wire construction

Close-up of the foam and wire construction

Getting started on the Post-Dispatch

Getting started on the Post-Dispatch

#Meta. Drawing a pencil with the new pencil.

#Meta. Drawing a pencil with the new pencil.

Three lovely finished pencils. The hand feel of these guys is very comfortable.

Three lovely finished pencils. The hand feel of these guys is very comfortable.

I wanted the shot to have depth in spite of facing a 2-D surface, so I occasionally asked the students to raise what they were holding halfway to the camera. The effect is engaging. It's like they're inviting you to take a closer look. Check out the detail in the newsprint here. I think it's a comic strip.

I wanted the shot to have depth in spite of facing a 2-D surface, so I occasionally asked the students to raise what they were holding halfway to the camera. The effect is engaging. It's like they're inviting you to take a closer look. Check out the detail in the newsprint here. I think it's a comic strip.