Exploring Materials: Creative Design for Everyday Objects

Front Cover
Princeton Architectural Press, Mar 24, 2010 - Design - 208 pages
1 Review
Materials are like words. The richer your design vocabulary, the more distinctive the design solutions you can express. Sketching ideas with a pencil or rendering them with computer software are useful experiences, but there is no substitute for confronting physical forms and materials directly. Exploring Materials is an action-oriented, accessible guide to design thinking that addresses both the "how" and "why" of product design. In place of the abstraction of pure forms or the whimsy of virtual objects, it encourages designers to make and test real objects in a studio environment. Best-selling author Ellen Lupton (Thinking with Type) and her colleague Inna Alesina examine materials from several points of view, including traditional uses, experimental uses, techniques and directions for prototyping with everyday objects, and environmental implications. Student exercises and inspiring examples from the world of contemporary product design show readers how to use materials as tools for thinking and making.

The book opens with two extensive studies: one for a place for sitting and one for a method for carrying. By considering what is needed instead of what specific product can be made, designers examine the methodology of designing. The core of the book is a visual glossary of thirty-two materialsfrom corrugated cardboard to molded felt to plastic film. It highlights the materials' behaviors and propertieswhich suggest different types of structure, surface, and connectionand it shows experimental uses of these materials, demonstrating how designers from around the world have exploited their characteristics in inventive ways. The book concludes with a section on making it real, moving beyond the prototype to create a product that can be manufactured and marketed. Exploring Materials contains everything designers need not only to jump-start their design process, but also to follow a project through from idea to prototype to finished object.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Exploring Materials: Creative Design for Everyday Objects

User Review  - Daniel Lombardo - Book Verdict

Bridging the gap between the design of functional objects and the creation of pieces that are featured in places like the Museum of Modern Art, Alesina (environmental design, Maryland Inst. Coll. of ... Read full review

Review: Exploring Materials: Creative Design for Everyday Objects

User Review  - Jennifer Cheuk - Goodreads

I had read this before I entered the industrial design world, so for me, it was a really good casual intro/easy read to the types of material out there. The abundance of pictures was a huge plus for me. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION How to Use This Book
4
UNLOCK IDEAS Using Materials for Inspiration
7
STUDY PROTOTYPE TEST Journey through the Design Process
19
Identify the Problem
20
Widen the Problem
22
Imagine Scenarios
24
Field Research
26
Brainstorm with Materials
28
Foam Open Cell
94
Glass
98
Honeycomb Structures
102
Inflatable Structures
106
Leather
110
Mesh
112
Paper
120
Paper Pulp
126

Get Inspired
30
Sketch
32
Prototype and Test
34
KNOW YOUR VALUES
42
Why Design?
43
Sustainability
44
Biomimicry
46
Education
48
Multifunctionality and Simplicity
50
Accessibility
52
Social Responsibility
54
THINK WITH MATERIALS Everyday Uses and Inspiring Experiments
57
Cardboard Corrugated
58
Cardboard Noncorrugated
62
Ceramics
66
Concrete
70
Fabric Knit and Stretch
72
Fabric Nonwoven
76
Fabric Woven
80
Felt
86
Foam Closed Cell
90
Plastic
132
Plastic Film
134
Plastic Molded
138
Plastic Sheet
142
Rods and Tubes
148
RopeCableYarn
162
Rubber
166
Sheet Metal
170
Truss
176
WebbingStrap
178
Wire
182
Wood
188
MAKE IT REAL From Prototype to Product
193
Refine and Develop
194
Protect Your Property
196
Manufacturing
198
Communicate and Present
200
Market and Sell
204
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 206 BIBLIOGRAPHY
206
INDEX
207
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Ellen Lupton is a writer, curator, graphic designer, and director of the graphic design master of fine arts program at MICA. She has written and edited numerous books on design, including Thinking with Type; D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself; D.I.Y. Kids; and Graphic Design: The New Basics.

Inna Alesina is an independent product designer and a faculty member in the environmental design department at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Bibliographic information